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Hand Weeder. Tips from Professionals

Weeding may rank at the top in terms of least favorite gardening chores because it isn’t an exciting or enjoyable pastime for many of us. It is, however, one of the most crucial steps to ensure a well-maintained garden.

Hand Weeder:

A hand weeder is a pruning tool used to pull or cut weeds. It is budget-friendly and one of the best gardening tools for removing these unwanted plants. Hand weeders work by cutting or uprooting weeds. You can find them in many variations, but they’re all simple to use. With the proper technique and some effort, you can even remove weeds from large spaces of your garden.

(CC BY 2.0) by ARTS

This post will cover everything related to hand weeders and look at some of the best ones in the market. After reading this article, you will learn how to use a hand weeder correctly and whether you should pull out weed manually or with tools.

What Is A Hand Weeder?

A hand weeder is a small manual tool to remove weeds by hand. It has similar dimensions to a common garden trowel, with a handle of almost the same size and shape. However, the handle is joined to a long, thin metal pole with two forking tines approximately 1 inch longer than the trowel’s head.

There are various types, including pullers and cutters, and types with long and short handles. Pullers pull the weed, including the roots, and cutters cut the weed deeper into the soil. Removing weeds is important for your garden as weeds are unwanted plants that take up the soil’s nutrients, leaving very little for the other plants in your garden.

What Is A Hand Weeder Used For?

A hand weeder is a pruning tool used to pull or cut weeds. Garden weeds are harmful because they take up the soil’s nutrients, leaving little to no nutrients for the surrounding plants. The weeds can be removed successfully and effectively with a hand weeder.

Even if you don’t mind weeds consuming nutrients in your garden, they can make it look unattractive. If all a weed does is make your garden look bad, what’s the reason to have it there? A hand weeder could be a useful tool in this regard, as many garden owners are concerned with the look and feel of their gardens.

Besides their aesthetic value, hand weeders are essential for eliminating poisonous weeds that could endanger people or animals. It’s best to get rid of weeds as soon as possible since some might irritate people, trigger allergies, or worse.

What Is The Best Hand Weeder?

A generic puller hand weeder will be fine if you need to remove small weeds, and a cutting weeder will be a better choice if the weeds are thicker and more challenging to pull. If you have to cover large areas, using a hand weeder with a long handle will be less exhausting and more back-friendly.

Because there is no best-hand weeder for all, you must look at your own situation. Once you understand the various hand weeders, it is easier to choose what hand weeder best suits your needs:


Weeding tools may also differ in terms of their blade type.

– Pullers

Forked blades called pullers are buried deep in the ground. When the hand weeder’s razor-sharp blade is pulled out from beneath the weed, the plant and its taproots are removed and don’t grow back.

– Cutter

Hand weeders with cutter blades superficially cut the weeds rather than pulling them out of the ground. They could be termed less efficient than pullers because they leave the taproot behind, allowing certain weeds to regrow.

Handle Size:

The tool’s handle size plays a significant role in determining its utility. There are both short-handled and long-handled weeding tools available.

– Short Handles

Tools with short handles work well for tackling tough weeds or small gardening spaces. It gives you better control in a small area and the ability to remove weeds with more force, but they may not be suited where weeds are short and wider apart.

– Long Handles

Long-handled tools are better for covering bigger surfaces or spaces where weeds are spaced apart. Using weeders with long handles is less stressful on your back. Long-handle weeders are also known as standing weeders.

What Is The Best Tool To Pull Weeds?

The best tool for your situation will depend significantly on various factors:

  • Weed Location: Are the weeds between other plants, near a fence, or between tiles?
  • Type of Weeds: There are many different weeds with different shapes and roots, such as long taproots, huge rootballs, runners or tubers, leafy versus soft, and yearly versus perennial.
  • Physical Strength: Your physical strength and flexibility, potential to kneel and reach, time, and endurance for a physically intensive task greatly determine the best tool for weeding. If you have less physical strength, use a powered weed tool. Or ask a professional to help you.
  • Surrounding Conditions: The conditions in your lawn, such as the type of soil and relative humidity, where the weeds are, e.g., between patio pavers, garden bed, ascending a tree.
  • Environmental Hazards: Some weeding solutions, such as chemicals or pesticides, may prove toxic to your vegetation. In that case, manual weeding tools are a better option.

