Essential Tools for the Gardener

March 23, 2010

Essential Tools For The Gardener
by R Birch

There’s an appropriate tool for every garden project. Using the right tool will make your job much easier. When shopping for garden tools make sure they’re comfortable. Tools which are too heavy can quickly become tiresome while tools which are not heavy enough seem to be poorly made. The handles of well made tools are made from high-quality wood such as ash. The following are the tools which every gardener should own.

Grading Rake
The grading rake is essential for smoothing soil after it has been tilled. Ideal for finish work when preparing planting beds or a new lawn, it enables you to give your garden a finished smooth grade.

Cultivator
These modern gardening tools are available with patented tines to help in cutting the hard compacted soil smoothly. Some cultivators include a border edger. It is perfect for perennial gardens which often end up with compacted soil due to frequent maintenance. Cultivators are great for preparing vegetable gardens and annual beds.

Edger
This gardening helps flower gardens and shrub borders retain their shape. Over time lawn grass begin to encroach on the these gardens and as a result the gardens lose their crisp lines. Edging a garden a few times over the course of a season will prevent grass roots from taking hold in the planting beds.

Pitch Fork
The pitch fork is the perfect tool for aerating compacted soil and preparing garden beds. Pitch forks are also used to divide grasses and perennials. In addition to this these gardening projects the pith fork is often used to spread mulch in the spring.

Reel Mower
Engineless push reel mowers are great for the small lawn. They use no gas, don’t pollute and actually give a cleaner cut than a power mower. One drawback is that this type of mower tends to get bogged down a bit in taller grass so more frequent mowing may be necessary. The modern version of this type of mower is light weight and easy to maneuver.

Hand Pruners
For cleaner, more precise cuts, look for hand shears with bypass blades, which slip past each other when closed and cut the branch cleanly. Hand pruners are able to prune branches of 1 inch (2.5 cm) and smaller diameter. Select a pair of garden shears that fits comfortably in your hand.

Loppers
These are basically pruners with long handles which provide leverage and the ability to prune branches up to 2 inches (5 cm) thick.

Compact Pruning Saw
This is a very convenient and useful tool which is small enough fit into the middle of a shrub to cut a branch.

Over the winter, head out to the shed and take an inventory of your gardening tools. Be sure you have what you’ll need for next season’s garden projects. More than likely there’s a tool on this list you’ll need.

–  Tim Birch is the publisher of GardenListings.com, a Garden Resource site for the gardening enthusiast.

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