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.