Let’s look at some popular situations:

● Removing weeds in your garden bed

If you have only a few weed spots in your garden, you could remove them by pulling them out. Always ensure you pull them out, including the roots. If the roots stay in the ground, they are likely to return.

Use a hand weeder if the weed is bigger or difficult to remove. A puller weeder has the advantage that they help remove the roots as well. If this is still challenging, using a weed cutter will help. Try to cut the roots as deep as possible.

If you have to cover a larger area, you can use a weeder with a long handle, so you can work standing. This will be less exhausting and better for your back.

Using a gas or electric weed wacker makes the work less strengthening and can be a good solution for thick and tough weeds. The only problem is that, in most cases, only the part of the weed that sticks out or is close to the soil will be removed. As the roots are still there, the weed may come back. You have to repeat removing the weed multiple times to drain the weed’s energy, so it will not return.

In some situations, using a tarp is a great way to remove weeds. With a big piece of black plastic, you cover the weeds and make a hole for other plants. This way, the weeds will die after a couple of weeks.

I recommend being very careful using chemicals in your garden bed. You only want to remove the weed and not harm the other plants. Depending on the type of plants you have in your garden and how far they are apart, it is possible to use chemicals. But always check with your local store what the options are.

● Removing weeds between tiles or pavers

Weeds between tiles or pavers can be difficult to remove completely. Only the top of the weed can be seen, and the roots are difficult to reach. If possible, I recommend pulling them by hand and removing them with the roots attached.

If this is impossible or does not work, you can cut them with a garden knife. The problem with this solution is that the roots will stay, and there is a chance that the weed will return.

If you have to cover a large area, I advise using a weed torch. The torch will burn the weeds away, and you can find those with both short and long handles. A torch is also helpful for weeds that are hiding in cracks in driveways or footpaths.

Another option is to use chemicals to remove the weed. The location between tiles makes using chemicals easier as there are generally no other plants near. There are several types of chemicals available. Check with your supplier about what the best option is in your situation.

Other options I see people using are killing weeds with hot water, baking soda, vinegar, salt, or using a pressure washer.

● Removing weeds near a fence or wall

Removing weeds near a fence or a wall can be easy in some situations and tricky for others. What to use significantly depends on what is bordering the fence or wall. If you have other plants near, you must be very careful with chemicals.

If there are just a few spots with weed, pulling them by hand or using a weeder can be a good choice. A weed torch is also a good option if you have more weeds to remove or cover a large area.

Using a brush cutter can also be an easy way of removing larger weeds, but be careful not to damage the wall or fence.

What Tool Removes Weeds?

Compared to hand plucking, using weeding tools significantly reduces back strain and saves time. Using tools is also quite helpful when dealing with a massive weed outbreak or covering a wide area. Some lawn and garden equipment that works well for pulling up weeds are:

  • Dandelion diggers dig up weeds and their roots without causing too much damage to the soil or the nearby plants. They have tines or a blade with a V shape that either reaches under the roots or grabs the whole root from the tip.
  • Cultivator: Cultivator’s teeth are designed to catch and pull out whole broad-leaf weeds, including the roots, as they pass over them. You won’t need to kneel down and remove weeds from your garden as much with it.
  • Dutch Hoe: A Dutch hoe has a long wooden handle and a blade often pointed on both sides to pluck and push weeds. This hoe works best on tiny weeds because it only digs down about an inch, stripping any root development and exposing the soil’s surface.

How Do You Manually Remove Weeds?

