A GROWING CONCERN: Finish off your Christmas shopping with eco-friendly tools

As Christmas draws near, the perfect gift for your gardening friends, and for the planet as a whole, is new battery-operated horticulture equipment. They are powerful, long lasting, mostly noise free and easy to work with! Be the perfect garden Santa. (Jackson Smart via Andrew May/For Peninsula Daily News)

SO, CAN YOU believe it? Christmas is almost here!

This Saturday Kris Kringle and his hard-working reindeer are set to land upon your roof, leaving “tidings of good will.”

As gardeners, I know you have all been good, so lumps of coal are not on the list for your stockings.

I also saw the other day in the Peninsula Daily News’ Peninsula Poll, that many of you have yet to finish your Christmas shopping — me included!

Since I promised way back last year to provide eco-friendly columns and advice, let me finish up this year keeping that promise.

As gardeners, many of us own gas-guzzling power equipment that ranges from lawn mowers to hedgers, blowers and chainsaws.

These oil-mix power tools are the worst because of the pollution that fuel mixture emits — the worst.

Well, thanks largely in part to the great strides made in lithium batteries, we now have both power and longevity literally at our fingertips.

So let me tell you about a few items that will be cherished by any of your horticulturally-minded friends.

First and foremost, my absolute favorite tool and best Christmas present I ever received, the Stihl GTA26 battery, hand-held pruners given to me by my favorite clients —thanks again Karen and Lee.

This device totally eliminates the need for lopers and most chainsaw work with its 4-inch cutting ability and extreme ease of use.

It also frees up a hand so you can hold on to whatever you are cutting away, making the job even easier along with environmentally friendly.

It is also wonderfully balanced, so easy to use and operate and is both right- and left-handed as a bonus.

It’s only drawback is battery life when using the tool intensely, which I corrected by purchasing an additional twin battery pack, which makes it good to go all day long. Did I mention — best gift ever?

Stihl also makes a wonderful HSA battery hand-held trimmer which works on the same battery, and its small size and light weight make it ideal, especially for older folks or those with grip and arm strength issues.

Again, this tool gets rid of both the nasty oil-mix trimmers and the entanglement issues associated with electric extension cords, if that is what you have.

Next up on the earth-friendly list are chainsaws, and again, the new battery technology has finally made these worthwhile.

Not only that, but with a battery-operated chainsaw, no more cursing as you pull and pull just to try to get it started. I think we can all relate.

The nasty, loud, offensive noise is also gone, as well as the odor of that mixed-fuel engine and all that horrible blue-gray smoke as well. Santa and the reindeer will like that.

Two more excellent ways to get rid of pollution and noise are to replace your blower and weed-whacker with new, heavy-duty, battery-operated models.

The best tool I bought myself was a very powerful, 20-volt, long-lasting leaf blower.

It also weighs less than its gas-powered cousin and again is much less noisy.

I do not go to any job site now without it and use it constantly when working on walkways or driveways for instant clean up as I move along.

Then to finish, my buddy Jackson just loves his American-made Stihl weed whacker because of the ease of use, no electrical cords, little noise and no odor.

His battery also interchanges with his battery operated chainsaw — what’s not to love about that?

So to everyone, Merry Christmas, and why not think about giving your gardening friends, Mother Earth or even yourself, a great year-end present and upgrade your tools to battery-operated ones while at the same time finishing up that shopping list.

And please, this holiday season … stay well all!

Andrew May is a freelance writer and ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email [email protected] (subject line: Andrew May).

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