The Right Weeders Make All The Difference
Weeding the garden is not anyone’s favorite task, but using the best weeders for the job makes it a lot easier. That’s right—there is no one tool that can perform every single task. Garden tool choice is largely a personal choice of the gardener. Depending upon the type of work you have to do, one weeding tool or another will do the best job. There are both mechanical models and man (or gnome)-powered models.
The Best time to Weed
The right tools significantly help the job along, but there are some times that are better for weeding than others. It is a good idea to get to the weeds while they are small! It is easier to uproot them at that stage. Let them get ahead of you, and it becomes a nasty task. But hit ‘em while they're young and it is a rather pleasant and easy task.
It is also important to extract weeds before they are mature and start producing seeds. At that point, your problem is not limited to the next few weeks, but for the next year. In terms of letting mother-nature help do some of the work, weeding in the morning on hot days allows the weeds to dry out in the sun.
As weeders go, “One man’s short-handled model is a long handled model for this old
These are best for hand weeding of small areas. Here are some of the types and their functions:
Hori Hori: These are traditional weeding knives. You can get them with plastic or wood handles. Generally one side is serrated, and the other is a smooth blade. The end is pointed. You can do almost anything with a hori hori: weed, plant, plant bulbs, sever roots, and scare away people from your garden.
Cobra-head weeder: Some gardeners swear by this. It really does look like a snake. It is a hand-held weeder with a plastic handle and a metal hook that comes to a sharpened, triangular shaped point at the top. It is kind of like having a long steel fingernail. It is best for small areas but you can do a lot more than just weed. It can also be handy for planting and harvesting when you need a precision digging tool.
Here is a great video demonstrating how to use it .
Cultivators: These claw-shaped tools are good for removing small weeds from in between many different plants.
Pick-a-hoe: These look like pick axes, and are best for grubbing out lots of large roots.
Weed Twisters: The weed twisters are kind of like giant cork-screws for the yard. These work well for large weeds and weeds with big taproots. (Both the dandelion carrot family plants have big taproots).
Here is a video demonstration.
Ocillating hoes: These models (often called an Action Hoe, Swiss hoe or Hula Hoe) are great for large areas with lots of small weeds. You can stand up and clear a wide space, letting the weeds dry out on top of the soil. It moves back and forth in the soil, shimmying as it goes. This is one of my favorite tools because it requires little effort to use.
Winged Hoes: A winged hoe has a triangular shaped weeding apparatus at a 90 degree angle to the handle. These types of hoes can be used for forward and backward motions. I have one with a very small head that I really like, because you can be quite precise in getting at the weeds.
Garden Fork: A fork can be used in areas with small weeds. It is a great way to uproot large areas of young weeds, and to extract the very large ones.
Mechanical types such as string trimmers and weed wackers are great for temporarily knocking down weeds, but they do not extract the root of the weeds, so the weeds will eventually grow back.
If you have a very large garden, a rotary tiller may be needed to keep up with the weeds, but use them sparingly. A fresh tilled garden may look pretty, but these monster machines pulverize the soil structure, kill worms and really make life in my burrow a nightmare.
Plus, they are noisy and gas-guzzling! I am much more a fan of the manual weeders.
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