Hand weeding can be an efficient way to eliminate unwanted plants if done correctly. As you are probably aware, this method involves grasping the weed at its base and pulling forcefully until the plant and roots are removed from the earth.

It involves targeting and plucking particular plants, which no other weeding technique can do since hands and eyes are so close to and fixed on the ground. You can avoid soil contamination by manually pulling the weeds.

Manually removing weeds is cost-effective, but if you have to cover larger areas can be exhausting.

How Do You Use A Manual Hand Weeder?

Follow these steps on how to use a manual hand weeder:

– Step 1: Soften the Soil

If it hasn’t rained lately, soak the soil in water the day before you start weeding to soothe it. Weeding will go more smoothly on damp soil because the weeds will come out of the ground without separating from their roots buried beneath the earth.

– Step 2: Wear Gardening Gloves

Put on some gardening gloves to shield your hands and improve your hold on the hand-weeding tool. They’ll also ensure that your fingers and nails are not drying out.

– Step 3: Use A Knee Pad or a gardening stool

If you weed on your knees, use a tiny gardening stool near the surface, a kneeling pad, or padded garden knee patches to reduce the strain on your knees. Avoid weeding large areas when standing up, so your back will not be strained.

To lessen tension and put yourself in the ideal posture, use the short-hand weeder, go on your knees or sit on the gardening stool.

– Step 4: Stick the Hand Weeder into the Soil

To detach the soil surrounding the weed’s root, insert the forked prong of the hand weeder into the area close to it.

– Step 5: Draw the Handle Down

To pull the plant’s root up, drag the hand weeder handle downward like a lever toward the dirt while holding the top of the weed in place with your other hand. Using the free hand, pull the weed up and away from the ground as you maintain pressure on the handle.

– Step 6: If Necessary, Go Deeper.

Tiny weeds may come out quickly when using a hand weeder, but larger or tougher weeds require you to dig further. Use the hand weeder around the weed to weaken its grip in the soil if it has deeper roots or deep taproots and is challenging to take up on the first try. With the prongs of the fork, dig down far.

– Step 7: Remove Any Remaining Root Pieces

If you detect other pieces of root still inside the hole, search for them and remove them with the weeder. The weed may reappear if any of its roots are left behind.

– Step 8: Get rid of the Weeds You Pulled.

Collect the pulled weeds and through them in a container, and bring them as far from the garden as possible. I recommend getting the container first close to where you work so the weed can not fall onto other parts of the garden during transport.

Is Pulling Weeds A Waste Of Time?

Pulling weeds is certainly not a waste of time. It will help keep your garden’s appearance looking great while ensuring that these weeds do not eat up precious nutrients for your plants.

Maintaining a weed-free yard deters pests from your plants. However, if you do not adequately remove the root system from your soil, weeds will continue to come again. The seeds may spread to other parts of your property, forcing you to uproot more weeds.

All these factors may make the whole process seem pointless for some people when you’re continually playing whack-a-mole with the weeds on your property. However, as I said earlier, if you want to maximize the nourishment of other plants in your garden while simultaneously making it look aesthetic, then perhaps spending some time pulling the weeds out is not a waste.

Is There An Easy Way To Pull Weeds?

Using a tarp is probably the easiest way to remove a lot of weed patches since it requires little effort. If there are only a few places with weeds, the easiest way is to remove them by hand or to use a hand weeder.

If you want a tarp to remove weeds, measure the needed area and purchase a heavy-duty black plastic big enough. Cover the area with plastic, and leave it in place for a couple of weeks. You will see that your unwanted weeds automatically wilt, dry out, and die. Ensure you do not cover anything that should stay.

The simplicity of weed tarps is what I value most. Without putting undue effort on your neck, knees, or back, you can strategically position a weed tarp to cover undesired weeds and leave space and sunshine for any desirable plants to flourish.

There are many methods for getting rid of weeds in your garden. There’s still hope, even if you’re struggling with a large, challenging weed area!