Posts Tagged ‘garden tool safety’


War on Weeds

March 12, 2012

Home gardeners wait all winter for spring, for tender shoots of green hues and rainbow-colored flower buds. Then beneath them, undesirable weeds appear indent on taking over the landscape. We hoe, dig, spray, perspire, and swear in our battle to kill them—to maintain a tidy landscape. Unfortunately, like a chronic habit they keep coming back. Nevertheless, there are other reasons to rid your yard of weeds.


  • Steal space, nutrients, water, and sunlight from crops.
  • Provide cover for pests and rodents.
  • Cause many allergens to people.
  • Serve as host for insects and overwintering diseases.

Before waging war against weeds, use tools that best suit your weeding preference, i.e., on your feet or on the earth with a hand tool. Select tools that fit your hand size and strength ability. If the tool is too big or heavy, the job will be harder than necessary.

Tool Care and Safety:

  • A good rule is to sharpen hoe blades every eight hours of use.
  • Sharpen the blade to a 45-degree angle with a file just enough to remove ragged portions of the blade.
  • Never leave the blade end down while working in the garden. One can easily step on the blade and send the handle flying toward the face. For the same reason, store garden hoes with blade-end facing up.

Weed Control:

  • Remove and properly dispose of weeds before they flower and go to seed. One head can contain thousands of seeds. Avoid putting weeds in a compost pile that does not remain hot (over 130 degrees F.) for several days. The seeds will not decompose.
  • Develop a regular weeding routine. Remove weeds weekly, if possible every time you see one.
  • Make sure the soil is moist (not soaking wet) one – two inches deep for easy weeding.
  • Annual weeds will die if cut at or below the soil line. Perennial weeds grow back if you don’t remove the taproot.
  • Disturb the soil as little as possible. Seeds are viable in the soil for hundreds of years waiting to germinate when the conditions are right. Cultivating the soil causes seeds to surface to the top.

 Number One Earth-Friendly Weed Control:

  • The best and easiest way to help eliminate as many weeds as possible is to use organic mulch, after you have removed all weeds. A thick layer of four – six inches will block out light required for germination of some seeds. The few weeds that do germinate easily come up—roots included—simply by using your fingers. Mulch helps retain moisture, is attractive, and environmentally friendly. (Note:  To help prevent moisture rot, disease, and insects from crawling up plants, Keep mulch three inches away from the base of tree and plants.)
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