garden hoe

A hoe is a hand tool used in gardening and farming for tilling, weeding, or loosening the earth around plants. A hoe has a thin flat metal blade attached to a (usually wooden) handle. Hoes come with many different types of blade, depending on the purpose. Some can perform multiple functions. Others are intended for a specific use such as working between closely spaced planets or cutting the tops of annual weeds.


Hoes are generally designed either for weeding (to slice weeds at or just below ground level) or for chopping (to cut up weeds and cultivate or disturb the soil surface). Blades on chopping hoes, such as a rectangular onion hoe, are set at a sharp angle to the ground and are designed to move more soil than weeding hoes. Weeding hoes, include the scuffle or the stirrup hoe, the long-handled diamond hoe, the circle hoe, and the collinear hoe.


Among the uses of hoes are:


  • Loosening the soil around plants, to remove weeds and aerate the soil
  • Creating narrow furrows (drills) and shallow trenches for planting seeds and bulbs
  • Digging and moving soil (for example, for harvesting potatoes)
  • Chopping weeds, roots and crop residues

    Among the types of hoe are:


    Garden hoe


    A hoe with a long handle that has a flat blade set at a right angle on the end. Garden hoes come in widths ranging from 2½ inches to 8 inches wide. They are used to weed and groom the soil around shallow rooted plants. They can also be used to chop off annual weeds (perennial weeds need to be dug out completely) and plants at ground level.


    Nursery hoe


    A heavy-duty version of the garden hoe. Nursery hoes are made of forged steel, yet are still fairly lightweight. They are more expensive than garden hoes, but sturdier and especially good for working under low growth or close to plants.


    Stirrup or action hoe


    A double-action weeder that works on both push and pull strokes. The stirrup hoe loosens up the soil at the same time, which makes it excellent for cultivation.


    Dutch scuffle hoe


    An unusual design that is used to loosen soil and weeds and also works well as an edger or a pry bar. It is more popular in Britain and Holland than in the U.S.


    Two-sided hoe


    A hoe that has a two-sided tool head. One side of the head is a narrow hoe, the other side is a two- or three-tined weeder.


    Collinear hoe


    A hoe with a narrow, razor-sharp blade which is used to slice weeds by skimming it just above the surface of the soil with a sweeping motion. The collinear hoe is not suitable for tasks like soil moving and chopping.


    Long-handled diamond hoe


    Like the collinear hoe, a hoe used for weeding by skimming it back and forth along the ground or slightly beneath the surface instead of repeatedly lifting the hoe and moving a lot of soil. Diamond hoes tend to cause less neck strain in the user because you face forward as you work instead of sideways, compared to using the collinear and stirrup hoes. The long-handled diamond hoe moves less soil than the scuffle hoe and requires less effort.


    Warren hoe


    A hoe with a triangular head used to cultivate between plants and to create furrows for planting rows. The "ears" on the back of the head are designed to pull the soil back onto newly planted seeds.


    Korean hoe


    A hoe with inward curving blades and a roughly triangular head. It slices through soil with little effort and comes with long or short handles.


    Cavex hoe


    An old design with a perfectly curved blade and sharp edge that is ideal for cutting weeds and roots. It is a harder to find on the market but well worth having.


    Onion hoe


    As its name implies, a hoe used for tending onions. It is sharpened on the sides as well as the bottom, which makes it effective at loosening soil and slicing through weeds. Its wide blade makes it also suitable for grading.


    Grub hoe


    A rugged, heavy-duty hoe that can be used to cut through tree roots or heavy clay soil, or for digging trenches.


    Raised-bed hoe


    A large hoe with an extra wide blade that makes it well suited to forming and shaping raised beds.


    Circle hoe


    A uniquely shaped hoe that lets you safely work between closely-spaced plants.


    Japanese trenching hoe


    A small hoe use for trenching and digging. It has a sharp steel blade which helps make garden and yard work simple and efficient.


    Rotary hoe (tiller)


    A tillage tool used to break up soil and control weeds before planting. Small rotary hoes, which may be motorized, are suitable for garden used, for example, in preparing a vegetable patch. Larger ones may be attached to a tractor and used in crop cultivation.