Stihl FS 56 RC E Trimmer Review

We were super excited to review the gas version of the Stihl homeowner series! This tool is an absolute blast to use! I was checking three specific things about this trimmer in my review. 
1. That it is an easy trimmer to start.
2. That it is lightweight. 
3. That it is powerful. 

I won't give everything away but lets just say that the tool is a classic Stihl product. 

Huge thanks to Plano Power Equipment for providing the trimmer for this review!

Stihl HSA 56 Battery Powered Hedge Trimmer Review

Thank you to Plano Power Equipment for providing the equipment for this review. I was excited to get my hands on this product because I wanted to see for myself the improvements that have been made to battery powered tools. 

There were three main aspects of the Hedge Trimmer that I wanted to test. 
1. Lightweight - Stihl said the Hedge Trimmer is lightweight and won't wear out your arms. 
2. Well Balanced - Stihl said the Trimmer is well balanced and easy to maneuver. 
3. Safety Features - Stihl said the safety features built into this Trimmer make it very safe to use. 

- HSA 56 Batter Powered Hedge Trimmer

We were more than impressed with the results of our test. The HSA 56 is an easy to use lightweight and well balanced trimmer. The safety features make it very difficult to turn on unless you are trying to use it properly. I think it's a great option for the weekend warrior or anyone needing to do a decent amount of trimming.  

Stihl Battery Life Test

We are excited to launch our tool reviews videos! We've been working to build a relationship with Stihl to give us the opportunity to review some of their products. Plano Power Tools who is an authorized Stihl deal provided the tools and equipment for the reviews!
We started with a review of the battery life on their AK series of battery powered tools. 

The test was simple. I wanted to see if we could mow, trim and blow an average front yard on a single charge with just one battery. 

Tools Used
- Mower: RMA 460 
- Trimmer: FSA 56
- Blower: BGA 56

I was impressed and excited to see that not only did it have enough power to get the job done, the tools were incredibly easy to use as well. This is not the comprehensive review of each tool. Those videos will be coming out in the upcoming weeks as well as reviews of other battery and gas powered tools. 

Issues With Remodeling Old Homes

Remodeling Old Homes Comes With Some Unique Challenges. 

Home codes are constantly changing and as we've seen so many times, many contractors cut corners to save time and money. So when you are considering remodeling your older home you have to worry about more than just the new updates you want. You also have to be aware of what could be waiting underneath the surface of your house. 

Old Building Standards. Homes built in the 80s and before often have electrical work that is not up to current code. Or you may run into framing that doesn't fit the city regulations anymore. You never know for sure what you are going to run into once you start opening up the walls. So what should you do about it?

Plan For The Problems. Gary Simms and the team at DFW Improved always encourage home owners, especially of older homes, to have a small contingency budget for any unforeseen problems that you may run into once you begin the project. That way you aren't left scrambling if you find that the previous builders didn't meet current standards. And if you end up not needing it, you have some money set aside to throw a great house party to show off your remodel! 

If you're in DFW and looking to remodel a room in your house or maybe the entire thing, give the team over at DFW Improved a call. They've done hundreds of remodels and have seen just about everything so they know how to make sure your project doesn't get derailed by unexpected issues. 

Picking A Remodeler

Picking a remodeler can be a daunting task.

There are a couple things you can do before hand to help you make the right choice. Our first recommendation is to use one of the THI Trusted remodelers. If you aren't able to use one of our remodelers, here are some tips. 

1. Find Someone With Experience. This may seem obvious but remodelers come and go. There are a lot of fair weather remodelers who may have done remodeling for a while but haven't invested in building a business and a reputation. You may get a lower price from someone like this but you also run the risk that they won't be around if you run into a problem with your remodel. 

2. Get Reviews. Any contractor can find someone to give them a good review online. If you want to make sure that a remodeler has a track record of solid work it's important to go outside of the reviews they provide and research them. But also be aware that every remodeler has run into problems. That is the nature of remodeling. The great remodelers are the ones who know how to handle those problems the right way. 

In the DFW are we are excited to be working with DFW Improved as a trusted remodeling company that has built their reputation on great work and even better customer service. 

What Is A Root Barrier?

What Is A Root Barrier?

It's a barrier that is used to protect something from the damage that can be caused by root growth. You severe the roots that are growing toward the object you want to protect and place an artificial barrier in place to stop the root from growing that direction any longer. 

What depth of barrier should you use? Jim recommends using 3ft barriers as the typical 18 inch barrier allows the tree to grow underneath the barrier and cause damage. 

What shape barrier should you use? A half moon shape barrier will encourage the roots to grow in the opposite direction where as a straight barrier allows the roots to grow around the outside edges. 

