Weeding is never a fun task, but a hand weeder can make the job a little easier. Weeds will quickly take over a garden or yard if they're not removed. Chemicals work for many weeding tasks, but it's much safer for the environment, children and animals to remove weeds by hand. A hand weeder is a very basic, short gardening tool with a forked metal end and a short grip that helps remove the weeds from the ground. It's simple to use, but there are tricks to make the task of weeding with a hand weeder easier.
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How to Use a Hand Weeder
Step 1: Moisten the Soil
Soak the soil with water to soften it the night before you begin weeding if it hasn't rained recently. Softer soil will make the weeding job easier, and the weeds will pull out of the soil without breaking the top of the weed from the root below the soil.
Step 2: Put on Gardening Gloves
Put on gardening gloves to protect your hands and get a better grip on the hand weeding tool. They'll also protect your fingernails and hands from drying out or getting stained.
Step 3: Use a Kneeling Pad
Use a kneeling pad or cushioned garden knee pads to make the weeding easier on your knees if you kneel to weed, or use a small garden stool that is close to the ground. Don't try to weed large patches from a standing position. It will strain your back. Use your knees or sit down on the garden stool to reduce strain and give you the best position to use the short hand weeder.
Step 4: Poke the Hand Weeder In
Poke the forked prong of the hand weeder into the soil near the root of the weed to loosen the soil around the root of the weed. Go far enough down to get around as much of the root as possible.
Step 5: Push Down the Handle
Use your other hand to hold the top of the weed and push the hand weeder handle down like a lever toward the soil to pull the root of the weed up. Pull the weed up and out of the ground with the other hand while still pressing down on the handle.
Step 6: Dig Deeper When Needed
Dig deeper for larger or more stubborn weeds. Very shallow weeds may pop out easily using the hand weeder. For weeds with thicker roots that don't pull up easily with the hand weeder on a first try, work the weeder all the way around the circumference of the weed to loosen its hold in the soil. Dig down deep with the forked prongs.
Step 7: Remove Leftover Root Pieces
Check in the hole for any more pieces of leftover root, and dig them out with the weeder if you find any. Leaving behind part of the roots can allow the weed to grow again.
Step 8: Dispose of the Pulled Weeds
Put all the pulled weeds in a bucket to dispose of them away from the garden. It's also easier to move from area to area while you're weeding if you have a bucket to throw the pulled weeds in.
Laurie Darroch-Meekis is an award-winning freelance writer. She has written over 1,000 published pieces online and off since 2005 and has many more in progress. She holds a bachelor's degree and was educated in the United States and abroad.