Battling Weeds This Season? Here are some tools to make weeding easier!
Weeds. There’s just no getting away from them: it can seem like they’re always there, no matter how hard you try to pull them out. Based on our new interest in bees, and our desire to be natural, we try to attack weeds in ways that are friendly to the earth. Getting rid of those pesky little plants is both time-consuming and labor-intensive - so it can be an overwhelming task for both serious gardeners and novices alike.
Still, there are many reasons to do it. Amongst them:
- Weeding keeps your gardens and lawn looking tidy.
- Some weeds (such as poison ivy or oak) are harmful to people and can cause rashes and other allergic reactions.
- Weeds can choke out “legitimate” plants, like those tulips you’ve been waiting for all year.
- Once they spread everywhere, weeds can be difficult to remove – and, trust us, you don’t want to have to tackle a giant vine with a mattock. We’ve been there.
So, what can you do to stay on top of the problem? There are a few tools you can buy to make weeding easier, and even limit how frequently you need to do it:
Before fancy tools and chemical solutions, there was mulch. Available in countless varieties - from wood chips to straw, to shredded bark – it helps to block the sun so weeds can't grow. For a more economical solution, you can even use your grass clippings. Layer black plastic or newspaper underneath to amplify the benefits.
Hori Hori (Japanese Farmers Knife)
This tool does it all. With a smooth side for cutting (for example, opening a bag of mulch), and a serrated side for sawing, it’s a must-have for any gardener. Use it for difficult jobs, like sawing through sod, or cutting a tough root. Look for one made from stainless steel, and with full tang through the handle for added strength.
These little fork-shaped tools may look unimpressive, but they’re great at what they do. Scratch weeders are ideal for removing dandelions, thistles and other small plants from your garden or flowerbed. The forked tip helps you grab roots to remove them entirely, and they're small and light enough to toss in the gardening bag and carry around for the day.
The ergonomic design of cultivator claws makes them easy to hold onto all day, without hand fatigue, and they make weeding, aerating, and even rock removal easy. These handy little tools don’t go very deep, so they’re ideal for larger plants – but if dandelions and crabgrass are your problems, they’ll do the trick!
For those who have trouble kneeling or bending over, this is the perfect choice - with its natural push-and-pull motion, the scuffle hoe (or stirrup hoe) is excellent at removing small surface weeds. When placed right below the surface of the soil, it breaks them off at the root, preventing regrowth.
When choosing your tools, keep these things in mind:
- The type and number of weeds - Different weeds require different tools, so they need to be considered before you can come up with a proper solution.
- Your abilities - Can you have a bad back or knees? Are you not able to stand for a long time? Don’t attempt anything that may cause you injury or harm.
- The location of the weeds - Not all weeds are created equal. Or, at least, they don’t all grow the same way. Whether they’re on the lawn, in a flowerbed, or between the cracks in your sidewalk, they all need to be dealt with differently.
Weeding isn’t a quick job, but it doesn't have to be all-consuming, either. A little effort up-front will help make the entire process easier – the best thing you can do is be proactive and never let those weeds get out of control!