Duluth experts weigh in on how to stock your spring garden toolkit
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."
Function: Digging, scooping or cleaning up flat surfaces.
Function: Clearing, weeding and chopping growth and cultivating the garden.
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.
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
Function: Small tool for smoothing, digging small amounts of material.
Handheld pruning cutter
Function: Pruning smaller branches or dead-heading.
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.
Function: Eye protection is a good idea if you're pruning or swinging a hoe, said Davidson.
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.
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
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.
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