Year-Round Gardening: Must-Have Tools for Any Colorado Gardener | Way of life


The right tool for any garden task makes the job easier and more enjoyable. When building your arsenal of tools, buy the best quality available and they will serve you well for many years to come, if not a lifetime.

They are essential tools for most gardening needs.

Hand trowel: For use in containers, raised beds or directly in the yard. Look for one with a brightly colored handle. It’s easy to put it down and lose track of where you left it.

Shovel or spade: A shovel has a pointed, rounded blade for digging holes and moving or turning soil. A spade has a flat, straight-edged blade for digging straight holes, cutting roots, and edging. The longer the handle, the more leverage you will have for digging. Quality matters here – buy ones made of forged metal with a sharp blade edge.

Shears : Bypass-style pruners allow for quick, tear-free cuts so plants can heal quickly. They can be used to cut or trim small branches from perennials, shrubs and trees. Look for razor-sharp blades and a comfortable grip.

Lopping shears: Loppers are large pruning shears. If a rod is thicker than a larger pencil, cutting it with hand pruners could damage the lightweight tool. When using garden pruners, with their long handles, you have a lot more leverage to prune heavier branches. You also have a longer range. Anvil loppers are easier to use and exert higher force, but are less precise than bypass loppers.

Weeder (Hori-Hori knife): Weeders come in many styles, but the Hori-Hori all-purpose knife is easily the best tool for your gardening needs. The blade is sharp, serrated on one side and can be used for weeding, root cutting, transplanting, removing plants, cutting grass and splitting perennials. The built-in ruler is handy for measuring soil depth when planting bulbs.

Hoe: There are several types of hoe; Draw, Stirrup, Circle, Swoe and Scuffle to name a few. Start your collection with the basic Paddle or Draw hoe, which is a good general hoe for weeding with a pulling action.

Rake: A rake with metal tines is used to smooth the ground and remove debris or small rocks. Leaf rakes are lightweight and used to pick up leaves and grass clippings. Metal leaf rakes will last longer and perform better than plastic or wooden ones.

Wheelbarrow or garden cart: Both are handy for carrying bags of fertilizer or mulch, plants, tools, soil, sand, gravel or compost. A wheelbarrow is ideal for moving sand, dirt and gravel and for mixing concrete. A garden cart is easier to use and will carry most of the things that gardeners typically need.

Here are some essential garden accessories: gloves, padded knee pad, wide-brimmed hat, watering can, apron or utility belt, moisture meter, tool sharpener, and pump sprayer with long wand.

Email your gardening questions to [email protected] For more information, visit ColoradoMasterGardeners.EPC. To register for classes, go to


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