January has come and gone, which means the warmer landscaping season will be here before we know it. It’s time to begin thinking about the various tools you’ll need this year.
“All too often, contractors will stock up on a specific tool for a job, only to realize the tool has a very different purpose,” said Ben Jenkins, Branch Manager at Ewing’s Phoenix location. To avoid this problem, here is a handy guide featuring tools that look similar but have different uses.
For Digging and Scooping
- Round point shovels vs. square point shovels: Round point shovels are most effective at digging through mud, soil or dirt. Square point shovels work best for scooping and transporting loose landscaping materials, such as soil or rock, to different areas of the landscape. You can also use them as a dustpan to sweep and collect debris, but you wouldn’t want to use a square point shovel for digging, as the square edge wouldn’t dig into compacted dirt as easily.
- Trenching shovels vs. sharpshooters and digging bars: Trenching shovels are more narrow than traditional round-point shovels and therefore better suited for digging trenches. Sharpshooters are specifically designed to cut through tough barriers, such as thick roots. Do not use a trenching shovel as a sharpshooter, because it can put too much stress on the shovel handle and could cause it to break. Similarly, using a sharpshooter to dig into harder material, such as concrete, wouldn’t be as effective as a heavier, more pointed digging bar.
- Orchard loppers vs. hedge trimmers: Sometimes, people use hedge trimmers to cut through thick tree branches, but it is much easier to use an orchard lopper to do so. The longer handles on the lopper will give you more leverage to cut down particularly thick branches. Hedge trimmers should be used for trimming shrubs and cutting smaller plants.
- Pruning saws vs. wood/PVC saws vs. hacksaws: Know the type of saw you need to buy! Pruning saws work well to cut through small branches. If you have a larger branch, use a wood/PVC saw. They can work for pruning tasks, but if you need to cut through metal, you’ll want to purchase a hacksaw. This type of saw can also be used to cut through softer material, such as trees, wood or plastic.
For Cleaning Up
- Rakes: Leaf rakes will help you collect piles of leaves across your lawn without damaging the grass. Rakes with larger tines, such as a bow rake, are meant to agitate and break up compacted soil, so you want to avoid using these to rake up leaves. You can also use a bow rake to tidy up and even out small areas of rock, such as gravel or crushed granite. However, if you have large amounts of rock to spread, consider picking up a great rake to make this job easier.
- Dual-bristle, stiff-bristle and soft-bristle brooms: When the job is complete, you will want a sturdy push broom for cleaning up. Stiff-bristle brooms work best when cleaning up rough surfaces, such as asphalt. Soft-bristle brooms will be most effective for sweeping dust and debris from smoother surfaces, like concrete or tile. You could buy both, or purchase a dual-bristle broom, which contains stiff and soft bristles, to reap the benefits of both brooms in one.
Using the correct tool for each job will considerably extend the life of the tools, saving you time, effort and money.
Right now, you can save even more by stocking up on your new tools for less! Our Tools Early Order Program is running from now until Feb. 28. Don’t miss out on the chance to save up to 35% on your essential tools. Shop online, or head to your nearest Ewing store today!