Fall Gardening Tools You Can't Live Without
So maybe you can’t have as much fun in your yard and garden when the weather grows chilly. But one way you can still enjoy fall in the garden is with an array of tools that will help you tame your wild and woolly outdoorscape into something pruned and proper.
The biggest bugaboo of fall gardeners? In a word: leaves. They were once so green and lovely, providing dappled shade and wildlife habitats, before they turned into a gorgeous riot of fall colors. Now they are slimy (if you’ve had rainfall like we’ve experienced in Atlanta) and brown and turning your deck and lawn into a mucky mess.
Electricity to the rescue with a good blower/vac that will not only blast those babies out of your life, but in the case of the Toro UltraPlus Corded Electric Blower Vac — which clears my deck of those damp rascals in no time — can also vacuum and mulch leaves for the compost pile or to protect your garden beds this winter.
And speaking of leaves, if you’re like me and enjoy the tidying up pleasures of raking leaves, you’ll need a good leaf rake. My favorite is the Ames Shrub Rake, which serves as my go-to rake in my relatively small front yard. I find it easier to control and direct in a small space. It is also great for its intended use, of clearing fallen leaves from garden beds. The new True Temper Clog-Free Rake is also useful for keeping the dreaded leaf-clump at bay. Closed tines keep those leaves on the move, out of your rake tines and ready for their next resting place in the super-handy Gardener’s Supply Company Tip Bags.
I love these very sturdy bags that come in multiple sizes for a host of yard chores, but they come in especially handy in raking season. I fill them up, drag them across the yard and dump leaves at the curb. So dang satisfying. Should you prefer something a bit more ambulatory, there are some great garden carts out there for not only moving leaves, but transplanting shrubs or hauling new plants to your garden.
The Gorilla Cart from Ace Hardware is great for navigating tight spaces, has cool tractor-like wheels that roll over any impediment like a boss. Those with more refined tastes will dig the classic-looking Gardener’s Supply Company Vermont-built Gardener’s Supply Cart which comes in pretty colors and will impress your neighbors by elevating your humble garden chores into something elegant. It also holds a ton of weight and is easy to navigate, so if they accuse you of just using it because it’s cute, there’s that.
And speaking of lovely, when wet, fall garden mire is in the picture, a great, functional pair of garden boots with some decent treads and good ankle reinforcement are called for, like the Rboot from Aigle. I love all of the boots from this haute French company, suppliers to fancy-types looking for that outdoorsy chic look, like Natalie Portman, Penelope Cruz and Liv Tyler.
Finally, one of my absolutely most favorite fall chores is pruning. Nothing yields immediate results or is quite as fun as getting trees and shrubs in shape and tidied up. For me, few things beat the satisfying crack of a limb snapping and then crashing to the ground. The only downside of True Temper’s heavy-duty Bypass Loppers? They’re so darn fun to use, you may find yourself trying to find more and more things to prune into submission (watch out neighbors, I’m coming for your trees next). Easy to grip, these pruners are also tough enough to take on the thickest branches.
"Tough" is the X7 Hatchet from Fiskars' middle name. Compact, and easy to hold in the hand, this high-tech looking tool is just what you need for chopping kindling or attacking some obstinate limb that won't give up without a fight. This is a seriously powerful hatchet considering its small size.
Another favorite in gardening satisfaction? A great cordless trimmer. I actually enjoy using this Cordless String Trimmer, which has nice ergonomic handles. I use it for the usual weeding, but can also knock out my entire small front lawn when I don't want to drag out the mower. When I'm really in need of some garden therapy, it's great for wacking the cursed English ivy that keeps creeping from my neighbor's yard through my fence. Grrr.
And there you have it: the top tool guys in my repertoire. Now if I could only find a cute little garden shed to park them in, I would be all set. Hello, Christmas…