Weeding is most likely among the most disliked gardening tasks, usually since it’s effort and the job never appears to be ended up (remove one weed and two more will emerge in its place!)
So what’s the best method to remove weeds from your yard and garden?
There’s no easy answer; the best approach and/or tool depends on a number of aspects:
- you (for instance, your hand strength and mastery, ability to kneel and reach)
- the type and number of weeds (such as weeds with long taproots, big rootballs, runners or stolons, size, woody versus soft, annual versus perennial)
- conditions (soil type and wetness level, where the weeds are e.g., garden bed, between patio area pavers, climbing a tree), and
- choices (for example, natural vs mechanical vs chemical)
Needs to Weed
- Weeding keeps your garden beds neat and, more importantly, keeps your plants healthy.
- Weeds inhibit plant growth by contending for moisture and nutrients in the soil. If you don’t weed, your “genuine” plants might decrease or be overrun.
- Weeds can ruin the appearance of your carefully-planned garden. Think about yellow dandelions instead of the blue salvia you were anticipating to see …
- Some weeds are toxic or cause skin inflammation (e.g., poison ivy, giant hogweed).
- Invasive plants can get out of control.
- When established, weeds are hard to eliminate without damaging your plants.
How to Prevent Weeds
Although there’s no way to “weed evidence” your garden, there are a number of methods to reduce the number and vitality of weeds. A few of the most common approaches include:
- Extensive cropping/ planting largely.
- Covering the soil with mulch (including natural mulches, such as shredded bark, pine straw, or compost, and inorganic products, such as gravel, rubber mulch) or a weed-suppressing layer (material, plastic).
- Spreading a chemical weed suppressant on the soil surface.
- Deadheading or getting rid of all weeds before they go to seed.
Still, no matter how diligent you are in attempting to avoid weeds, there will constantly be the ones that “got away”– and you’ll have to find some method to eliminate those weeds.
Types of Weeding Tools
While hand pulling is the most basic method, it’s just effective against smaller weeds with much shorter roots. It likewise assumes that you’re able to invest extended periods of time on your knees, reaching for and pulling weeds. For anything else, you’ll need a weeding tool of some kind.
Two Types of Weeding Tools
There are two standard designs of weeding tools– short managed and long handled. Short-handled tools are best for dealing with your knees in tight or carefully planted areas. Long-handled tools enable you to stand while weeding and cover a larger area.
Within these two basic designs, you’ll find a big range of styles. Manufacturers have come up with all sorts of tools to eliminate weeds. Some work very well, others are primarily gimmicks.
No tool is ideal for all weeding tasks so you’ll likely end up with numerous various types of tools. The key is to find the ones that best allow you to do the sort of weeding that’s needed for your garden or yard.
Here’s what you have to understand to select the best weeding tool for your requirements.
What to Look for When Buying Weeding Tools
When thinking about a new weeding tool, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this tool permit me to work in a comfy position? Can I hold it easily? Do I have the strength and/or mastery to use it appropriately?
- Can it take out the entire root? How about for weeds with longer or much deeper roots (as deep as 6 to 12 inches or greater)? This is particularly essential for taprooted weeds– miss out on even a little piece of root and the weed will bounce back rapidly.
- Will it work for the most common and/or bothersome weeds in my garden? For instance, if you have a great deal of running yards, can it take out the roots without breaking them into little pieces? If dandelions are your problem, can it pull taproots?
- Is this weeding tool made with high quality materials, such as a hickory deal with or stainless-steel blade? Are the parts held together securely? And does it have a service warranty?
- Are the cutting or digging edges sharp? Can they be resharpened if required?
- What sort of upkeep does this tool require? Does it require frequent cleaning, lubricating, or sharpening? Am I prepared to do that?
- What else can this tool help me with? And if I get this weeding tool, what other tools will I likewise need to have the ability to do all the essential weeding tasks in my garden?
- Provided all of the above, is this actually a tool that I’ll use? Will it make weeding easier, or will it simply complicate things?
Just you can answer these concerns and the responses will be various for everybody. With a lot of weeding tools to pick from, use your answers to help assist your purchasing decisions. Don’t be absorbed by slick marketing material and TV ads– even if a tool (appears to) work for someone else does not mean that it’s the right tool for you.
Short-Handled Weeding Tools
Short-handle weeders are more than just a smaller sized version of long-handled weeding tools. Although some do appear like mini hoes, there is also a large range of special styles just discovered with short handles. The goal is to give you good control of where you make your weeding strikes (so you do not unintentionally uproot your valued perennials) with sufficient power to make the job as simple as possible.
Depending upon your needs, one or more of these short-handled weeders may be just what you’re looking for.
Hori Hori or Japanese Farmer’s Knife
This versatile tool looks like a knife on steroids. The 7-inch blade has one smooth edge for slicing (like when opening a bag of mulch) and one serrated edge for use in stabbing and sawing through roots, sod, and other tough material. It can be used for cultivating, digging, cutting, and prying weeds out of the ground. It’s generally offered with either a stainless-steel or carbon steel blade. While the carbon steel holds a sharper edge, it requires more frequent honing and rusts rapidly. You can typically find if for around $25.