What type of barrier should you use? A high density plastic barrier is what Jim recommends instead of the Bio barriers available. Bio barriers allow moisture to go through the barrier which encourages the roots to continue to grow towards the barrier. Plastic barriers stop moisture and force roots to turn in order to continue to grow. 

Is it dangerous to your tree? Typically you only sever about 20% of the roots when you instal a root barrier so you won't cause serious damage to your tree by installing a barrier. 

Never root barrier a tree that is older than the home it is next to! The soil around the house is used to the amount of moisture that the tree is removing. Installing a root barrier on a tree that is older than the house will increase the moisture in the soil and can cause your house to raise higher leading to more problems. 

THI Tips Playlist

We've Got A YouTube Page!!

We are excited to share with y'all our THI Tips playlist on our youtube channel! We are taking some of the best questions we get from our audience and Jim and our sponsors are answering them for you. This playlist is growing every week and will cover a wide variety of subjects and problems. Subscribe to our channel to make sure you are the first to see new videos as they are added!! 

Fall Is Tree Season!

Most people don't know this but fall is the perfect time to plant trees. It's also an important time to make sure that your trees are in good shape. Matt Latham from sat down in our studio and explained why Fall is really tree season. 

Important things to do for your tree’s in the fall!

1.     Mulch your trees. Put down about 1-2 inches all the way out to the edge of the canopy. Replace existing mulch if it hasn’t been replaced recently.

2.     Fall is a great time to trim your trees. With the ice storms we have in texas it is important to trim your trees so they won’t break off in a storm.

3.     Keep watering! You don’t have to water as much as you do in the summer but continue to water your trees on a regular basis to ensure they remain healthy during the fall and winter.

4.     Check into any issues! You can get a good idea of how healthy your tree is by looking for unusual colors or fungal issues. This is a good time to start addressing these issues. Bring in an expert to make sure you take care of any problems that do exist.

5.     Fertilize. A lot of issues with your trees are caused by underlying stressors that can be improved with proper fertilization.

6.     Plant trees! Fall and winter are the best times to plant a tree because it will give them time to get established before the harsh summer weather hits.

Contact Matt and his team at US Tree Care for more information!

What To Do When Your Trees Flood

Matt Latham from US Tree Care stopped by with some information on what to do after your trees get flooded. 

1. After a big storm the structure of your trees has probably been damaged. You will need to asses how much of your tree has been damaged. If it is more than 50% damaged it will more than likely need to be removed. If it is less than 50% damaged you may be able to save it with some TLC. Get a professional to come out and acess and trim your tree if needed to remove the damaged parts and set your tree up to grow back healthy. 

2. Flooding can remove a lot of the nutrients from the soil around your tree so you will need to fertilize your tree more than normal to make up for this. 

For more information contact Matt Latham and his team at US Tree Care

Never Do These Three Things To Your Trees!!!

Matt Latham from US Tree Care stopped by our studio to share three things you should never do to your trees!! 

1. Topping Your Trees! There is a right and a wrong way to top your tree. Most people do it the wrong way and it leads to one of two things. Excessive new growth that is going to be prone to breaking or the tree will die. So make sure to have a professional come out and do it the right way. 

2. Over Watering! Watering you trees too much can lead to root fungus and other issues that can actually kill your tree. 

3. Planting Trees Too Deep! Make sure you know how deep to plant your tree and you don't go below that level. It can lead to all kinds of issues with your trees. 

Contact Matt and his team at US Tree Care for more information!

Chainsaw Maintenance

Matt Latham from talked with Jim about proper sharpening technique and other maintenance issues. 

Sharpening a chain is an important part of properly maintaining your chainsaw. Using the right technique ensures a sharp chain and a safer tool. It's important to check the chain tightness as well to make sure your chain doesn't come off while in use. Never run your chainsaw without proper lubricating oil. 

Contact Matt Latham for more information!

Welcome To The THI Blog


Hey THI family. Welcome to the THI blog! This is where we will be posting information about new content as well as new sponsors that we bring onto the show. We want this to be a resource for you to get valuable information as well as entertainment. Our goal is to always bring you the best advice and put you in contact with the best professionals.

There are some projects that you can do yourself and others that are best left to the experts. Part of what we will be posting is information on how to tell whether your project is a DIY or a CTP (Call The Pro's) kind of project. 

We also want to hear from you. We love getting to hear your stories of your home improvement projects and how they turned out. So if you have a story or a project that you would like us to share or if you worked with one of our sponsors and want to share that experience please reach out to us! You can email Please include photos and details. 

That's all for now but check back with us soon and we will look forward to hearing from you!

- THI Team