Choosing the right garden tools for weeding

Hand tools can help

To the uninitiated, gardening seems a genteel pursuit, nothing more than people puttering about peacefully among the pretty flowers, tempting veggies, or fragrant herbs. Veteran gardeners know gardening can be more like a battle, one fought on many fronts simultaneously. Weather, pests, and disease are potential enemies, but some of the fiercest battles pit gardeners against weeds. These out-of-place plants do not surrender easily! Victory requires an armory of tools.

Some gardeners engage in hand-to-weed combat, pulling the invaders out of the ground, a physically challenging act. Other gardeners employ horticultural chemicals, though there are concerns about safety and effectiveness. If neither of these strategies appeals to you, there are a number of hand tools you can enlist to help discharge these unwanted volunteers.

The long and short of it

Weeding implements fall into two basic categories: long-handle tools and short-handle tools. A good arsenal requires one or more of each kind.

Long-handle tools let you attack weeds from above. These include simple hoe-type tools, which employ some type of blade to uproot or slice weeds, as well as a number of popping, pinching, grabbing, and twisting tools designed to capture and dispatch weeds. Long-handle tools are used from a standing position, generally making them easy on your back and knees. Their wide heads are best suited for working in large areas where plants are spaced fairly far apart and the weeds are mostly shallow-rooted.

Short-handle tools allow you to attack weeds at point-blank range. These act as extensions or substitutes for your hands, with fingerlike blades and tines designed to claw, slice, or hook weeds and pull them out of the ground. Though these small tools do require you to bend over, squat, or kneel, they allow greater weeding power and precision in small and densely planted gardens. They work well against deeply rooted perennial weeds.

With all the weeding products on the market today, you can often find a normally short-handle type blade on a long handle.

How the handle fits

Whether it's long or short, you want a weeding tool that's built well and fits in your hand. Most weeders have a tang-and-ferrule construction. A skinny neck, called a tang, connects the blade to the handle. The tang inserts into the handle and is secured by a metal ring, or ferrule. In the stronger versions, the blade and tang are forged from one piece of steel; weaker ones have a separate tang welded to the blade. The best tools feature socket construction--a forged blade and tang with a socket end that's riveted to the handle. For a light yet durable handle, choose ash or hickory wood.


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No April Showers? Buy May Flowers!

I sold the soul of my garden this spring.
There’s a new Home Depot on the corner and they’re having a huge sale on garden plants, tools and furniture.
My son came by. I have custody this weekend. We decided to journey down to the Depot and buy seedlings to supplement the ones we started inside from seed with Miracle Grow soil in egg cartons.
Just as my luck would have it, and my son’s, all the regular shopping carts were claimed. Christopher and I had to settle for the huge one, designed like a race car. Christopher just loved the fact that I had to push him around like a child in a shopping cart

Master Gardener: Identifying hydrangea problems  — Tulsa World
Cover strawberry plants with a mulch about 3-4 inches thick if plants are prone to winter injury. Wait to prune fruit trees until late February or March. Christmas gift ideas for the gardener might include tools, garden books and magazine subscriptions.

Investor's Alert: FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. (ADR)(OTCMKTS:FUJIY), Australia ..  — SBWire
Makita Corporation manufactures and sells a range of electric power tools worldwide. It is also involved in the production and sale of stationary woodworking machines, air tools, garden tools, and household tools.

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