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Duluth experts weigh in on how to stock your spring garden toolkit

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It's a wintry wonderland out there, but spring's bound to hit anytime now, right?

Whenever the snow melts (again), for some of us, there's a yard to tend. Northland experts shared some spring tool essentials.

First, make sure it's a sturdy tool, said Ron Davidson, owner of Amity Creek Landscaping. And as far as prices, "More isn't necessarily better."

Davidson suggested adding to your toolkit one item at a time, and you'll want to keep them in a garage to avoid rust or lost or stolen items.


Function: Works on dry or wet surfaces, clearing fine debris from patios and driveways. A.J. Marshall, sales clerk at Marshall Hardware, recommended corn husk brooms as "real durable."

Prices: $5.99-$19.99

Flat shovel

Function: Digging, scooping or cleaning up flat surfaces.

Prices: $10-$30

Garden hoe

Function: Clearing, weeding and chopping growth and cultivating the garden.

Prices: $9.99-$29.99

Garden hose

Function: Watering plants and lawn. They run different lengths, 15-100 feet, and different widths, Marshall said. Some that are shrink-free; others with surgical tubing that shrink to half the size.

Prices: $7.99-$69.99


Function: They prevent cuts and possible contact with soil-borne infections. They come in everything from rubber-coated to heavy leather, in lengths that run up to the wrist and elbow.

Prices: 99 cents to $29.99

Hand trowel

Function: Small tool for smoothing, digging small amounts of material.

Prices: $5.99-$19.90

Handheld pruning cutter

Function: Pruning smaller branches or dead-heading.

Prices: $9.99-$19.99


Function: Rock rakes for moving dirt; leaf rakes to clean debris; garden rakes are more for spreading soil and mulches. Varieties come in plastic, bamboo, steels, aluminum, Marshall said.

Prices: $7.99-$32.99

Safety glasses

Function: Eye protection is a good idea if you're pruning or swinging a hoe, said Davidson.

Prices: $3.99-$10.99

Scissor shear

Function: Trimming usually evergreen or deciduous shrubs. Pruning shears or loppers are used to cut 1-2 inch or less in diameter branches, added Davidson.

Prices: $5.99-$19.99


Function: Like a shovel, spades have a flat, broad-bottomed edge used to break up lumps in the soil or to loosen ground.

Prices: Run $7.99-$50

Watering can

Function: It's all in the name, and they come in plastic all the way up to copper that "lasts forever," Marshall said.

Prices: 99 cents to $39.99


Function: A hand-propelled vehicle used for transporting small loads in the yard. They come in different sizes, single-wheeled or double-wheeled.

Prices: $40-$150

As for maintenance, clean off debris with a wire brush. Sharpen tools and shovel blades with whetstone. Use motor oil as a cheap and effective way to ward off rust — it coats the metal to prevent oxidation.

Wait till the snow melts and dries out a little bit before tackling your lawn to-do list. Do the work that's conducive to the conditions, Davidson said, and Northlanders are ready to get started.

"Everybody this time of year is chomping at the bit. We've gone through a long winter, and we're excited to enjoy our spring and summer, if it ever gets here."

*Prices reflect those at Marshall Hardware and may vary at other locations

Melinda Lavine

Lavine is a features and health reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. 

(218) 723-5346