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Favorite Hoes...

July 9 2017 at 10:12 PM
Ken  (Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

or other weeding tools??

Years ago I used to pull weeds in my established beds by hand. Took a long time, and the weeds grew back really fast. Actually, when I did it by hand I probably left half the plant in the ground ready to pop right back up. Also, I definitely left the tiny new weeds intact as I went through the beds.

Then I bought a soil knife and I scraped it along the surface. Much better. Faster, easier on the hands, more thorough, etc.

A couple of years ago I got a stirrup hoe. Really fast on tough weeds. Works on push and pull, cuts just below the surface without disturbing the soil much. This is an amazing tool and if I was to get only one hoe this is the one I would get!

This year I picked up a collinear hoe. This would be my second hoe to buy after the stirrup. It works great on beds that are already weeded and have small easy weeds to clear out. Just like cleaning a feeder often is easier in the long run, running this tool on soil that looks basically weed free a few times a week is easy and quick. My beds look amazing! With the collinear hoe you stand taller and use it more like a rake. It gets under plant better than the stirrup. I can link to a video of someone using this tool the proper way if anyone is interested.

Again, if i was to have only one, the stirrup is the way to go, much better on tougher weeds and is easy to control. The collinear on established weeds would be pretty tough!

Only use my hands now on weeds that are mixed in the base of plants. Also I hardly use the soil knife anymore.

What are some of your favorite weeding tools?

Ken
Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:c)


    
This message has been edited by 5strings on Jul 9, 2017 10:16 PM


 
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Dan
(Login hawkeye_wx)
Hummingbird lover 2009

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 9 2017, 10:43 PM 

I just use my hands. Most of my weeds pull out easily, but, as you say, the tougher weeds often just get snapped off close to the base, and they just grow back. If I want to do an extra good job, I'll use a hand trowel to help dig up the tougher ones.
East-central Iowa
Zone 5a

 
 

Kathi and Michael Rock
(Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 10 2017, 12:55 AM 

Thanks for this tip Ken. I'll keep that tool in mind and would be interested in seeing a video of how it works.

I have to admit that I do the same as Dan, but it seems like the weeds are back again almost the next day (even though I feel like I get the roots of the weeds.)
Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

[linked image]

 
 
Ward Dasey
(Login WardDas)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 10 2017, 11:48 AM 

I bet the collinear hoe works well but the use of would scare me. The nice thing about a stirrup hoe especially the old and dull one that is use is it can bump up against the plants I am keeping and usually doesn't cut them down. There is simply no way I could keep up with all the weeding required without a stirrup hoe. Our old friend Vicky recommended it back when we were first doing the park gardens and I am grateful.

An example of what a stirrup hoe can do is in a 20' x 20' enclosed garden Ken, Ron and I got roped into redoing this spring. It was completely infested with mugwort, knotweed, and lots of annual weeds. It hadn't been properly cared for in years. We filled the space with Tropical Milkweed, David Verity and some other annuals. Those happened to be what we had on hand at the time but were perfect for the situation. By spacing the plants widely, one or two feet apart, we allowed easy access for the stirrup hoe and now two months later and 15 minutes of hoeing ever few weeks the bed is rather clean. Because of knotweed and mugwort lurking on all sides of this bed it will probably never be appropriate to install plants with spreading crowns like guaranitica or Monarda. That would be planning to lose workwise.

 
 
Tom M
(Login TomnStPete)
Hummingbird Lover 2014

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 10 2017, 6:59 PM 

Would either work weeding mulched areas? I use pine fines and/or pine minibark down here because they don't degrade quickly like most other mulches in my year around heat and humidity. I'd sure like to not have to put on the drywall knee pads and be down crawling around on my hands and knees weeding the mulched areas....
St Pete Tom
USDA 10a, Heat 10

 
 
Ken
(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 10 2017, 8:52 PM 

Hi Tom, not sure how these hoes would work in mulch. Guess it would depend on the mulch. Perhaps I could ask my neighbor if I could drag them in his mulched bed. His mulch is finely chopped wood chips. I'll let you know.

Kathi, here are two videos of the collinear hoe:
https://youtu.be/pR8mXcXBfVI
https://youtu.be/gviCadB-ppo

As you can see the collinear works well in beds that are in good shape and just needs maintenance. I have been using it to maintain beds that I cleaned with a stirrup hoe weeks ago.

Moisture content affects ease of use and effectiveness. Too wet and the tool is harder to use, and the plants have a better chance of recovering. Too dry and the tool has a hard time getting under the surface.

