Mowing grass at narrow angles is almost impossible. What do you do if you have a chain link fence, which creates a bunch of tight spots that are also exposed? Have you tried everything, only to find those last few spots that will not come clean? This guide will teach you the best ways to keep the area around your chain link fence grass-free—or at least make it look well-maintained!
How to Trim Grass Around a Chain Link Fence
First, Slow Your Mow
When mowing your lawn normally, save the area around your fence for last. Then, when you do hit your fence, slow down the speed of your mower. If you have already mulched the area or otherwise altered the ground around your fence, mow parallel to your fence. Don’t try to get your mower too close to the fence.
Instead, there are a few other ways to get the grass around your fence without being too close for comfort.
The first option for getting rid of grass around your chain link fence is to use Mowstrips. These special strips of plastic are designed for your fence. They create 3-inch grass-free zones on either side. They do not buckle or bend and are made of special, UV-resistant plastic. Mowing tight angles is difficult regardless of what kind of fence you have, so people have designed strips so that you don’t have to do it again.
You can simply leave some of the sturdier weed-blockers, like Mowstrips, on indefinitely. If you’re using something that isn’t as sturdy, you may want to consider replacing the medium beneath your fence. Wait for the plants to die and dig a ditch. Rocks, mulch, or pea gravel are all fine substitutes beneath your fence. Concrete cracks after a while.
If you do not want to (or cannot) eliminate grass on both sides of your fence, using a non-selective herbicide is another option. Roundup, bleach, and other indiscriminate plant killers are all sufficient for this purpose. Again, you may want to consider mulch or stones to prevent future plant growth beneath your fence.
Weed Whackers/String Trimmers
Weed whackers/string trimmers may be the better option if you share a fence with, say, public property. Then, not only do you not want to bother the other side of the fence, but you do not want to damage the fence because it might not technically be yours.
So how do you use a weed whacker to trim grass around a chain-link fence? The answer is “very carefully.”
First, you need to get a string trimmer. Do not use a weed whacker/weed eater with a metal blade to trim around your fence. Most weed whackers are also string trimmers, so if you have one, it is probably a string trimmer already! But if you need one, get one.
Once you have your string trimmer, you must see if your machine’s head spins clockwise or counterclockwise. This will determine the direction you need to cut your grass in:
- Clockwise—Move left to right when trimming. Most string trimmers spin clockwise.
- Counterclockwise—Move right to left when trimming. More common on straight-shaft trimmers.
Idle your string trimmer and watch which direction the head is spinning before starting your trim.
Regardless of what direction you need to go in, keep your trimmer tilted slightly downward. This creates a tapered edge and will also keep you from damaging your fence.
Trim closely along the fence line with the edge of your string. Do not touch the fence with your string. This will take practice, so be patient with yourself as you learn your machine.
But Wait, There’s More!
This method of using a string trimmer will still leave a lot of grass directly beneath the chain links of your fence. We want that gone. How do we get it?
There’s a trick to getting these stubborn spots: trim around the fence again in the opposite direction. If you were going right to left before, go left to right to get the bits of grass directly beneath the fence. Nudge your trimmer into the holes and watch it eat the intrusive grasses. Idle your trimmer to get all the grass on the fence line.
You may need to do this a few times to get all the stray bits of grass poking up. Going slow the first time helps. Again: be patient. The results will be worth it!
There are many ways to remove grass from around your chain link fence. If you have permission to treat both sides of the fence, Mowstrips can be very effective. But if you do not want to invest in those, use herbicides or string trimmers to prevent unsightly grasses and weeds from growing in hard-to-reach spots. Be patient; it will take some time to get used to its range if you have not used one before. But once you master the string trimmer, it will get easier!