Lesche Digging Knife
This is a beefed up version of the conventional hori hori. It has a comfortable and strong manage, both a serrated and straight edge on the digging blade, a blade guard to protect your hand as you plunge the tool into the soil, and a heat-treated blade that’s strong enough to give you the flexibility to do more than just weed. I’ve used it to easily slice through roots when weeding, cut through sod (I’ve even used it to edge a flower bed), dig trenches, weed between bricks or pavers, cut twine or plant ties, and so much more. It even is available in both right and left handed variations. Made in the USA. Around $36.
Asparagus Knife or Fishtail Weeder
You’ve most likely seen a lot of these in the past– it’s the tool frequently used to pry up dandelions. While I have the tendency to use my hori or Lesche knife to collect taprooted weeds in the flower or veggie beds, there’s nothing like a fishtail weeder for getting dandelions from lawn or groundcover. It has a long, narrow shaft with a V-shaped tip. Simply plunge it into the ground beside the dandelion with the V dealing with the plant, pull back slightly on the manage, and voila– the dandelion will pop out easily. This isn’t really a “attractive” tool, however it’s an essential. And if you wish to go “high end” there’s a version with a fulcrum that might make it even easier to pop weeds out of hard ground. You’ll find a wide variety of costs on dandelion weeders, from about $5 all the way to $40. There are likewise ergonomic versions (primarily with bigger manages) for those with mastery or grip strength problems.
Cape Cod Weeder
This is a strange-looking tool however it is available in convenient when working in tight spaces. The L-shaped blade is drawn towards you right under the soil surface area, cutting off weeds at the root. It’s short enough to let you easily reach in between plants and is simple to hold. Make certain you get the right one though– it is available in both a right- and a left-handed version. Depending upon the brand, prices vary from $20 to $50.
Yes, the hoe dag. I’m unsure what the name indicates, however the tool itself means business! With a beech manage and a heat-treated carbon blade that looks a bit like a mini pick axe, the hoe dag is a very versatile tool that I use for weeding, digging, planting, cultivating, getting rid of clumps of turf, and more. Use the bigger end of the blade for digging and planting, and the smaller sized end for more regulated actions, like weeding. It’s much easier on the wrist than lots of weeding tools because it does not need you to twist or bend your wrist– simply bury the head in the ground and pull it toward you. Made in the USA. Retails for $29.99.
Do not be put off by the Dee Weeder’s unsightly duckling looks. Its large, square, perforated scoop and sawtooth edges might look funny, however after you’ve used it a few times, you’ll discover yourself grabbing it before any of your other hand tools. The sharp, saw-tooth edges make fast work of weeding in tight areas, edging, planting, and mulching. Made of cast aluminum with a non-slip plastic deal with, this light-weight weeding tool won’t rust and does not require much strength to use. Made in Canada, it’s available online throughout North America for under $25.
With a handle made from recycled plastic and a hard metal blade that doesn’t seem to rust (mine’s been outside for several years without rusting), the CobraHead weeder is made to last. Any way you use it, the curved blade on the CobraHead effortlessly goes into the soil. The weighted collar that holds the blade helps the blade sink into the soil rather naturally, whether you’re gouging roots of weeds or just loosening the soil. It’s great work working in-between plants and can quickly take out larger weeds with the rootball intact. It’s made in the USA, costs $24.95 and is likewise available in a long-handled version.
Long-Handled Weeding Tools
This is a category of tools in which you’ll discover many gimmicky items that just do not work. If you’ve ever seen an infomercial appealing to “make weeding so much enjoyable that even the kids will enjoy it!” then you understand what I’m discussing.
We’re still in the process of screening every weeding tool that looks like it might be worth purchasing and I’ll continue to upgrade this post as more reviews are completed. In the meantime, here are the long-handled weeding tools that we highly advise.
Joseph Bentley Dutch Hoe
A Dutch hoe varies from the standard American hoe you’re probably knowledgeable about. It’s used by resting the lower end of the blade flat on the ground and gently sliding the hoe back-and-forth. The blade will slip under the surface area of the soil to break it up and cut the weeds from their roots. By working backwards from one end of a bed to the other with a push-pull action, hoeing becomes a simple task. The long deal with and easy movement required of this hoe enables you to stand upright without bending over, saving your back as well as time. The Joseph Bentley Dutch hoe is a reliable tool, with a solid oak deal with, stainless-steel blade and lifetime warranty.
Radius PRO Weeder
This ergonomic weeder has a circular, resin-coated manage that’s perfect for those people with arthritic fingers, grip strength problems, carpal tunnel or any other hand/wrist problems. The long, stainless-steel blade easily slides into the ground when you step on the foot rest. It’s especially good at rooting out taprooted weeds– bid farewell to dandelions and dock! It’s made from resin-encased steel and has a life time warranty. Note that it weighs in at 4.5 lbs so it’s a little on the heavy side.
Weed Dragon Garden Torch
OK, possibly this does not exactly fall under the “long-handled” weeding tools category, however it sure does the job and you don’t need to flex over to do it. The Weed Dragon releases a flame that’s used to “prepare” weeds, damaging their ability take up water and nutrients; eventually, they die. While it does not eliminate weeds right away (some weeds can take numerous days to pass away), it’s highly effective and needs very little effort. Simply be sure to have someone standing by with a garden hose in case you flame the wrong thing or something catches on fire (that’s an uncommon event, however it’s much better to be safe than sorry).