Ward, you do have to use the collinear more carefully as the stirrup shape does keep the sharp edge away from the plants. It sure is nice though to glide under plants with the flat blade of the collinear.

That bed that Ward mentioned above was overrun with tough weeds. The stirrups went though it very quickly, easily and thoughly. Never could have done as good a job by hand, not even in ten times time it took by the stirrups. Would never have considered the collinear for that job!!!

The collinear is not cheap, and it is not as versatile as the stirrup. I do like using it where it shines though! You can pickup a stirrup hoe at the big box and hardware stores for about 17 bucks.

The hoes need space between plants to work. My raised bed is so dense that after it fills up the weeds don't get the light to grow, which is good as the hoe would be useless there now. My other beds have plenty of space for weeds, and hoes.

Ken
Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:c)


    
This message has been edited by 5strings on Jul 10, 2017 8:54 PM


 
 

Kathi and Michael Rock
(Login kathirock)
Hummingbird Member 2006

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 11 2017, 1:02 AM 

Thanks Ken. I like that you can easily work around your plants with these tools. For our garden, these hoes would be mostly needed earlier on as the plants begin to fill in as the season progresses and then weeding becomes less important.
Michael and Kathi Rock
Madison, WI
Zone 5

[linked image]

 
 
Tom M
(Login TomnStPete)
Hummingbird Lover 2014

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 11 2017, 10:48 AM 

Hi Tom, not sure how these hoes would work in mulch. Guess it would depend on the mulch. Perhaps I could ask my neighbor if I could drag them in his mulched bed. His mulch is finely chopped wood chips. I'll let you know.

Thanks Ken, I appreciate it.
St Pete Tom
USDA 10a, Heat 10

 
 
Ward Dasey
(Login WardDas)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 11 2017, 11:02 AM 

It seems to me that hoeing mulched areas would mostly be counter productive. One of the main purposes of mulch is to exclude light from weed seeds lurking in the ground and hoeing just stirs them to the surface where they can germinate.

 
 
Adrienne
(Login Adrieee)
Hummingbird Lover 2017

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 11 2017, 1:19 PM 

For our tiny yard a hoe isn't practical. Plus, especially in the beginning, a better tool would be an axe or chisel since our soil is clay and often hard as concrete. Now I just use gloved hands mostly and occasionally a trowel which I am still in the habit of referring to as a shovel.
NYC Zone 6/7

 
 
Tom M
(Login TomnStPete)
Hummingbird Lover 2014

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 11 2017, 3:08 PM 

It seems to me that hoeing mulched areas would mostly be counter productive. One of the main purposes of mulch is to exclude light from weed seeds lurking in the ground and hoeing just stirs them to the surface where they can germinate.

I'm know you're right Ward, I put down a fairly heavy layer of crushed pinebark so the weeds that do come up germinate close to the surface. I was hoping to find a tool that would work the surface yet leave the deeper mulch intact, but this is probably a futile effort.
St Pete Tom
USDA 10a, Heat 10

 
 
Ken
(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 11 2017, 11:24 PM 

I have the opposite problem early in the season, soil too wet to work on.

Too dry is better than too wet, no matter what method one uses to weed. Water the area a bit, then wait a day to work the area.

Reminds me of when I built my dry stack wall for my raised garden. Ground was extremely hard and I had to dig an 8 to 10 inch deep trench below the wall to put a rock and crushed stone base. Couldn't get the shovel a 1/4 inch into the ground. Since I had to dig so deep I ran the sprinkler on the area for a deep watering. Waited a couple of days and digging was a breeze.

Ken
Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:c)

 
 
Ward Dasey
(Login WardDas)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 12 2017, 9:28 AM 

Your comment about wet soil and the stirrup hoe is right on. Wet soil tends to stick to it. In the idea world the best time to hoe is a couple of days or more after a rain and days before the next one. Nothing is worse than working for hours clearing weeds only to have them re-root again.

Maybe I am getting old or something, but the first thing I think of when considering a plant or project is how will this be maintained? Too many mistake in my youth some of which still need undoing.


    
This message has been edited by WardDas on Jul 12, 2017 11:27 AM


 
 
Joni
(Login Yodlei44)
Hummingbirder 2008

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 12 2017, 4:31 PM 

Thanks for bringing this up, Ken. I had a "hoop hoe" from True Value & hadn't used it in a while. Found it behind a larger tool & used it Sunday between my maters where crabgrass was starting to take hold as I hadn't put straw down yet. Hadn't then had rain in over 3 weeks other than ocassional spit so it worked wonderfully. Never heard of a collinear hoe & when I looked it up, I have one but never knew what it was called. Never used it either except to make furrows for planting seeds in the past.

