One of the most hated tasks in gardening is weeding. It’s difficult work that never seems to end. You can.
What’s the best way for weeds to be removed from your garden and lawn?
There is no one right answer. The best method or tool depends on many factors.
- You (for example, your hand strength, dexterity and ability to reach down and kneel, and how patience you have).
- The type and quantity of weeds (e.g. weeds with long taproots or large rootballs, runners, stolons, size and woody versus soft, perennial versus annual)
- Conditions (soil type, moisture level, where the plants are, e.g. garden bed, between patio pavers or climbing up a tree)
- Preferences (e.g. organic vs. mechanical vs. chemical).
There are many reasons to weep
You will still need to weed your garden, no matter if you are a lazy gardener like I am or a perfectionist. Here are some reasons why.
- You can keep your garden beds clean and your plants healthy by weeding.
- By competing for nutrients and moisture in the soil, weeds can inhibit plant growth. Your “real” plants could be damaged or overrun if you don’t weed.
- Your garden’s appearance can be ruined by weeds. You might think of yellow dandelions as an alternative to the blue salvia that you expected to see…
- Some weeds can be poisonous or cause skin irritation, such as giant hogweed and poison ivy.
- Invasive plants can become out of control.
- Once established, weeds can be difficult to eradicate without causing damage to your plants.
How to Prevent Weeds
There are many ways to decrease the number of weeds in your garden. The most popular methods are:
- Intensive cropping/planting dense
- Mulch (including organic mulches such as pine straw, shredded bark, and compost) can be used to cover the soil.
- Applying chemical weed suppression agents to the soil’s surface
- Deadheading and removing all weeds prior to they go to seed
However, no matter how diligently you try to prevent weeds from growing, you will still have to deal with those that do.
Different types of weeding tools
Hand pulling is the most effective method for smaller weeds that have shorter roots. This method assumes you can reach for and pull weeds while on your knees. You will need some sort of weeding tool for all other purposes.
There are two types of weeping tools
There are two main types of weeding tools: short-handled and long-handled. For weeding in tight areas or where there is a lot of vegetation, short-handled tools work best. You can stand while you weed and cover a greater area with long-handled tools.
There are many designs available within these two main styles. There are many tools that can be used to get rid of weeds. While some work well, others are gimmicks.
There is no one tool that can do all the weeding tasks, so you will likely have several tools. It’s important to choose the right tools for the job.
This is what you need to know in order to select the right weeding tool.
How to Buy Weeding Tools
Consider these questions when you are looking for a new weeding tools:
- Is it possible to use this tool in a comfortable way? Is it easy to hold? Can I hold it easily?
- Is it able to pull out all the roots? What about weeds that have deeper roots? (e.g., 6-12 inches deep) Taprooted weeds are especially vulnerable to this. If you miss a single root, the weed will quickly grow back.
- It will it work with the most troublesome and common weeds in my yard? If you have many running grasses, will it be able to pull the roots out without breaking them up into small pieces? Can it pull taproots from dandelions?
- Is the weeding tool made from high-quality materials such as a hickory blade or a handle made of stainless steel? Are all the pieces held securely together? Is there a warranty?
- Are the digging or cutting edges sharp? Are they able to be sharpened if necessary?
- What maintenance is required for this tool? Is it going to need to be cleaned, lubricated, or sharpened? Are you able to do this?
- What other tasks can this tool assist me with? What other tools do I need to complete all the tasks required to weed my garden, if I purchase this weeding device?
- What do you think? Is it going to make weeding more easy or just add to the complexity?
These questions can only be answered by you, and your answers may differ from others. There are so many options for weeding tools, so use your answers as a guide to your purchasing decisions. Be careful not to be seduced by TV commercials and marketing materials that promise success.
Short-Handled Weeding Equipment
The short-handle weeder is more than a small version of the long-handled weeding tool. While some look like miniature hoes there are many unique styles that can only be found with shorter handles. It is important to have enough power to weed effectively and to keep your hands off of prized perennials.
These weeders can be used for a variety of purposes, depending on what your needs are.
Hori Hori, or Japanese Farmer’s Knife
This multi-purpose tool is akin to a knife. One smooth edge is used for cutting (like opening a bag full of mulch) while the other side has a serrated edge that can be used to cut through roots, sod and other hard material. It can be used to cultivate, cut, or pry weeds from the ground. You can get it with either a carbon steel or stainless steel blade. The carbon steel is sharper, but it requires more frequent sharpening. It also rusts faster.
