Home and Garden Summer 2019
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Must-have gardening tools
By Melissa Erickson
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To keep your garden in the best shape possible you’ll need the right tools that are durable, effective and convenient to use.

“The best gardeners have the best tools,” said Randy Schultz, content editor of Home Garden and Homestead.com. “It’s not that good tools automatically make you a better gardener, but high-quality tools make the gardening experience more enjoyable. Well-engineered tools mean less wear and tear on your body. You’re going to enjoy gardening a whole lot more with better tools.”

Whatever the tool, it should feel comfortable the moment you pick it up and put it to use, he said: “Not every tool is right for every gardener, so choose the tools that feel right to you.”

A high-quality pair of pruners and a great shovel are two must-have tools that gardeners will use most often.

“Plants grow, and they need to be pruned. Digging in the dirt is what gardeners do, so you need a good shovel. A good weeding tool is a must, because weeds grow in a garden and need to be removed so they don’t take over,” said Schultz, who is a fan of his CobraHead Weeder.

For pruning bigger branches, reach for a lopper, which is basically a pair of pruners with long handles.

“A rachet or gear lopper increases your cutting power, so it’s a valuable tool if you’re pruning a tree,” Schultz said.

Plants need to be watered, and a good watering wand or hose nozzle makes it easy to gently water garden plants, he said.

Getting your hands dirty in the garden is less messy with a good pair of gloves.

“A good pair of gloves is essential — and probably more than one pair. I have heavy-duty leather gloves for digging and lighterweight gloves with flexible fingers for weeding. A pair of knee pads or a foam kneeler pad can save your knees if you spend much time in the garden,” Schultz said.

Sometimes a simple tool is the most effective.

“Believe it or not, a 5-gallon bucket is a must-have tool for any gardener. It’s easy to transport and it’s the perfect way to collect and dispose of dead leaves, branches and other garden debris,” Schultz said.

When buying tools, remember that you get what you pay for. The cheapest tools will often be uncomfortable to use or won’t last long, Schultz said.

“You should never buy cheap tools if you think you’re going to use them all the time. That being said, I have never bought an expensive rake. I only use a rake a few times a year for raking up leaves, and I am happy with my trusty rake I have had for years,” he said.

Splurge on high-quality cutting and digging tools.

“Choose a pair of quality pruners that fit comfortably in your hand. The best pruners are meant to last, and the parts such as the cutting blades can be replaced if they ever break or wear out. High-quality shovels and digging spades will lastfor years when properly maintained,” Schultz said.

Buying tools that are the right size for your hands and body will be more comfortable to use,  cause less fatigue and possibly prevent an injury.

“Many women find that using a standard shovel or spade is exhausting, but a spade sized for a woman is ergonomically superior. With the right-sized tools, it’s possible to work longer and use less energy,” Schultz said.