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I live out in a bit of a rural area, so maintaining roadside ditches is something I'm going to have to do. Mostly making sure they don't get overgrown or end up clogged with plants or dirt.

I just got through using a weed whacker to hit the ditches, but that took forever and almost burned out the poor thing's engine. Is there a better tool for maintaining the ditches (and no, fire isn't a great answer), or do I just need to get a more heavy duty trimmer?

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If you are asking for a way to get rid of what is there now, a more powerful tool may work, but still involves quite a bit of physical labor. You could also consider renting small sized excavating equipment that you can use to cull as you drive through the ditch, and this way you can maintain a constant profile along wherever you drive the thing, but the ditch has to be wide enough, and you may need to have the permissions to do this.

Other than graveling the ditches, there is of course little you can do to prevent something or the other from growing back season after season because of the constant water supply. You could choose to control it by allowing some ground cover of your own preference to grow in the ditches if that is an option.

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Here in south Florida I have a swale on one side that needs to be maintained. I don't know how deep/steep your ditch is, but as long as I keep the grass short, I'm able to mow along the length of the swale without extra effort.

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