Lesche Digging Knife
This is one of my favorite gardening tools. The Lesche digging tool is an upgraded version of the traditional horii hori. The handle is sturdy and comfortable. There are two sides to the digging knife: a straight and serrated edge. A blade guard protects your hands as you dig into the soil. It also has a heat-treated cutting blade that allows you to do more than just weed. It has been used to cut through roots, weed between bricks and pavers, dig trenches and even to edge flower beds. I have also used it to cut twine and plant ties, remove pavers and rocks, and much more. You can get it in right- or left-handed versions.
Asparagus Knife/ Fishtail or Dandelion Weeder
This is the most common tool used to remove dandelions. Although I prefer to use my Lesche knife or hori-hori to remove taprooted weeds from vegetable or flower beds, a fishtail weeder is a great tool for removing dandelions from lawns or groundcover. It features a narrow, long shaft and a V-shaped tip. Simply place it in the ground near the dandelion, with the V facing up, and the dandelion should pop out of the ground. Although this is not a fancy tool, it’s an essential one. You can also get a version that has a fulcrum to make it easier to pull weeds from hard ground. For those with grip strength or dexterity issues, there are ergonomic versions. These have larger handles and can be used with larger hands.
Cape Cod Weeder
Although it is unusual looking, this tool can be very useful when working in tight areas. The L-shaped blade is drawn towards you just below the soil surface to remove weeds at their root. The blade is short enough to reach between plants easily and easy to hold. It comes in both a left-handed and right-handed versions so make sure you get the right one.
The hoe dag is true. The name of the tool is not clear, but it does mean business. The hoe dag has a beech handle with a heat-treated carbon knife that looks like a mini pickaxe. It is extremely versatile and can be used for everything: digging, planting, cultivating, removing grass clumps, and so much more. The larger end is used for digging and planting. The smaller end can be used for weeding and more controlled actions. Because it does not require you twisting or bending your wrist, it is easier to use than other weeding tools. Simply bury the head into the ground and pull the blade towards you. CobraHead Weeder
The CobraHead weeder is durable thanks to its sturdy metal blade and recycled plastic handle. Mine has been outside for many years with no rust. The CobraHead’s curved blade digs in the soil effortlessly, no matter how you use it. The blade’s weighted collar helps it sink into the soil naturally. It is great for working between plants, and can pull out larger weeds while keeping the rootball intact.
Long-Handled Weeding Equipment
You’ll find many gimmick items in this category that don’t work. You’ve probably seen an infomercial that promises to make weeding fun for kids. You’ll understand what I mean.
We are still testing each weeding tool we think might be worth buying. I will continue updating this article as additional reviews are done. Here are some long-lasting weeding tools we recommend.
The Dutch hoe is different from the American hoe. The Dutch hoe is used by placing the blade’s lower end flat on the ground, and then gently moving the hoe back and forth. To break up the soil and remove weeds, the blade will slide under it. Hoeing is easy when you work backwards from one side of the bed to another using a push-pull motion. This hoe’s long handle and simple motion allow you to stand straight without having to bend over.
Oscillating Hoe, Stirrup Hoe
This hoe is a different hoe than the traditional American one. It’s not a straight blade; it’s stirrup-shaped, which is why the name stirrup hone was given to this hoe. The stirrup’s bottom is flattened and sharpened on both ends. This is the part that does all of the work. Place the blade on the soil surface, and then move it back and forth. The blade will reach just below the soil surface to cut down on weeds. It also helps to cultivate the soil while you move it. This type of weeder can be used in tight-knotted gardens because it is lightweight and easy to maneuver.
Radius PRO Weeder
This ergonomic weeder features a resin-coated handle with a circular design that is ideal for people who have arthritic fingers or grip strength problems. The stainless steel long blade slides easily into the ground when you place your foot on the foot rest. This blade is especially useful in removing taprooted weeds. Say goodbye to dock and dandelions! It is made from resin-encased stainless steel and comes with a lifetime warranty. It weighs in at 4.5lbs, so it is a bit heavy.
Scotts Weed Out PRO
I have always been skeptical about stand-up weeders. While they may make many promises, many of them are weak tools that don’t do the job. Scotts’ WeedOut Pro puts this stereotype to rest. The WeedOut Pro from Scotts does a great job of pulling weeds out of garden beds and lawns. You won’t have to bend or kneel to pick up weeds once they’re gone from the tool. It is lightweight, sturdy and simple to use. This will reduce pain in the back, knees, and hands as well as aerating soil.
Weed Dragon Garden Torch
Although this might not be a long-handled weeding tool, it does the job and doesn’t require you to bend over. The flame from the Weed Dragon is used to destroy weeds’ ability to absorb water and nutrients. Eventually, they will die. Although it does not kill weeds instantly (some weeds may take several days to die), the Weed Dragon is highly effective and takes very little effort. It’s best to always have someone with you to help you if something gets ignited.