This is something I usually don’t do, but since I had an opportunity to use a new product (The Garden Groom) yesterday, I decided I should review it. Here it goes.
This thing is touted as “The world’s only collecting hedge trimmer,” and then gives the following description:
“See the Garden Groomer in action!
The GardenGroom provides ultra fine cutting with its concealed blade, helping make it safer than conventional hedge trimmers. Plus, with it’s self-contained collection system, you get less waste and no mess to clean up. The GardenGroom saves you both time and effort.
Just look at these Garden Groom benefits:
Shreds so fine it reduces waste volume 10:1
Thorny clipping disposal is quick, easy and painless
Clippings are ideal for composting
Concealed blade makes the GardenGroom ultra-safe
Lightweight desigm makes it easy for almost anyone to use.”
Well, some of that is true. They do not, as with most product marketing, list the product’s cons. Here are a few of them:
Difficult to use with overgrown shrubs, thereby negating the easy-to-use feature
Heavier than advertised (and heavier than competitive products like the Black and Decker Hedgehog)
Cumbersome design make it difficult to use (more on this later)
Finely shredded clippings are harder to clean up by a ratio of 10:1
The attachment bag is awkward and poorly designed for actual use, despite being easy to store.
The plastic container attachment is minuscule; you have to empty it every two minutes because it fills up so fast.
The product worked very, very well on evergreen-type shrubs and was useful for some short prickly bushes at my parents’ house. It saved me from having to get poked in my fingers while attempting to clean up the scraps because there weren’t any scraps to clean up. The evergreen shrubs didn’t need much trimming as it was, but I could tell by the little trimming I did that the Garden Groom would work very, very well on those types of shrubs.
Not so with leafy shrubs, though. I tried the Garden Groom on both very overgrown leafy shrubs and only somewhat overgrown leafy shrubs and the results were the same: whenever I wanted to tackle shoots of any length longer than 2-3 inches, the Garden Groom failed miserably. If you look at its design, you’ll see that it is rounded off in the front (and all around the blade). There is no way to effectively cut long shoots except to lift the entire thing up to the top of the shoot(s) and bring the rotating blade straight down on the shoot.
On the contrary, the Black and Decker Hedgehog (my old standby for trimming hedges at my parents’ house) has no trouble with handling those long shoots. The relationship between the two products could be compared to that of a beard trimmer (the Hedgehog) and an electric razor (the Garden Groom). They both have different purposes (with some overlap). As an electric razor is good for shaving dense, short hair, the Garden Groom works well to trim dense evergreen shrubs–as long as they’re not too overgrown. The Hedgehog, like a beard
trimmer knifes through thick hair, works much better at hacking off long shoots and shaping shrubs.
The Garden Groom and the Hedgehog do share the same con, though. Both of them are frustrating because they’re electric (and yes, I know they make gas-powered hedge trimmers. I’ve used them and very much prefer them instead). The long extension cords I have to haul around frequently get in the way or come unplugged from the actual trimming unit. If you have a short fuse like me, that will really set you off in no time. (There’s a battery-powered version out now too, but I don’t have that one).
Let’s talk about the attachment bag. It’s like a normal push mower bag, except that it has a long nylon sleeve that you attach to the Garden Groom. By long, I mean at least 10 feet, if not 15. That’s bad. It kept getting tangled up in the cord, or twisted on its own so the trimmings trying to snake down to the bag would get stuck in the sleeve. They should have made it with a thick plastic ribbed air hose like you would find on a central vacuum system, only much wider in diameter. Sure, the things stores well as it is now (the sleeve is flexible, of course, so it fits inside the bag itself) but it doesn’t function very well.
Overall, I’d say go with a Hedgehog and some tarp. Lay the tarp around the bushes you’re trimming to catch the clippings, and trim with the Hedgehog. I did in 5 minutes more with that Hedgehog than I accomplished in 15 with the Garden Groom. The only thing I really enjoyed about the Garden groom was its ability to protect me from bees–I saw one hovering on one of the bushes I was trimming, so I sucked it up into the blades, sending it to Hades where it belonged. (Insert sinister laughter)
Unless you want to augment your bee-murdering hobby, don’t buy this thing.