What tools are you using to prepare the soil for your planting season? A shovel or a garden hoe? Maybe both. A shovel can dig deep into the soil. A garden mower is used to remove or chop the surface layers of the ground. A hoe is ideal for preparing soil for digging up weeds or cultivating gardens. It is considered one of the oldest gardening tools in agriculture and gardening. It is a simple metal blade or paddle attached at an angle to a long handle. Although it is such a basic and simple tool, there are many garden hoe types for different tasks. And, you may need more than one garden hoe to meet all your gardening needs. Continue reading to learn about some key considerations for purchasing the best garden hoe for your backyard.
Best Garden Hoes
- Back saver long handle with comfortable gel grips
- Easy to use between plants
- Not for tough use.
- The rake is on the flimsy side.
- This hoe have a looped steel blade and 54-inch hardwood handle.
- It is easy to cut weed roots with a push-pull motion.
- It works well on cultivating plants and weeding.
- Not for large weed roots.
- This hoe is made from extra thick pointed steel with extra durability.
- The fiberglass handle is also durable for hoeing rows.
- A bit heavy for weeding.
- This hoe is made from tempered steel, which is powerful to dig up new ground easily. Each side is precisely sharpened to cut through earth.
- The whole tool has a lightweight and long wood handle.
- The handle is a bit long for some people.
- This handheld hoe has a stainless steel blade and hardwood handle.
- The sharpness allows for easy weeding without bending.
- It is portable and easy to store.
- The handle may not be as long as expected.
What to Consider When Choosing Garden Hoes?
Even though all hoes help you till the soil and remove roots from flowerbeds to prepare for planting, there are many hoe sizes and shapes to suit specific gardening jobs. Some hoes are better at pulling dirt than others, but you need a garden hoe that does the main job. These are the most popular garden hoe types you can use for your yard work.
Paddle hoe is a traditional but versatile drawing hoe type. It has a long round handle and a rectangular paddle at the bottom. This shape is the most common hoe when people think of a hoe. These hoes are made to allow you to pull soil towards you and remove weeds from the roots. It’s a great way to break up dirt and prepare the soil for planting. For planters and tight spaces, you can get smaller handheld paddles.
A ridging hoe is popular and effective. Its handle is at an 80-degree angle to the heavy pointed paddle. The heavyweight helps to cut into the soil more easily. It slices thin soil pieces and then pulls the handle towards you to move the slice or till it. People use them to create ridges for planting or vegetable gardens.
Stirrup hoes, also called push-pull hoes, scuffle hoes, hula hoes, and loop hoes, look like a saddle’s stirrup. Stirrup hoes can be used in a back-and-forth motion. They allow you to reach underneath weeds as you pull them towards you. This shape makes it easy to pick up a weed or plant. Some stirrup hoes come with an adjustable hinged attachment, you adjust the angle slightly during push-pull action to increase its effectiveness.
Dual-prong weeding hoes
Double duty is what a dual-prong weeding hoe does. They usually have a small paddle edge and a forked edge. These hoes are capable of working more precisely on the weeds around thriving plants without damaging them. They also effectively loosen the soil. However, they tend to be lightweight and perform better on light weeding than on tougher weeds and hard soil.
Dutch hoes work better on pushing rather than pulling back. The paddle is positioned forward on the Dutch hoe, rather than at an angle like a traditional one. The flat angled blade cuts through weed roots and skims through the soil. The Dutch hoe has an open section that allows dirt to flow through it while you are skimming the soil.
The most commonly used material for hoe handles is hardwood. A single piece of hardwood will make strong wooden handles. Wood can soften the impact of hoeing on your neck and shoulders. Hickory is the best wood handle. Wood’s vulnerability to splitting, rot, and decay over time is a drawback. Wood handles can be replaced at a reasonable cost.
Aluminum or stainless steel handles are lightweight and resistant to rust. But they can only endure light-duty use. Heavy-duty use will cause them to bend and break.
Fiberglass handles can be molded and colored. They will not mold or rot. They are however more difficult to replace if they break.
Most hoes are made from steel. This lightweight, tough-to-bend, and strong material can make your hoe very efficient and last a long time despite the hard work required to use it. There are many types of steel.
Stainless steel is the most resistant to corrosion and rust. It can be molded as one piece of steel without welding joints. The shape might not be able to withstand repeated chopping motions of hoeing, as with other steels.
Tempered steel hoes tend to be thicker and sharper than stainless steel hoes. This hoe is the strongest and most durable. Tempered steel is resistant to corrosion but can still rust. It will also be more expensive.
Welded steel is the cheapest option. The paddle is set at an angle to the handle by a weld between the L-shape and the paddle. This weld can cause a weakness in your garden hoe and could eventually break.
The width of most hoe paddles ranges from 3 inches to 12 inches. Different hoe blade widths have their own pros and cons.
Narrow blades are 3-5 inches in width. They allow precise cutting into the soil and are best for removing deeper weed roots and loosening the soil around plants in tight spaces. Sometimes they have a forked edge on the opposite side, which allows you to maneuver around delicate plants. However, if you want to complete a large job, a narrow blade will take a longer time and more effort.
For beginners and heavy-duty hoe users, it’s best to choose a standard blade width between 6-8 inches. This width allows you to dig into any soil easier and reach deep roots.
A hoe width between 9-12 inches is great for weeding and loosening the surface soil layer, but they can be difficult to dig into the soil.
No matter how tall you are, consider your height and handle length when buying a garden hoe. A hoe with proper handle length can save your back when working. It should be easy to grasp the end of the handle while standing straight, your back will feel better if you don’t bend as much.
Some garden hoes have telescopic handles. The adjustable handles can be extended from a shorter length suitable for hand hoeing on your knees to a longer length that you can use standing up in the garden.
Although this function is useful, a telescopic handle may not be as strong as a long handle.
The extra padding will be added to a hoe to increase comfort in use. Your hands are very vulnerable to blisters from the repetitive motion of mowing a garden. These cushion grips protect your hands from injury. These cushion grips also increase the width of your hoe’s handle, making it easier for arthritis sufferers to use.
Standard weeding hoes have an angle of 60-70 degrees for easily cutting into the soil and rooting out weeds. If you find it a bit stiff to use, you may be able to modify your draw hoe’s gooseneck to increase or decrease the angle. But not all hoe angles can be adjusted.
How to Use and Maintain a Garden Hoe Properly?
Good use habits and maintenance will bring significant improvement in the longevity of your garden hoe.
- Clean and dry your hoe thoroughly before storing it.
- Regularly sharpening a garden hoe is the best way to make it work. You can use a metal filing bought from the hardware store. Make sure you file it at the same angle as it is. And don’t make your hoe blade too sharp. Because the tip of the blade can be very thin and easily damaged by small stones.
- Oil your hoe head and handle if you will not use the hoe for a long time. Use natural boiled linseed oil instead of petroleum-based oil. This can keep your hoe from cracking and rusting. Natural oil is friendly to your hands and the environment.
- Before digging soil, it’s a good idea to wear a pair of garden gloves to protect your hands from blisters and calluses.
- Use hoes according to your tasks and area. A draw hoe can be effective for small weeds, and a durable forked hoe may be the best for larger weed roots.
- Clear bigger stones before handling any soil. Hard stones can damage your hoe blade easily.