Blanking masked date fields and date-masked TEdits!

I use in a table 2 date fields for the starting and ending dates of a
time period. Occasionally one of these fields need to be blanked
(for instance when the period is still continuing and only the starting
date is needed or when I want to make calculations until a certain date).
I need also to mask the field and to store the separators (a slash /
in this case), otherwise I get these ugly double-slashed date-like
messages when I hit backspace over the selected field.
The mask I use is '99/99/00;1;_'.
When I select the field and I hit BS, I get an error message:
'00/00/00 is not a valid date' during the execution of the instruction
     Table1.Edit;
---> Table1.FieldByName('STARTDATE').AsString := DateToStr(s):
     Table1.Post:
Tried with s='', s='  /  /  '.

OK, I solved the problem by executing the following code on the OnSetText event:
procedure TForm1.DateSetText(Sender:TField; const Text:String);
begin
    if Text = '  /  /  ' then
        TField(Sender).AsString := ''
    else
        TField(Sender).AsString := Text;
end;
         {may be the else is not necessary. I did not try}

Now the questions:

1 - Is this the simplest way to blank a masked date field or some delphian
    can suggest a more elegant one?

2 - How to do the same thing with a TEdit component, with the same date mask?
    (In this case no OnSetText event exists to arrange things like I want!)

Thank in advance.

Alberto Braggiotti