Weeding with a garden hoe can be tiring work. The two-handed chopping motion and effort to pull soil and weeds towards you can quickly get even the most physically fit gardener out of breath.
But a Dutch hoe improves on a regular garden hoe by allowing you to stand upright while you weed, pushing and pulling the blade to cut weed stems with less effort.
So in this article, we take a look at how to use a Dutch hoe for weeding and other garden tasks.
Let’s dive in.
What Is A Dutch Hoe Used For?
One of the main uses of a Dutch hoe is for weeding. Unlike hoes with a blade at a 90-degree angle, a Dutch hoe blade faces forward. This makes it easier and more comfortable to weed. You can cut weeds by pushing the blade forward and backward while standing up, reducing strain on your back.
You can also manipulate the topsoil with a Dutch hoe, creating furrows for planting seeds and mixing amendments into the soil.
Why Is It Called A Dutch Hoe?
As the name suggests, the Dutch Hoe originally came from Holland. In Middle Dutch, it was called a schoffel (shovel), which was changed to ‘scuffle’ in the English language. This is why a Dutch hoe is also sometimes known as a scuffle hoe.
Another name for a Dutch hoe is a push hoe because of the motion you use to cut weeds with the tool.
How To Use A Dutch Hoe For Weeding
Using a Dutch hoe for weeding is different than using many other types of hoes. It’s a lot less tiring than chopping into the ground before pulling towards you as you do with a paddle hoe.
When using a Dutch hoe you should stand up straight and hold the long wooden handle in both hands. Push and pull the blade backward and forward just beneath the soil to sever weeds on both strokes. The best Dutch hoes have either a gap or holes in the blade to prevent soil from accumulating on top.
Make sure you get a hoe with a long enough handle. A handle that comes up to your armpit should be long enough to prevent you from having to bend over while you work.
Using A Dutch Hoe Around Your Garden
A Dutch hoe is a great tool to use around your garden. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of it:
- Use your Dutch hoe for weeding in raised beds. If you’re adding compost, the topsoil in raised beds is fluffy and full of organic matter, making it easy to slice through and under the soil surface with your hoe. But you might have to change the way you hold the tool, gripping it further down the handle.
- Use your dutch hoe to slice through weeds and grass growing in mulched garden paths before applying new woodchips or sawdust. This discourages weeds from growing through the newly applied mulch.
- It’s easy to break up and loosen the topsoil with a Dutch hoe. Then you can add amendments such as compost to your garden beds to improve the texture of your soil and make it easier for your plants to access water, nutrients, and oxygen.
- If you need to work in small spaces, consider getting a Dutch hoe with a short handle. You can use the hoe as a hand tool to delicately work around desirable plants without harming them. A small Dutch hoe is also good for working in areas without room for big pushing motions.
- It’s easiest to cut weeds when they’re small and young. Well-established weeds with thick stems take a lot more work to cut through.
- Mature weeds with deep and extensive root systems will often grow back after you cut them. Watch for the weeds re-emerging from the soil and cut them again before they develop foliage and photosynthesize. Repeated cutting can exhaust the roots and prevent the weeds from regrowing. But it sometimes takes a number of growing seasons to kill perennial weeds this way.
- It’s difficult to use a Dutch hoe on hard and compacted soil. The blade will struggle to penetrate through the topsoil and will quickly lose sharpness.
Dutch Hoe vs Regular Hoe
The main difference between a Dutch hoe and a regular hoe is the shape of the blade. A Dutch hoe has a forward-facing blade, making it easier to weed while standing by pushing and pulling the blade beneath the topsoil to cut weeds.
But a Dutch hoe is not as useful as a regular hoe for general gardening work such as digging and breaking hard ground.
How To Care For Your Dutch Hoe
To make weeding easier it’s important to look after your Dutch hoe. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your hoe sharp and comfortable to use:
- After using your hoe, clean the dirt and mud from the tool and allow it to dry in the air.
- Use a flat-file periodically to sharpen the blade of the hoe.
- Remove rust from the hoe blade using 80-grit sandpaper.
- Keep the hoe in a sheltered and dry place to reduce rust.
- Oiling the blade with boiled linseed oil can prevent rust from developing.
- Oil the wooden handle periodically to protect it from moisture.
Which hoe is best for weeding?
A Dutch hoe is the best type of hoe for weeding. The angle of the blade makes the tool easy to use without bending over. You use a push-pull motion to cut weeds just beneath the soil surface rather than chopping into the soil and pulling it towards you like a regular hoe.
Does a Dutch hoe need to be sharp?
It’s easier to cut weeds when your Dutch hoe is sharp. Pushing the hoe blade through soil and weed stems takes a lot more effort if the blade becomes blunt. You should sharpen the blade periodically using a file or whetstone.