We talk a lot about the types of soils,plants,and trees we work with in landscaping but, one item we very rarely talk about is hand tools. With the help of Western Garden Book " A Practical Guide To Gardening" here is a list of some of our very common garden hand tools, their uses and a couple tips on what to look for when choosing your tools.
Tool: Round-Point Shovel. Uses: To loosen soils, transfer soil to piles or wheel barrow,dig planting holes. Look For: 9" long by 12" wide head for general digging, 6" by 8" head and shorter handle for confined spaces. Round point shovels vary in lift. (The angle formed between the ground and the shovel handle when the shovel head is laid flat on the ground) To make digging easier by minimizing the amount of bending you will have to do,choose a tool with generous lift.
Tool: Spading Fork. Uses: Breaks large clods of soil to smaller clumps. Look For: Four tines that are square or rectangle in cross-section and about 1/2" wide. Substitutes for spades in clay or rocky soils.
Tool: Leaf Rake. Uses: Rake leaves,grass clippings and other light weight materials into piles. Look For: Tines are closely spaced and curve downward at the tip arranged in a curving fan pattern with a stabilizing brace about 8" up from the tip of the tines.
Tool: Square-Nose Shovel. Uses: Scoops up loose dirt,compost, gravel from flat surface. Look For: The best size that picks up the greatest amount of material you can lift repeatedly without tiring. Not meant for general digging.
Tool: Garden or Soil Rake. Uses: Breaks up large pieces of dirt,levels soil, helps work in amendments into the soil into the top few inches. Look For: Thick steel tines,that are straight or curved. Tines may be attached to the handle directly by a tang or socket, or indirectly by a curving bow. The bow type has more spring or resilience. Select a rake with some weight in it's head.
These are just a few common hand gardening tools that are used on a daily basis. Take some time and buy only quality, dependable gardening tools. The extra cash you may spend on quality tools will save you hundreds of dollars in time and frustration in purchasing inferior, and cheap products.
Pocket Gophers are a unique landscape pest. They love to search out areas that have available grubs, plant and tree roots, and other insect goodies in lawns and bedding areas. They are easy to spot by their signature pile of freshly extracted soil that shows up on your property. There are various methods of control or management that can be used but, I remember in my pest management course over at U.C. Riverside, you really do not get rid of pocket gophers, you actually "manage" them. That means you incorporate methods of control that will force the little furry vandals to seek out their meals else where. Traps have always proved effective but, setting and placing the traps plus, getting rid of the dead gophers creates a sometimes queezy or undesirable situation for the home or business owner. Poison baits are effect but pose a problem with the safe use of the poison around children and pets. Water hose flooding is wasteful and not that effective due to the fact the gophers will just scat and come back after the flood is over. I have discovered an effective method of "Managing" pocket gophers that is safe around pets and children. This product contains no poison and is very eco-friendly. "Gopher Goo" is made from a natural polymer similar to the types used in baby diapers. The product also has an peppermint type of additive that the gophers are not to fond of.
The Gopher Goo is mixed into solution with water and poured into the gopher hole. Once the gopher gets the product on it's pelt, it is determined and forced to come out of the burrow and attempt to rid the goo off of it's body. At that time, the gopher()s) can be captured and disposed of in what ever way you feel comfortable. Gopher's move through the tunnels with the use of their furry pelt and with the goo on their body, this just messes up their travel through the tunnels. The natural extract also forces the gopher to find another place to want to hang out as they do not enjoy the scent of the extract. Lastly, the food based polymer fills the gopher tunnel and produces a blockage so that gopher cannot return to the tunnel. The polymer also acts as a mini "Hydroponic Zone" for the damaged root system that the furry invader has been munching on and helps the plant recover from it's damage from the gopher. Check out the web site www.gophergoo.com to learn more about this amazing product and rid your property today of your uninvited furry guest.