6 specialty gardening tools to try this spring

Berry comb

This is what commercial blueberry growers use for the harvest. The rake-shaped teeth detach berries from their branches as you run them through shrubs, depositing the fruit inside the tool. This considerably reduces the labor of harvesting a large plot of blueberries. Berry combs are also suitable for picking wild blueberries, and some versions are effective for picking blackberries and other berries. Plastic models are available for under $ 10, but expect to pay over $ 50 for a vintage, metal or wood model.

Telescopic fruit picker

“Ceiller à picker,” an alternate name for this old-fashioned orchard tool, is probably the linguistic root behind phrases like “don’t pick your facts.” The claw-like teeth of the machine tear the fruit from the tree and place it in a small cage below. This gear is mounted at the end of a long pole, usually with telescoping capabilities, so you can adjust it to the height of the fruit in question. Most fruit picking tools are designed to pick anything from cherry-sized fruit to large apples and mangoes. Good quality telescopic fruit pickers are made from lightweight aluminum (so your arms don’t get tired as much) and cost between $ 50 and $ 100.

Pole pruners

Not only is it difficult to pick fruit from the top of the trees, but pruning the canopy is a difficult chore as well. It is important, however. Annual pruning helps maintain the health and productivity of a tree, not to mention controlling its size, which makes it easier to pick. Some pole pruners are little more than ordinary pruners mounted on the end of a lightweight aluminum pole; tightening the handle at one end moves a long lever inside the post that closes the blades at the opposite end. Other versions use a rope and pulley system to engage the pruning blades, or have a saw at the top to remove large branches. Telescopic models are also available. Pole pruners range from under $ 50 to over $ 150.

Hula hoe

A regular hoe is used with a knocking action to dislodge weeds and loosen the soil. It’s a somewhat crude tool that is of little use in removing the tiny weed seedlings that inevitably sprout in the weeks and months after planting a new crop. This is where the hula hoe, also known as a stirrup hoe (due to the shape of its metal blade) comes in. The blade is oriented parallel to the ground and is intended to be pulled and pushed about a half inch below the surface. soil to cut small weeds at the root, and is designed to do so in and around delicate crops without damaging them. Wondering the name? It is inspired by the back and forth dance movements that inevitably occur when using this tool. A good hula hole can be purchased for under $ 30.

Hori Hori

Some gardeners dig with trowels, but those who know how to use digging knives, usually referred to by their Japanese names Hori Hori, because it was apparently the Japanese gardeners who came up with the design first. The reason some gardeners scoff at using a regular trowel is actually quite convenient: The thin metal piece that connects a trowel handle to its digging end bends and breaks easily under pressure. A hori hori, on the other hand, is made up of a single steel rod (an extra thick one) that serves as both a handle and a digging tool (thin pieces of wood wrap around the end of the handle so they don’t not hurt you). Trowels are really only suitable for digging in loose soil, but a digging knife can pull out stubborn weeds, roots, and rocks. Despite their name and dagger-shaped shape, digging knives are not sharp, although one edge of the blade is serrated so you can cut grass or divide a bunch of bulbs. They sell for between $ 20 and $ 30.

Flame weeder

Why break your back pulling weeds when you can just burn them? Flame weeders consist of a metal rod attached to a propane tank by a short length of tubing. When lit, the wand becomes a torch and directs the flames safely away from your body and toward the weeds. The torch will damage any plant within a few feet radius, so this tool is only handy for weeding areas where nothing you want to stay alive is growing. They are an eco-friendly alternative for removing weeds from beds that have not yet been planted or those growing in cracks in your driveway (use common sense precautions, such as not using a flame weed killer). side of a dry field during fire season). Propane tanks are heavy, although some farm and garden supply companies sell special carts and backpacks to make them easier to carry with your flame weeder. The basic tool (not including the propane tank and accessories) costs around $ 100.

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