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Jackson Stewart
Jackson Stewart


Weeds should be hoed with a scuffle hoe when they are small-to medium-sized. A stirrup hoe in particular is a good tool to use when small-to medium-sized patches of weeds grow in low densities where workers mightspend long periods walking to each patch. This tool is particularly effectiveon dense flushes of seedlings, especially from the late fall throughmid-spring. Hoes are more efficient than hand weeding in this situation. Whenplants are left to grow larger, they are more difficult to control as the stemsand roots become tough to sever.


A limitation with scuffle hoes is the amount of labor neededto treat large areas. Although few studies have been conducted with scufflehoes, it is assumed here that their efficiency is somewhat similar to a grubhoe. In agricultural settings, a team of 10-25 people are needed to treat about2.5 infested acres with a grub hoe in a day. If weed cover is low, between 1-5% for example,and weeds are small- to medium-sized annuals, then a single person could managean acre in a day, assuming detectability of the weeds is high, because theywould only be treating a few thousand square feet of weeds in a day. Theability to treat large areas with hoes limits their usefulness in medium- tolarge-scale weed infestations.

A scuffle hoe is pushed and pulled, on or just below thesoil surface (often to inch deep) to sever weeds at the base of the stem orat the top of the roots. In a dense weed patch the stirrup hoe is workedcontinuously forward and backward. The motion entails pushing and pulling thearms, keeping a straight back, and slightly moving sideways to clear the entireweed patch. A stirrup hoe can also be used to cut individual weeds by using oneshort pull stroke after placing the hoe over the weed. If the weeds do noteasily resprout (such as in some annual thistles, mustards and spurges) andhave been treated before flowering, the aboveground parts of the plant can beleft in place to desiccate and die.

Some on-site training may be needed to use the tool efficiently,especially for those using the tool the first time. Some users misunderstandthat the tool is pushed and pulled and not intended to be lifted and swung intothe soil, like when using a grub or draw hoe. Despite this minimal amount oftraining needed, the tool is much more efficient at weeding compared to handpulling and can be more efficient at removing small plants than a grub hoe,while a grub hoe is more efficient at large or more woody weeds.

With a little practice, a scuffle hoe can be used as aprecision weeding tool. If the blade of the stirrup hoe is turned to a 30-45degree angle the narrow bend of the hoe can be used to precisely pick smallindividual weeds out around non-target species. This may be useful insituations when annual weeds such as mustards (Brassica spp.) aregrowing around native wildflowers or other non-target plants. Triangle hoes arealso easily used as precision tools because of their sharply angled edges.

This toolcan be used effectively on many weed species with little personnel training inmany situations, with little risk to adjacent workers. It can be a reliabletool for organizers of volunteer weed removal events. There are few, ifany, public perception issues with using this tool; in fact, weeding is oftenassociated with hoeing.

A scuffle hoeis not effective on weeds that have underground storage structures, such asnutlets, bulbs or tubers. The top of these plants will be removed, but theplant will grow back. In addition, a stirrup hoe should be used with cautionwhen weeds form stolons or rhizomes or both, such as bermuda grass (Cynodondactylon). The stirrup hoe will cut the top of the plant and some of theshallow roots may die, but fragments of these plants may re-root and grow again,potentially creating many small plants where a few large individuals wereinitially growing. This tool is also ineffective at killing vines, such asfield bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) or Cape ivy (Delaireaodorata), which may resprout or re-root from plant fragments. A stirrup hoe isnot intended to cut through woody weeds, except for small woody seedlings.

A scuffle hoe does not work on rocky, cobbly or gravelysoils and works poorly on steep slopes. The stirrup hoe can be used up to theedge of boulders to sever weeds, especially because it is not swung (incontrast to a grub hoe). The scuffle hoe is also not effective in thick muddysoils, such as silty clays or clays. The tool cannot be pushed and pulledthrough a thick soil without significant force. It may not be an effective toolin most wet locations because many wetland or riparian weeds can resprout oncecut, and a different technique may be required.

