Beaufort News

Chainsaws, lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, and how to dress for the Emergency Room

Here are 3 ways to tell if your pine trees are dying

Pine trees have been dying on Hilton Head Island due to saltwater intrusion. Here are three ways to tell if your pine trees are dying.
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Pine trees have been dying on Hilton Head Island due to saltwater intrusion. Here are three ways to tell if your pine trees are dying.

Since it’s the time of the year where the grass is growing at a furious pace (as opposed to the rest of the year in our subtropical climate where the grass grows at a medium pace), it’s tempting to get out there every week and mow.

But before you head out and start pulling the rope to start up the engine, you should think about the proper mowing attire.

One of my best friends is from the Bronx in New York City. He’s been down here long enough to have claimed victory over his innate Yankee predilections, and a proud moment for him came when he bought a chainsaw for Hurricane Matthew cleanup.

It looked like he operated the equipment just fine, but in the picture he posted on social media it clearly showed him wearing shorts. Rookie mistake, I guess.

Cutting grass is no different. Long pants won’t keep an errant blade or chain from nicking you, but it will keep the debris — mulched, bagged or side-discharged — from chopping at your legs like a thousand Lilliputians.

You also don’t want to be barefoot. Growing up seeing my dad and all his dad friends cut the grass with some hideous combination of Sunday socks and pure white Nikes or athletic socks with sandals, I thought it might actually be better with bare feet than one of those embarrassing combinations. It’s not.

Find some kind of shoes that can be worn with long pants that don’t make you look like someone your kids will one day shudder when remembering.

It’s also tempting, as hot as it gets in Beaufort, to take off your shirt completely.

However, be prepared if you choose this route. If your yard is visible from the street, so are you. People might honk, but it’s probably less of a “hey, nice job on your lawn!” honk than a “for the love of Pete put the shirt back on!” kind of honk.

Shirts are a must, but be prepared for oil and grass stains. It doesn’t have to be a polo or button-down. You’re not out to impress any ant piles. White is the most heat-resistant color, maybe, but that light blue “I went to Des Moines, Iowa and all I got was this stupid T-shirt” size medium you’ve had in your closet since ’04 also works, even when it’s a little tight.

As for a hat, that’s another generational thing. My grandparents and their entire generation — men and women — wore straw hats that were woven so tightly many still exist in garages and museums. The sun had trouble penetrating any exposed skin as the brims of the hats were often 3 feet wide or wider.

Visors have now become popular due to Steve Spurrier’s success in slinging them on the sidelines. Also, they’re very practical when you want to express the fact that you don’t need sun in your eyes but do like the top of your head burnt.

You can also wear a mesh trucker hat or maybe a faded Braves cap you’ve had since Dale Murphy was playing. You can even reach for the “I went to Des Moines, Iowa and all I got was a stupid T-shirt and this stupid cap” hat you bought in the set. Any one you choose will get dirty, but it’s better than collecting in your hair.

You really don’t have to take any of this from me, of course.

Three years ago, I cut off part of my pinky trimming the hedges with an electric trimmer. What I thought would be a 10-minute job turned into a hospital visit as the work clothes I neglected to change out of were stained with blood and muscle tissue.

While I was the classiest-dressed person in the emergency room, I would have been more comfortable in an old T-shirt and long pants. And maybe some worn-in dad shoes.