Digging up weeds with your garden hoe
The war on weeds starts early in the growing season for most gardening enthusiasts. Weeds seem to grow huge without any encouragement at all, while flowers and tomatoes seem to need perfect conditions to advance even a little. Weed removal is absolutely necessary to give your plants the best chance, and a good old-fashioned hoe is still a fine way to do it.
Consider the options for weeding
There are many methods for getting rid of weeds, and most work fine. You can pull them up by hand and even get the root if you’re lucky, though this method takes a very long time.
You can spray them with powerful chemicals; home improvement store aisles are lined with options. This must be done with caution, since it can quite literally misfire and kill the plants you like.
You can try any number of home remedies, though you may or may not have success.
You can put down enough weed-preventing landscape fabric or rocks that they don’t grow in the first place. However, this doesn’t work in a garden, where you want things to grow, and weeds may manage to get through anyway.
There’s even a weeding robot, though it’s a very expensive way to go.
The humble garden hoe is still a solid option for weeding, especially in your vegetable garden and flower beds. Use it to chop weeds just below the soil’s surface, separating them from their roots. This can be more effective than pulling weeds by hand — when you lay a dead weed on the surface still attached to its roots, the plant can take hold again and start to grow. The hoe inhibits this by severing weeds from their roots.
What types of hoes are available?
Draw hoe: This is probably the most common hoe. It comes in lots of sizes. It can sever weeds from their roots as you drag it toward you.
Scuffle hoe: This is also sometimes called a loop or Dutch hoe. It’s shaped like a loop and both edges are sharpened so you can cut weeds whether pushing it or pulling it.
Warren hoe: This hoe is a lot like the draw hoe, except its head is pointed. It’s often used for digging small trenches.
Onion hoe: This has a wider version of the draw hoe’s head, sharpened on both ends. It often comes with a short handle for working close to the ground.
What type of hoe works best for weeding?
Different gardeners have different ideas, but the scuffle style is most often mentioned as the best for weeding. It requires little effort since you can drag it or push it from a standing position and it removes weeds in both directions.
Tips for weeding with a hoe
- Go early. Do it before watering in the morning, so the soil will be dry and easy to move the hoe through.
- Stay standing. One of the reasons you buy a hoe is so you don’t have to stoop to pull weeds. Take advantage of the design of the hoe.
- Change hands often. A well-designed hoe should lessen the workload, but you can still get blisters, so change hands and wear gloves, if possible.
- Sharpen the blades often. Whatever hoe you decide to use, it’ll work better with sharp blades.
- Anticipate weeds. Keep hoeing those rows even if you only see tiny weed starts, or no weeds at all. If you run a hoe just under the surface, you can get them early.
What you need to buy for weeding with a hoe
This hoe has a long handle so you can remain in an upright position while you work. It removes weeds in both directions so the whole process is fast.
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For smaller flower beds and anywhere you want to be extra careful, this onion hoe is perfect. Since it’s a handheld hoe, you can get up close for weeding.
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This is not the best for large swaths, but if you just have a few big weeds to remove, it’s helpful. The cushioned handle can help prevent blisters.
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For weeding by hand, you might need something tougher, but these jersey gloves are good for hoeing. They’re soft enough for comfort but still protect you from blisters.
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Hoeing your weeds rather than pulling them by hand can save you time. Regardless, a hat is still a good idea, since you can get a sunburn in as few as 15 minutes.
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Angie Parkinson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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