Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Long-Handled Weeding Tools

Johnny’s offers a number of weeding tools each with their own unique application. Using the right tool for the right job not only makes the work faster and more efficient, but the ergonomic advantages they sometimes offer can even make the work somewhat enjoyable. Skeptical? Let's take a look...

The Stirrup Hoe 

Stirrup Hoe
Our most popular hoe, hands down. Why? Efficiency and versatility. This is a root-slicing hoe designed to cut on both the forward and reverse strokes. It is rugged enough to take on more mature weeds yet has a rounded blade, allowing the user to weed very close to the crop without damage.

This is a great all-around hoe that can literally cover some ground in a hurry. It is especially adept at inter-row weeding and keeping the footpath under control. Stirrup Hoes come in three sizes - 3¼", 5", and 7" wide and sport a beefier handle to support the extra stress involved with the push stroke.

Mark Guzzi hoes a row at Peacemeal Farm in Dixmont, ME.
Photo courtesy, Eric Gallandt, University of Maine

 The Collinear Hoe 

Collinear Hoe
Also one of our all-time most popular hoes, the Collinear Hoe is very unique. Eliot Coleman designed it with a sharp, rectangular blade that lays flat against (or collinear with) the ground. It is a type of 'draw hoe' because it is pulled toward the user. Doing so slices weeds off just below the soil surface, leaving them to wither and die in the sun. It is very versatile and especially effective in and around low lying foliage on crops like head lettuce. It is also designed with ergonomics at its very inception. The idea was to create a hoe that could be used in a vertical stance, to reduce lower back strain. The collinear hoe is therefore used with a thumbs-up grip, much as you would a kitchen broom. It can be used in a back and forth motion in lighter weed pressure or more aggressively as a draw hoe on more mature weeds. There are three versions of this tool - 3¾" and 7" fixed blade models and a 7" model with a replaceable blade.

Photos courtesy Jean-Martin Fortier, Les Jardins de le Grelinette, St. Armand, Quebec

The Wire Weeder 

Wire Weeder
This is a highly ergonomic weeder also designed by Eliot Coleman, with surgical precision in its application. Like the Collinear Hoes, it is designed to be used with a straight back and both thumbs up. It is great for emerging weeds, especially in and around younger crops or closely-spaced crops, where clumsiness just will not do. It is somewhat blunt, so it is designed not to cut through the weeds, but to overturn them, exposing their roots to the sun. There is also a short-handled version of this tool.

This tool may be used in a back and forth motion, or simply dragged through the soil if weeds are just emerging. You will see above that the user is holding it at a slight angle to fit between these closely spaced crops.

Simply dragging the weeder through the soil

The Trapezoid Hoe 

This is our favorite tool for mid-sized weeds. It is a traditional chopping hoe with a unique trapezoidal shape. The beveled blade is angled just enough to get under the edges of plants. Sharp corners tackle stubborn roots. The replaceable spring steel blade allows easy renewal after multiple seasons of vigorous use.

Trapezoid Hoe

CobraHead® Long-handled Weeder/Cultivator 

The curved blade of this tool acts like a steel fingernail. It weeds, cultivates, digs, and furrows with ease. It works well in almost any soil. The blade is set in place with Allen screws, allowing easy replacement.


The 3-Tooth Cultivator 

This tool was designed by Eliot Coleman to have a push-pull action for incorporating compost and fertilizer, and loosening soil. What's that got to do with weeding? Well, it can also be used for cultivating between rows in footpaths and is especially effective on emerging weed seedlings in those areas, as the cultivating action of its teeth act to bury those young weeds, smothering them.

3-Tooth Cultivator

Learn More

To learn more about Weed Management in Sustainable Agriculture Systems, see the following articles, published June 2014 on our website:

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