Posts Tagged weeding

Wonder Spouse’s Favorite Weeding Tool

Weed Wrench

It’s called a Weed Wrench,™ and this sturdily constructed tool is Wonder Spouse’s favorite. This is the medium-sized one. The hand pruners leaning against the Wrench are providing scale.

I learned about this tool at a gathering of conservationists and land managers that had convened to discuss optimal methods for removing invasive exotic plant species from their properties. One demonstration had me convinced.  All the specifications and other details can be found at the Web site of the folks who invented and sell this tool.  Click, read, learn of its niftiness.

I persuaded Wonder Spouse to demonstrate for your viewing pleasure. He settles the clamp at the base of the tool around the base of a sapling growing where it can’t stay, and begins to leverage it out of the ground:

Sapling in the grip of the Weed Wrench

As he leans further back and continues pulling, he can feel the roots popping below ground:

Sapling easing out of the ground in the grip of the tool

Finally, Wonder Spouse holds his trophy high.

Sapling extracted, roots and all

You can see that most of the roots came out in their entirety, still connected to the trunk. This greatly reduces the likelihood of resprouting. Most of the time, the entire length of the root is extracted, meaning that sapling won’t be back.

You can find somewhat similar tools in farm supply catalogs. Most of them use some sort of clamp to grip the plant, and you attach the clamp via a chain to a tractor or other sturdy vehicle to pull out the plant. This seems much less efficient and potentially more damaging to the surrounding area, but situations vary, and such devices are likely suitable for some of them.

We are quite happy with our tool choice. Wonder Spouse loves wandering around our five acres wrenching out invasive plants or uninvited saplings. There’s something very satisfying about popping out a troublemaker — roots and all — without ever lifting a shovel.

NOTE: Apparently the gentleman who made this device decided to stop selling it, as you’ll see if you go to the link provided in this posting. Alas, I don’t know of any good equivalents for this wonderful tool.


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My Favorite Weeding Tool

Cape Cod Weeders

As you can see, I should probably be a bit more fastidious with my garden tools. The handle of the older weeder on the left — I think I’ve been using it at least 15 years — is caked with dirt. Even the new one could probably use a good wipe down. But it seems pointless to me, because I use them almost every day. As soon as I got them clean, they’d be dirty again.

I have tried every weeding tool out there, and for fast, efficient weed extraction, this is my tool of choice. The point of the blade slices into the soil easily. You hook the interior of the blade beneath the leaves right around the root, and the weed pops out — roots and all. Of course, don’t try this in rock-hard dirt.

In my good, loose garden soil, I quickly develop a rhythm with my Cape Cod Weeder. Angle the point into the soil, twist my wrist to catch the roots, pull toward me, and out pops the weed. If the soil is moist but not wet, the dirt shakes easily off the roots. The weed goes into the compost bucket, and I move smoothly down the bed — slice, twist, pull, plop.

When I’m done, the weeded area is clean — no raggedy broken off roots left lying in wait to resprout, no missed weeds, just tidy soil waiting for transplants or seeds or mulch — whatever I’m planning for that spot.

We also routinely use the weeders to pull out soil staples — the metal wires used to tack down garden fabrics. It’s easy to slide the tip under the metal. The staple lifts out of the ground with minimum effort.

You may notice that our weeders are for right-handed folks. But lefties, fear not — you can easily find ones designed for people of your handedness.

One more point. See the yellow stripes on the weeder on the left? We have misplaced the weeders more than once in a bed. Sometimes they’ve been covered by leaves and rained on before we found them again. The bright yellow paint helps me keep track of them.

That reminds me — I really need to paint the new one.


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