A Gardener’s Gift Guide: High-Quality Tools for Stress-Free Gardening
Have you ever used an inexpensive trowel that bends as you are digging? Take it from me: Forget the cheap stuff and ask for some quality garden tools this holiday season. If you go with the right option, you can wind up with tools that will last 50 years before being handed down to your children.
In spring or fall, we attack weeds armed with a hoe or another favorite implement. The choice of gardening tools is extensive, so find the right fit for the tasks at hand. Let’s look at some of must-have tools that have made job easier for this aging gardener:
A fixed-length pruning stick makes it a breeze to trim branches. Look for one that’s at least 62 inches long, weighs less than 2 pounds and has a 1½-inch cutting span. Lightweight and easy to use, these are also sometimes called ropeless pruners.
You can also get a small handheld pruner for cutting up to 1½ inches in diameter. I recommend the PowerGear Anvil Super Pruner, which won the Ease-of-Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation. This tool is so light that you will look for chances to use it! (Alas, you will still need that large, heavy lopper for bigger jobs.)
Give your hands a rest with a cordless grass shear. This rechargeable shear is great for any job that you use a small pruner or shear for, such as trimming grass, deadheading flowers and cutting fescue grasses. Most of these tools come with a small shrub blade, which works great for shaping shrubs. A word of caution, though: It’s sharp, so be sure to wear gloves when using this tool. This gardener has sliced a finger a couple of times when she was careless and without gloves. In fact, a good pair of garden gloves is another necessity for anyone with a green thumb.
A few more on my list of great garden tools include a folding saw; a short, 2-foot shovel; a garden knife and a garden fork, which does less damage to plant roots than some other tools.
But it’s not just expensive tools from the home improvement store that can be useful in the garden. A laundry basket can tote weeds, 6-inch window blinds work as plant markers and dental floss will tie up vines. I also use pieces of nylon stocking to anchor trees.
While the tools listed above will help you put less stress on your body, don’t forget to protect yourself from Mother Nature. Wear sunblock, a hat, long pants and long sleeves to prevent sunburn – even in cool weather, you can get scorched on a sunny day. Keep away the bugs with commercial spray, or rub your skin with a dryer sheet.
Try these helpful hints, and ask Santa for some of the tools that are a bit pricier – but worth every penny – and you’ll have more time to smell the roses and fewer aches at bedtime.