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8 Must-Have Gardening Tools

8 Must-Have Gardening Tools

Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or just starting out, having the proper equipment for the task will greatly improve your productivity.

Most gardening tasks can be accomplished with just eight simple hand tools (8 Must-Have Gardening Tools).

For the upcoming gardening season, how many of these “must-have” pieces of equipment are you planning to use?

1. Trowel



To begin your gardening arsenal, start with this little hand-held digging tool, which is essential for loosening the soil in preparation for planting.

You may loosen the dirt over small areas using a trowel, which is like a little shovel with a handle, or you can dig holes for plants or vegetables.

Find one with a nice grip, and if you can afford it, splurge on a sturdy, one-piece one that will endure through all of your gardening endeavors.

2. Shovel


This digging tool has a long handle and a pointed head, making it ideal for loosening soil across wide regions or digging holes for shrubs and trees.

A shovel with a platform on top of the blade is convenient since it reduces pressure on your foot while pressing into compacted dirt.

Also, search for a length that fits your height—not so small that your back revolts from having to bend down too much.

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3. Digging fork


A third helpful digging tool is this one with durable, broad tines. It’s helpful for both digging and breaking up clods of soil.

You may also use a digging fork (instead of buying a separate, longer-tined pitchfork) for turning compost and stacking mulch into the wheelbarrow.

4. Hand pruners


This is the go-to cutting tool for all sorts of items in the garden: tiny branches, root shoots (“suckers”) growing up from the base of trees, woody weeds, too-long vines, rope, plastic fence, etc.

Go for a comfortable set of bypass-type pruners that appear like substantial scissors instead of anvil-type pruners, which have one sharp blade and one soft end. Anvil pruners tend to crush branches instead of crisply cutting them.

Lots of brands are available, but the key to all of them is keeping the blades sharp.

5. Loppers


For cutting heavier, older tree and shrub branches, loppers are the instrument you’ll need. Hand pruners won’t cut it if you need to remove anything larger than a quarter of an inch in diameter.

Loppers are essentially long-handled pruners with larger blades and a whole lot more leverage to cope with bigger things.

6. Shears


8 Must Have Gardening Tools

This third cutting tool is one you’ll need, especially if you have hedges or undertake any other type of formal shearing.

Shears feature two scissor-type, long blades and long handles. They’re used for shaping cuts to plants, such as the straight cuts needed for yew hedges or for cleanly rounding off boxwoods and hollies.

However, they’re also excellent for rapidly whacking off the wasted growth of perennial flowers and decorative grasses at the end of the season.

7. Weeding tool


8 Must Have Gardening Tools

You could go with a simple home screwdriver to pull weeds from the ground, or you could buy any of a range of short-handled, sharp-ended instruments intended to perform the same thing (including lifting weed roots).

Weeders with comfortable handles and sharp ends are excellent. Prevent weeds from growing in the first place by using Preen Weed Preventers in the spring and fall.

8. Rake


8 Must Have Gardening Tools

A stiff-tined, long-handled rake is the final entry in the basic nine, used for smoothing the soil after digging and for moving soil onto mounds, terraces, and raised beds.

A robust rake can also be used to rough up the soil surface before sowing seeds or to eliminate recently grown weeds.

A separate leaf rake is particularly beneficial if the yard includes trees with plenty of falling leaves in the fall.

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Even more?

Additional equipment is available for even more specialized duties (edging tools for cutting crisp bed edges and mattocks for grubbing out roots, for example), but just eight are plenty to create a versatile, economical lineup.

Ergonomic choices that are built for optimal comfort and ease are more available than ever, too, especially online and through catalogs.

If you don’t mind shelling out extra money to save even more work, power tools are available to loosen the soil (gas-powered tillers), shear the hedges (electric or gas-powered shears), get rid of weeds (weed-whackers), and cut off even arm-thick branches in a matter of seconds (chain saws and power loppers).


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