Garden Tools We Recommend

Some garden tools are real keepers — they fit great in your hand and perform the task you want them to perform perfectly. This year at the Minnesota State Fair, our MSHS booth includes three garden tools for sale that we recommend.

Handy weederBetty Ann Addison, author, lecturer, photographer and owner of the Gardens of Rice Creek, recommended we sell what she calls the Magic Hoe — technically it’s a Handy Weeder by A.M. Leonard. This hand-held tool has an extra sharp, 5-inch blade that cuts and pulls weeds out of the ground (rather than twisting them). It makes weeding more efficient and thorough. (And, remember the mantra: every weed you pull in the fall is 10 you don’t have to pull in the spring.)

Here’s how Betty Ann suggests you use the tool:

  • Using the point of the hoe, slice under big weeds, tug with other hand and put in a bucket
  • Using the blade, scuffle ½ inch below soil to loosen tiny weeds – they’ll dry up and die, no need to pick them
  • Final touch: Quickly brush the area with your hand to reveal hidden, rooted weeds and remove them. Lift leaves of the garden plants to find hidden weeds
  • Treated this way, gardens stay clean for weeks!

Another Weeder and a Saw

The other two recommendations are two of my favorite tools: the Cobrahead handheld weeder and the Felco 600 saw. I started using the Cobrahead weeder and cultivator years ago to deal with persistent weeds in my Northfield garden. The Cobrahead has a single metal tine that is hooked. One swift cut under the offending plant and the hook lifts the roots and pops them up. I use the handheld model, but the Wisconsin-based company also has a long-handled model as well as other tools for cultivating and harvesting. I’ve had mine for at least 10 years and it still works like a champ.

Cobrahead weeder in action

The Cobrahead gets under the tap roots of dandelions and pops them up.

The other tool I recommended is a pruning saw. We’re selling the Felco 600 model, which is lightweight and fits neatly on your belt or in a pocket. The saw blade rests snug in the handle until you need to use it to trim off a stray branch. A pruning saw is the perfect in-between tool for branches that are too thick to cut with a lopper but not so big you need to get out a big saw. The small size is perfect for fitting between branches, too. Overall, a great tool in your arsenal.

Stop by our booth at the fair to sign up for a membership in the Hort society, buy gloves, tools, T-shirts and talk gardening with our volunteers. See you at the fair!






  1. Robert Walz on August 29, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Eliminated weeds and improving soil are major ways to improve your plants.

  2. Kathryn Carver on August 30, 2019 at 10:28 am

    I had the Magic Hoe. I loved it, it performed well. The weld where the handle attached to blade failed. I was disappointed to no end, but worse I can’t find another anywhere.

    • Mary Lahr Schier on August 30, 2019 at 8:36 pm

      Kathryn — The brand we are selling at the fair (Dirt wing of the Horticulture building) is also called the Handy Hoe by A.M. Leonard. You may be able to find it using that name, too. Good luck!

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