A good ole pitchfork is my most used weed tool. I work in patches & stomp & loosen then sit & pull most come right out as long as soil is somewhat moist. For those harder to pull due to deeper roots, 2nd most used tool is a dandelion fork. Nothing works if it is dry.

I also mentioned in a weed thread before, & although I don't use pesticides except for a very rare time or two of insecticidal soap, I lately have had to use an herbicide, especially since I've had a huge canada thistle problem for years now. Pulling wouldn't do the trick & my areas of it were increasing instead of decreasing, even keeping the flowers deadheaded. I have too big of a yard to just keep pulling (which I have done in the past) & almost all summer last year & this year at 5-8 hours a day), I found Green Shoots https://www.greenshootsonline.com/ & it has been working excellent. Very little use (foam the size of a tack head per plant) & it doesn't hurt anything nearby & you aren't spraying the ground or the air. I still get a sprout here & there that has to be retreated but I would say I have had about 90% kill rate of it so once the majority is gone, it won't be used anymore. Dead remains are burned. I pull most weeds but this one & sow thistle were pretty non-existent in my yard for about the first 10 years but the last 10 got uglier with the last 3 or so being horrible & also these past few years, nightshade & pokeweed showed up. I know many don't like Round-Up but believe it or not, this was the safest to use IMO & I've researched for many years & others sound much worse, especially when it comes to insects & animals. Very short term use to eradicate a HUGE problem. Worked so well, figured it was worth mentioning for anyone who has a very large stand of thugs. I wouldn't recommend this for a normal yard but I have around an acre in the country. This has been my #1 tool this year. If it wasn't for finally finding something to control this thug, thoughts of selling my home had crossed my mind. I would then be a shell of a soul.

Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5b
[linked image]


    
This message has been edited by Yodlei44 on Jul 12, 2017 4:36 PM


 
 

Cathy P (Downers Grove, IL Zone 5b)
(Login Bazuhi)
Hummingbird Lover 2014

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 17 2017, 12:12 AM 

Tom,
I have used mine in woodchips and my chips
are a hardwood softwood mix about 6 inches
thick and it worked great. It does stir up
the chips but you can use the hoe to smooth
them out.
Home Depot sells the hoe and you can try it
and return it if you don't like it.
.
I use mine on wet and dry soil and the
tough weeds do finally give up after getting
scrapped so many times. I don't use it in
the middle of my beds till I am sure all the
seeds I tossed didn't germinate but do use it
on all my garden paths

I love my stirrup hoe and it is great!!!
Cathy P
A Hummingbird Fan in Downers Grove, Illinois
Zone 5a
bazuhi@sbcglobal.net
See My Hummingbird Gardens and Plants
https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Ps-Hummingbird-Gardens-885457968170727/photos_stream?tab=photos_albums
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Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 17 2017, 12:37 AM 

I had looked at this thread before and was going to check out the stirrup hoe to see if they sell it in my area but got sidetracked, perhaps I will check it out now.
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Ward Dasey
(Login WardDas)
Hummingbird Moderator 2005

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 17 2017, 7:44 AM 

On Saturday the stirrup hoe zipped through 700 feet of park garden in just 6 hours, unfortunately it asked me to come along.

 
 
Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 17 2017, 7:23 PM 

Not available in my town at least not a long handled one, so I ordered one thru wally world, should receive in a week or so.
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Indy Steve
(Login SteveWnindy)
Hummingbird lover 2007

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 24 2017, 11:05 AM 

I received my "action hoe" a couple of days ago but decided to give it a little test run this morning. I do have some mulch down in my gardens but presently its not thick enough to prevent weeds from coming up. So here I went with my hoe , pretty nice job can get up close to plants without having to get down on my knees. But I really liked how I can go along the edging surrounding my garden where weeds always find their way and previously was down on my knees with a trowel. Like was mentioned above will have to pull out weeds inter mixed with plants, but overall saves a lot of bending over and strain on the back and knees.
Steve
Martinsville In.
Zone 6

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Ken
(Login 5strings)
Hummingbirder 2010

Re: Favorite Hoes...

July 24 2017, 11:23 AM 

Glad that you like the action hoe so far. I am sure you will come to wonder how you got by without it!

Don't go too deep with it as the weeds will have bigger rootballs, though if you hoe on a hot sunny day even those will not reroot.

Ken
Central NJ
USDA Zone 6
:c)

 
 
 
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