Best Tools for Weeding

April 19, 2019

Even though a chemical weed killer may quickly kill weeds in your garden or lawn, it’s not a long-term fix. The most efficient way to get rid of weeds is to take the time to physically remove them, including the roots. This will ensure that they don’t grow back, and your garden and lawn is free from harmful chemicals. It’s best to remove weeds before they start to seed/spread and when the ground is still wet so that the soil is still loose around the roots. These tools will help you remove even the most stubborn of weeds.

Hula Hoe

By moving the blade just under the soil or the top of gravel you can cut off small annual weeds at the roots.  This is especially helpful for cultivating the soil in and around your vegetable garden or in gravel pathways.  If you are quick enough to catch weeds in the small seedling stage, a Hula hoe can save you the backbreaking work of digging out larger weeds later. This works especially well for mosses.

Long handled hula hoe

Flexible Hand Rake

This is often an overlooked tool but is extremely handy to have. You want one that is small and flexible. The springy, flexible tines of these rakes can comb through evergreen grasses without causing damage and the small size makes it perfect for getting into tight spots between perennials and annuals.

Flexible Whisk Rake

Hori Hori

You can find this tool with long and short handles and it’s one of the most versatile tools on this list. Also known as a Japanese garden knife, it works great for digging out dandelion roots and getting into the cracks in concrete or pavers to carve out weeds. You can find hori-hori’s with stainless steel blades and even inch markings to assist in planting bulbs at the correct depth. It’s also helpful for dividing perennials or cutting twine/string in the garden. This tool certainly has a lot of uses in the garden!

Hori Hori

Handheld Spade

While mainly used for planting and dividing perennials, a sharp, flat bladed spade is also incredibly useful for getting those tough weeds out of the soil, roots and all. If you don’t have any amendments in your planting beds, these handheld spades will help you dig through and loosen up any tough, rocky soils you might have making it easier to pull out the full weed.

Dividing Spade Photo Courtesy of Amazon

Fishtail Weeder

Also known as an asparagus knife, the fishtail weeder has a sharp, v-shaped blade. Because of its size, it works best for smaller gardens or if you only have a few weeds here and there. They are perfect for dandelion roots, but they can help remove any roots that are stuck deep in the ground since this tool has a longer shaft.

Fishtail Weeder
Fishtail Weeder

Three-Prong Hand Cultivator

You can find these in both long and short handled versions. They work best by helping to loosen weeds before trying to pull them out. It also loosens the soil and can be helpful if you’re planting and wanting to add compost or amendments to your soil.

Three Tined Hand Cultivator

Garden Torch

If you’re at wits end with weeds in your driveway, gravel paths, cracks in concrete, or patio joints, a garden torch might be a good answer for you. Just make sure that you always have a hose or bucket of water close by and never use it in your lawn or during dry summer months. Once you’ve flamed those weeds away, it’s good to spray some water down and sweep up the remnants as an extra precaution.

Weed Torch Photo Courtesy of Bernzomatic
Weed Torch Photo Courtesy of Bernzomatic

Boiling Water

Boiling hot water (with or without salt added) can be useful for weeds in driveways and walkways. It’s inexpensive and easy to use and works to control annual and perennial weeds. If you made pasta or potatoes or tea where you have leftover boiling hot water, this is a good use for that used water so it’s not just going down your drain. This is not recommended for weeds in your lawn or near plants that you want to live because boiling water will wilt and kill any plants it touches.

Boiling Water
Boiling Water

Vinegar/Soap Solution

For another chemical free way of getting rid of weeds, you can use a vinegar/soap/salt mixture. This is another weed killer that will also kill any other plant in its path so make sure you’re not spraying it on or near the plants you like. This option is also best done on a bright, sunny day as the heat from the sun will help scorch the weeds. If you get a small sprayer, this solution works really well in concrete cracks, patio joints, and driveways. You can mix the vinegar with water, salt (or Epsom salts), and/or dawn dish washing liquid. The supplies are relatively cheap and are safe to use around children and pets. A recipe I’ve used that has worked in the past:

-1 gallon of plain white vinegar
-1 cup of Epsom salts
-1 tbsp dawn dish washing liquid.

What tools have you found work best for removing weeds from your lawn and/or garden? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

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