Team Hand Weed, or Team Tool Weed?: Against my will, I was traded to the Tool Team!

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Team Hand Weed, or Team Tool Weed?

By Trish
August 7, 2011

There's no question - we gardeners must weed if we want gardens. The question is: Are you on Team Hand-weed or Team Tool-Weed?

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Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
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CindiKS
Aug 7, 2011 8:06 PM CST
For years, I was a diehard organic hand-weeding gardener. Then we moved, and now I had 10 acres of gardens to weed, and lots of new weeds I had never seen in my suburban lot. These new weeds had thorns! And snakes hiding in them! After flinging a few snakes, I stopped my habit of sitting down while weeding. Instead, I stood up and bent over to yank the weeks. Didn't take long until my back was hurting bad, and my knees, and my hands. In fact my hands hurt so bad I couldn't sleep at night. Found out I not only had a carpal tunnel problem, I had nerve damage in my hands and my back. Surgery followed, and many many visits to the physical therapist. Now, I use a scuffle hoe with razor sharp edges, and a dandelion digger and a 50 lb. bag of Treflan (Preen). Each bed gets completely weeded once a year, then treated with Treflan, and only needs a bit of touch up now and then. I carry the long handled weeder with me like a walking stick, and force myself to use it instead of reaching down to yank weeds. Now that I've been here 3 years, the weeds are very much under control, because every year i add more mulch and compost. The "good" plants have spread enough to shut out weeds or grasses. It is hard to resist the impluse to lean over and yank a bit of crabgrass, but I never want the pain I had before. What I tell my daughters is, learn from my mistakes. Wear sunscreen, a hat, gloves, use your tools and bend and lift properly. They may not ever garden 4-6 hours a day like I do, but those are habits that preserve your body if you do want to garden until you are older than dirt.
*Blush*
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H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ (Zone 9a)
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Aguane
Aug 7, 2011 8:44 PM CST
OK, I'll bunt a sacrifice. I'm 50% hand and 50% tool. I do get some sort of pleasure of spying the little pesty, bending over and gathering up all the tendrils, giving it a little twist and pulling out a complete, unbroken root.

50% of the time I carry a cheap, garden knife, stick it straight down next to the tap root, wiggle a little and yank.

I've never used Round-Up, hate that stuff. I have used straight distilled vinegar sprayed on the leaves of the younger weeds IN FULL SUNLIGHT.... they will die! My favorite weeding tool is a Hula Hoe but I don't really have an open space to use one at the moment.
“Don't give up too quickly"... unknown, I heard it somewhere.
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Name: Cindi
Wichita, Kansas (Zone 7a)
Charter ATP Member Plant and/or Seed Trader Permaculture Roses Ponds Peonies
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CindiKS
Aug 7, 2011 8:53 PM CST
Susie, I love my Japanese Hori Hori garden knife. Tough roots don't have a chance against it. It's so sharp, I don't have to push hard to dig or cut.
It's been so hot here that I don't think Round-up would work. I do know people who use that as their main method of weed control. Scary, I know!

Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Name: Sylvia Butler
TX (Zone 8a)
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citysylvia
Aug 8, 2011 12:42 AM CST
I am too old to be hand weeding, I cant get down and dirty. anymore. I sure like that tool shown with the square blade, I can stand and use it. Better still I like Dave's Blow torch method! What's it called and where do you get something like that?
Sylvia
Hosta's at Sissinghurst, INc
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Name: Trish
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
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Trish
Aug 8, 2011 7:42 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Sylvia- I can't recall where we got ours, or even what the brand name is. There is the "weed dragon" that is popular. It is Dave's favorite for fence rows! Although be aware that anything wanted in it's path will wilt and possibly die as well, even if you are being super careful. Rolling my eyes.

And during years like this with the drought- no flame throwers allowed! Too dry.
NGA COO, Wife, Mom, and caretaker of 90 acres and all that dwell there.
Name: Kathleen/KaperC
N San Diego County, CA (Zone 10b)
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KathleenC
Aug 8, 2011 11:28 AM CST
Super careful is definitely necessary with the weed dragon. When DH used it, I followed behind with the hose just in case. Decided we didn't like it - we live in a very high fire danger area - when the mulch got hit and started smoldering. Thumbs down

I enjoy weeding, but we have too much area to cover and I can't get up and down like I used to. Still, I find myself with a pile of weeds now and again when I just go out to look around. It's addictive, for sure. My favorite tool is the Cobra weeder - it's easy on my arthritic hands/wrists and has many uses.

We used pre-emergents to get our weeds somewhat under control, but now use Round-Up on a regular basis, too. If we disturb the soil too much, it just encourages more weed growth. So, we are definitely Team Hand Weed, Team Tool Weed, Team Nasty Chemicals Weed.
Kathleen
[url]http://www.mcelrea.org[/url]
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