When it comes to gardening, weed maintenance is crucial. Left unmanaged, pesky weeds can steal vital nutrients from the greenery you spent so much time planting, not to mention turn your pristine garden or garden bed into an untidy disaster. If you’re unsure how to approach weeds, there are simple ways to go about it at first, from a handheld garden cultivator to the multi-purpose garden knife. As you get more comfortable, or your weeds become more difficult to remove, you might want to try a long-handled garden hoe for weeds with shallow roots or a spading fork for older weeds with deep roots.
SKIP AHEAD Best weeding tools and why weeding is important
To figure all of that out, we spoke to some gardening experts to break down some of the most popular weeding tools for every type of garden and gardener, plus simplified the importance of weeding. And if you’d rather grow herbs from your kitchen, consider an indoor garden kit.
What to consider when buying a wedding tool
Weeding tools differ in shape and size as well as form and function. While some are a better fit for a large garden, others only make sense if you’re gardening above or around concrete slabs. When looking at a new tool for weeding, consider you’ll want to pay close attention to its length, intended use and the weeds you’ll be using it on.
The length of the tool
Weeding tools are typically either short-handled or long-handled. Like the name suggests, short-handled tools are better for tougher tasks that require more strength. “With the short handle options you have even more control to remove only the weeds and not harm your thriving plants,” said Rebecca Sears, chief gardening guru at Ferry-Morse. Long-handled tools, meanwhile, allow you to weed while standing and can cover more area at once — this puts less pressure on your joints but also doesn’t give you as much power while you weed.
The type of garden
Different weeding tools are designed for different types of gardens and their accompanying weeds. A Cape Cod weeder, for instance, is designed for tighter spaces, while a paving weeder is meant for getting rid of weeds growing in between or on top of concrete slabs or pavers.
The age and size of the weeds
Likewise, different tools are designed to handle weeds in various stages of the growing process. While a handheld garden cultivator is better for everyday weeds, a spading fork can handle a weed with deeper roots.
Best weeding tools for every gardener
Below, we recommend highly rated weeding tools that align with our experts’ guidance.
Best handheld garden cultivator: Edward Tools
Edward Tools Aluminum Hand Cultivator
Sears said that a handheld garden cultivator is an important tool for those who garden everyday. “It is great for breaking up compacted soil and reducing weed growth [and] the three prongs allow for tight weed removal around smaller plant stems,” she explained. Bryan McKenzie, landscape designer and co-founder of Bumper Crop Times, added that this is a good tool “when you need to pull out several weeds at once.” This Edward Tools Aluminum Hand Cultivator has hooked aluminum tines to do just that — as well as an ergonomic handle with a rubber palm rest and a contoured finger grip, the brand says. It’s earned a 4.7-star average rating from nearly 400 customer reviews on Amazon.
Best garden knife: Nisaku
Nisaku Hori Hori Weeding & Digging Knife
Several of the experts we spoke to said gardening knives are great for removing every part of the weed — including the stubborn roots. Jeremy Starke, gardening expert and founder of Green Thumb Gardener, is particularly a fan of the multipurpose Japanese tool called the Hori Hori knife — compared to a typical gardening knife, it is larger and features measurements on the blade to help you figure out the depth of soil while planting. “Sometimes you have a weed that you can’t quite pull with your hand, so using the Hori Hori really helps to pry them out,” Starke said. The Nisaku Hori Hori Weeding & Digging Knife features a Japanese stainless steel concave blade and, according to the brand, it’s both rust-proof and scratch-resistant. It comes with a 4.9-star average rating from more than 5,600 customer reviews on Amazon.
Best long-handled garden hoe: Berry&Bird
Berry&Bird Dutch Hoe
According to McKenzie, a long-handled garden hoe (or a Dutch hoe) is better for weeds with shallow roots. “A long handle lets you avoid bending over to pull out the weeds, while the broad sharp blade can deal with roots and stems of almost any diameter,” he said. “It lets you skim right below the ground and detach the plant from the root.” The Berry&Bird Dutch Hoe has a stainless steel head (to reduce rust) and a slim wood handle (for ease of use), according to Berry&Bird. The hoe comes with a 4.5-star average rating from 150 Amazon reviews.
Best Cape Cod weeder: Carrot Design
Carrot Design Cape Cod Weeder
A Cape Cod weeder is “great for weeding in tight spaces,” Mckenzie noted. This one from Carrot Design is made of beech hardwood with a steel blade and neck. The brand says you use the pointed end of the weeder to drag at ground level and cut the weeds at the roots — or dig out the root with its sharp tip. It has a 4.7-star average rating from nearly 300 customer reviews on Amazon. Cape Cod weeders are configured based on your dominant hand, so make sure you order accordingly.
Best dandelion weeder: Garden Guru
Garden Guru Dandelion Weeder
If your main problem is dandelions, you might want to consider a dandelion weeder, otherwise known as a fishtail weeder. ,[This is] an exceptionally useful tool when it comes to dealing with deep roots,” McKenzie noted, as the V-notched blade is designed to detach weed roots growing deep in the dirt. The dandelion weeder from Garden Guru is made from stainless steel and has a two-pronged fork design that’s meant to grab weeds by their roots. It has a soft gripped handle with a contoured finger design, too. It comes with a 4.7-star average rating from around 250 customer reviews on Amazon.
Best paving weeder: GREBSTK
GREBSTK Crack Weeder Crevice Weeding Tool
“Weeding in corners, concrete seems and in between the pavers is extremely annoying as most tools just can’t get in. A paving weeder is a tool designed specifically for these cases,” McKenzie said. This paving weeder from GREBSTK, which features a 13-inch angled blade, can also remove moss growing on top of pavers and stones. It has a 4.5-star average rating from more than 3,100 customer reviews on Amazon.
Best spading fork: True Temper
True Temper 4-Tine Spading Digging Fork
George Bernadon, VP of grounds management at SSC Services for Education, said that he uses a spading fork “for more difficult or mature weeds with deeper roots,” and the True Temper 4-Tine Spading Digging Fork has four diamond-pointed steel tines for easy digging, according to the brand. It also has a hardwood handle and a 4.6-star average rating from more than 1,300 reviews on Amazon. “I can insert the fork into the ground around the weed from varying directions to loosen the soil around the roots,” he said, adding that the process “aerates the soil around desirable plants.” He also noted that a spading fork can be used by novices and experts alike.
Is weeding important?
On top of the aesthetic appeal of a weed-free bed of flowers or vegetables, eliminating weeds from your garden actually helps plants grow.
“The soil in your garden is filled with nutrients that your plants compete for — the fewer weeds in your garden, the more food available for your plants, making them more productive and likely to succeed,” Sears explained. “This holds true for sunlight and water as well. Weeds will compete for the resources that your garden plants need to stay healthy.”
According to McKenzie, weeds can also bring dangerous diseases into your garden. “Similar to rodents and nuisance insects, weeds may transmit plant diseases and attract more pests to the area,” he said. “Every gardener should eliminate weeds as soon as they appear to prevent the larger problem.”
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