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HOMELawn Care Articles

by Carole Schwalm An old shovel sitting against an outside wall of a barn by the door and a small pedistal.

It’s important to have the right garden tools and to have them on hand (as in the right tool for the job) and to have them in good condition. In doing so, you make garden and yardwork simple and fun rather than painful and time-consuming.

Your garden tools are an investment, and why it is wise to pay a little more and get good quality, and enjoy years of service rather than half a season.

Picture of a hand trowel with blade partially buried in the dirt. Once you own the tools, you should take care of them. Experts recommend cleaning and oiling each time you use it. One recommendation for the latter is to have a box about 2’ square and 1’ high (according to Homeowner’s Guide to Landscaping by Raymond Felice). Flll the box with sand, saturated with motor oil. When finished shoveling or troweling, dip the garden tool in the sand a few times and it is good to go! Handles can be replaced too. ‘Tis better to ensure that what you buy isn’t flimzy in the first place, however. There are also coated shovels that keep the dirt from clinging to blades.

Manufacturers are now addressing ergonomics. In this light, you work smarter, not harder. You are ahead of the game if you use your body weight to dig.

A below the knee picture of a man digging a hole next to a house for a small plant in a container in the background. SHOVEL: Shovels come in several different shapes. A square shovel is good for picking up quantities of root prunings or moving dirt. The pointed shovel makes digging holes for plantings easier. This is also the tool to use if you are working in a flower or vegetable bed and do not want to disturb neighboring plants.

DIGGING FORK: This tool helps you loosen soil and weeds. It is also helpful for breaking up large clumps of dirt.

TROWEL: We all know about a trowel for digging, planting and scooping. (We just have trouble remembering where we laid it a few minutes ago!!)

WEEDERS: The long-handled variety is easier on your back.

Share your lawn tools experience or if you'd like more information.