With this heat, planting season is mostly over. At least until fall.

Now the battle is on to keep weeds from taking over your garden beds. It’s hot, sweaty and sometimes back-breaking work.

After I discovered an action or scuffle hoe tucked away in the shed, it has become a go-to gadget for weeding. It makes the job much easier and faster. Then I watch as my chickens follow right behind me, sweeping up the exposed bugs.

That got us wondering. What other cool tools are out there that we’ve been missing?

Some area garden experts chimed in with their favorites:

Scott Evans

Educator for the Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties


The Hori Knife is a great tool to cut in the soil and use for weeding.

The Culti-Weeder from Garden Works, the Hori Garden Knife and a soil auger that attaches to a drill are amazing tools. The Culti-Weeder has a good hand grip, and the shape allows me to dig into the soil to pop out the weed/plant that I am after. It also has serrated edges that make a great tool to drag across the surface of the soil to snap off weeds. The soil auger/bulb digger is a lifesaver. If you have ever tried to plant more than a dozen bulbs, digging into the soil can be time-consuming. The auger makes easy work to get the soil up and out and the bulb into the ground. The Hori Knife is a great tool to cut into the soil, aid in weeding, and just impressive to use.


A soil auger makes planting bulbs go much faster.

Jim Locklear Director of conservation, Lauritzen Gardens


A sharpshooter spade works great for transplanting plants.

My favorite garden tool is a type of spade with a long, tapered blade with slightly curved edges and rounded tip. The blade on mine is 16 inches long and tapers from 6 inches wide to just over 4 inches wide. It goes by a number of names, but my preference is the sharpshooter (which refers to the way a soil scientist would carry the tool over one shoulder as they went out to dig soil samples, much like a rifleman of old would carry their sharpshooter). My favorite use in the garden is for transplanting. The length and shape of the blade allow for deeper penetration into the soil around a plant than a standard shovel, helping you dig up more of a plant’s root system. It is especially helpful for root pruning a small tree or shrub before transplanting.

Victoria Schoell-Schafer

Senior director of horticulture at Lauritzen Gardens


A stainless steal soil knife cuts through soil and roots with an extra-sharp, serrated edge. It’s great for dividing plants.

If I had to pick one tool, I would pick the A.M. Leonard Deluxe Stainless Steel Soil Knife for its versatility. It can do all that a trowel can and more. You can stick it in the ground and easily cut through soil and roots with the extra-sharp, serrated edge (trowels tend to dull so quickly). It’s also great for dividing plants, and the etched depth markings aid when planting bulbs, like daffodils and tulips. I also prefer the feel of the handle over a trowel and like the straight shape, which makes it easily attachable to a belt. This tool drew a vote of confidence from Justin Evertson of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum as well.

Karma Larsen

Nebraska Forest Service and Nebraska Statewide Arboretum


A good rain and a dandelion digger can eliminate a lot of weeds in a hurry.

I can’t live without dandelion diggers (plural because they get lost under plants and piles of weeds). A good rain and a dandelion digger can eliminate a lot of weeds in a hurry. I have no preferences for particular brands, but spraying the handle neon orange makes them harder to lose in the garden.

Bob Ewing

Mulhall’s greenhouse team leader and owner of a certified pollinator garden

Definitely a durable pair of pruners, a hand trowel and a spade is always handy. You might also want to add a sharpening tool to that to keep your pruners sharp — that’ll help you get a nice clean cut, which is always better for your plants. A kneeling pad isn’t something people always think of, but they really do come in handy if you’re working on your knees quite a bit. A good pair of gardening gloves is great, too, if you want to keep your hands protected — I really like the Mud gloves. If you have larger projects — maybe you’re laying a lot of mulch or renovating a large bed — a good wheelbarrow can be helpful, too.


A good pair of gardening gloves will keep your hands protected.

John Fech

Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties


A good bypass pruner is great for shrub, small tree and perennial deadheading.

Buy the good, heavy-duty hand-held bypass pruners. The ones with replaceable parts. The name brands, not “joe’s pruners.” I.E. Felco, Fiskars, Corona, etc. Great for shrub, small tree and perennial deadheading. A pruning saw that cuts on the pull, not the push/pull. Again, the name brands, Fanno, Felco, Fiskars, Corona. Use the “close quarters” model for shrub pruning and regular ones for small tree pruning. Sod spade, aka square nose shovel. Use it for garden digging of any kind as well as sod removal. Can’t garden without it. A four-pronged pitchfork. Excellent for loosening soil to start a perennial bed and work in compost.

JT Savoie

Senior landscape designer for Lanoha Nurseries


Durable equipment will make your job easier.

No. 1 is a watering wand. It is extremely important to water your plants though these “dog days” of summer. Using a watering wand, the shower head at the end of the wand allows you to deliver steady amounts of water at the base of the plant, while reducing the amount of runoff. Overspraying the foliage can shock plants with the summer heat, so having the rigid extension of the wand at the end of one’s hose can be ergonomically pleasing, as it will reduce the need to bend over. Bypass pruners are an absolute must in the garden arsenal. They make great cuts compared to anvil pruners that crush the stems. Felco and Corona are great brands. A folding saw used to cut back large grasses and perennials is also great for larger pruning projects and clearing wooded areas. A gas-powered sod cutter saves hours of work on any new landscape project. It cuts sod to perfect depths, allowing for a cleaner, easier approach to landscape demolition.

Jaryd Barnett

Earl May Garden Center manager

The Grampa’s weeder is flying off the shelves. It’s just a real easy functioning weeder, especially for older gardeners.

Big sale at Benson Plant Rescue

Could I possibly have written that people are done planting?

Not when they hear there will be 15,000 perennials for sale at Benson Plant Rescue this weekend.

A nursery in Iowa is donating the plants to the rescue, at 7224 Maple St. Buyers are asked to return the plastic pots the plants come in to the rescue.

Plants are $3 apiece or $25 for the first flat of 10. A second flat is $20 and three or more is $15.

“It’s a great deal,’’ said Dr. David Hibler, who operates the rescue with his wife, Judith Navon. “It’s a great opportunity for someone who has a place to plant. It’s still early in the season. They can plant and, assuming they keep them watered, they will be well established by the fall.’’

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