If you really want to eliminate weeds, there are garden hoes that do the job much better than the classic draw hoe. As a matter of fact, there are different hoes for nearly any garden task involving soil. Let me show you which ones I like for breaking up soil, weeding and planting.

Most standard draw hoes have a 60- to 70-degree angle and a large head ideal for heavy-duty cultivation. If your draw hoe has a gooseneck (a curved connection to the handle, like the one above), you may be able to modify it to be a better weeding tool: Reduce that angle by carefully bending it in a vise so it can slice into the soil easier to uproot weeds.

March 2013 update: My apologies for the inconvenience - I know word verification is a pain - but I've had to turn it on to help stop the ridiculous number of anonymous spam comments I've been getting every day. Thanks for your understanding.Welcome to! Thanks so much for taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love to hear about what's going on in your own garden. I know, too, that other readers also delight in reading about your garden successes, failures, helpful tips, and lessons learned. Feel free to leave comments on older posts!I try my best to answer all questions, but sometimes it takes me a few days to get to them. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your visits to my kitchen garden!

Pull the stirrup-shaped blade along the soil surface to cut the stem or roots of weeds. The scuffle hoe works through a forward-pushing or backward-pulling action. Most of the time, it is continuously moved in both directions. Scuffle hoes have a 20-30-degree angle between the head and the handle that facilitates the push and pull movements.

Scuffle hoes are good at cutting off small weeds in soft soil. You should use it frequently in the early stages of development. The hoe is best used for loosening up the soil, breaking up the crusty ground, and weeding in small areas and tight spaces.

They are best used in late fall and mid-spring. Scuffle hoes are well suited for gardens with drip irrigation systems as they help remove weeds efficiently without reaching the irrigation pipes.

You might need to use a scuffle hoe several times to weed your garden. Some weeds occasionally resprout from their roots, especially after a rainy period. The scuffle hoe might need to cut the weeds deeper beneath the surface, allowing them to germinate again under favorable conditions.In addition, you should be careful when using a scuffle hoe as it may disturb the soil too much, facilitating the growth of some weeds. Scuffle hoes should be used primarily for small and medium-sized perennial weeds that are less likely to resprout. When the weeds begin flowering, the scuffle how is ineffective in removing the weeds entirely.

Scuffle hoes require regular sharpening to maintain optimal performance. The need for sharpening depends on the quality and shape of the metal used in the blade. You can carry a hand file if the edge becomes dull when working on the field. Always clean your scuffle hoe after using it.

There are different types of garden hoes available, so you will have to choose the right tool for you. The types of garden hoes include paddle or draw hoe, field hoe, warren hoe, scuffle hoe, collinear hoe, Dutch hoe, action hoe, and a serpentine garden hoe. The best type of hoe for weeding depends on the type of weeds in your garden, their distribution, maturity, and the presence of other beneficial plants.

A warren hoe is effective for digging out weeds with spreading root systems.On the other hand, draw hoes are used to cut up the big weeds in your garden.The action hoe is helpful for aggressive weeding without causing damage to your crops.

Hoes are practical tools for dealing with weeds. They are multipurpose, easy to use, and cheap to acquire. Scuffle hoes remove small weeds without disturbing the soil too much. When choosing the best hoe for weeding, consider the size of the handle and blade angle, the type of weeds in your garden, and the potential to damage vegetable crops.

Ready to start talking heads and blades? For most gardeners, a sharp, ultralight scuffle hoe is a top tool for controlling young weeds up to 4 inches tall. Scuffle hoes cut when you push and again when you pull on the handle, which makes them more efficient than hoes that cut in just one direction. Many scuffle hoes can be operated from a near-standing position, usually by swinging the blade through weeds instead of chopping them, which can be hard on your back. Scuffle hoes come in two designs:

Keep in mind that diamond and triangle hoes are dangerously sharp, so they must be handled carefully and stored out of the reach of young children. Their efficiency depends on the sharpness of their blades, so you should start every serious weeding session by honing out any bumps or dull spots in blades with a hand file or whetstone. When you use one of these hoes, make small, controlled movements to avoid slicing down seedlings instead of weeds. 041b061a72

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