Gardening will be easier, more productive and, well, just a lot more fun when you have the right tools at hand. Here are a dozen garden tools that every gardener should have.
These may look like Klingon weapons from an episode of Star Trek, but they’re actually versatile garden tools designed for trimming shoots and stems, cutting vines, severing roots and sawing branches. If you’ve got an overgrown garden—or one filled with coarse ornamental grasses needing to be cut back—try a 13- or 18-in. billhook saw, which has a rust-resistant, curved blade for quick pull cuts and a coarse saw edge for removing tough branches and grasses. Available from Fiskars and local retailers.
A rounded-blade digging shovel is indispensable if you’re planting anything larger than your fist. Shovels have come a long way ergonomically, and this one is a good example. The D-shaped handle helps gives you two-handed control when digging up and tossing heavy loads of soil. The welded steel construction is more durable than wood and won’t flex under a heavy load as fiberglass would. Meanwhile, the large step plate is wide enough to relieve pressure on your foot when stepping on it repeatedly. Available from Fiskars and local retailers.
A flat-blade edging spade is a handy friend to have around the garden. It can edge a garden, slice turf neatly, cut roots, or scrape soil or mulch off of a flat surface such as sidewalk or truck bed. You can also use it for general planting or when you’re ‘heeling in’ bare-root plants (putting them in the ground temporarily until a permanent location is found). Like the digging shovel, the D-handle design offers better control. The rubber foot pad reduces fatigue and shoe damage and can fit on either side of the shovel with pre-drilled holes. Available from Corona Tools and local retailers.
When you’re cutting branches the size of your finger or bigger, bring out the loppers, which offer larger blades than pruners and more leverage as well. These PowerGear loppers can easily cut branches with a diameter of up to 1-1/2 in. The gear technology increases leverage to give you up to three times more cutting power than standard loppers. Available in various sizes, from 18 to 25 in., from Fiskars and local retailers.
Pruners are the go-to tool when you’re deadheading flowers or cutting pliable stems or small woody twigs. Bypass pruners (shown) are a good general-purpose tool for trimming stems of up to about 1/2 in. Ratchet pruners multiply the ratchet action to cut up to 3/4-in. stems. Any bigger and you risk the chance of breaking the pruners. Available from Corona Tools and local retailers.
Pruning saws are a good all-purpose saw for the garden. Many fold up for safe transport and storage. And all are more adept at working in tight spaces than the larger and more cumbersome bow saws. The razor-tooth blade easily cuts through woody stems the size of an arm. Available from Corona Tools and local retailers.
Hori Hori Digging Tool
This multipurpose gardening tool is more than a trowel. It’s also a knife, saw and even a measuring device for planting bulbs. Use it for planting, weeding, cutting sod, severing roots and dividing perennials. It even comes with its own holster to protect the stainless steel blade. Available from Wildflower Seed & Tool Company.
A garden rake usually gets its workout in the spring when you’re cultivating and prepping the soil in your vegetable garden. But it excels at other tasks, too, such as leveling mulch, scratching hard-packed soil to make it more porous or leveling soil before seeding a lawn. You can even use it to remove thatch or moss from your lawn. Available from TruTemper and local retailers.
While its primary purpose is gathering leaves, a leaf rake is also handy for collecting other garden debris (like grass clippings that accumulate when you’ve waited too long between cuts!). Durable steel-tine rakes are great for smaller yards or when you want to scratch the soil surface while raking. If you’re dealing with a large yard, a poly leaf rake covers more territory in less time. This poly rake features a 24-in. clog-free head that won’t spear leaves. Available from True Temper and local retailers.
Hose and Sprayer
There’s simply nothing more convenient than a hose for watering. Hoses come in a variety of materials (vinyl, rubber), lengths (usually 25, 50, 75 ft.) and even colors (traditionally green or black, now a rainbow of choices). This heavy-duty rubber hose will hold up for years, especially if stored under cover in cold climates. Although you can always rely on your thumb, the spray attachment gives you more options (for instance, a soft stream of water for watering newly seeded areas or a hard blast for cleaning mud off of tools).
A digging fork, sometimes called garden or spade fork, is handy for loosening compacted soil, aerating small areas, incorporating compost into garden beds and dividing perennials. The D handle makes the digging fork easier to use in tight spaces, while the tapered tines penetrate the soil more easily. Available from Corona Tools and local retailers.
There’s nothing like a wheelbarrow for making things easier for the gardener. You can carry soil, compost, firewood and more. Or use it to transport your tools around the yard or soak plant roots before planting. If you’re working with heavy loads, get a steel bin rather than poly. Two-wheel models are the most stable for heavy loads. A standard wheelbarrow is appropriate for most uses, but do yourself a favor and get a never-flat tire. Available from True Temper and local retailers.
Be sure to call ProGreen Plus for all of your lawn mower parts and lawn mower repair services!