When the weather warms up and it’s finally time to work outside again, be ready with new tools that will let you kill weeds with fire, keep your wheelbarrow organized, and water your lawn like a firefighter.
The trusty wheelbarrow is an indispensable tool for hauling organic matter, fertilizer, plants, and more. The problem is that everything gets heaped together in the middle. Imagine you’re moving some flowers and a bag of topsoil when the bag tips and crushes the plants. No good.
Therein lies the genius of the wheelbarrow organizer. For $60, the Original Little Burro fits over most wheelbarrows to provide a compartmentalized tray for tools and supplies. The lightweight caddy will hold up to 80 lbs. It even has individual partitions for keys, a cell phone, and a drink, and it can carry long-handled tools, a 5-gallon bucket, and seedlings. It’ll cut down the number of trips you have to make to your garage or shed, which will make your life a little easier
A Bigger Burn Cage
Burning leaves or branches out in the open or in a 55-gallon drum can be dangerous. Flying sparks pose a hazard, and burning leaves carried off by the wind can start unwanted fires. That’s why we’d recommend a burn cage, and if you need a big one, this is it.
Pop-Up Plant Covers
Gardener’s Supply Company makes a handy line of plant covers, made with polyethylene fabric and a mesh top to create a miniature greenhouse that protects plants against cold temps and winds. The company expanded the group this year with a Pop Up Cuke and Squash Accelerator.
The company says the pop up, which is 16-in. tall with a 16-in. diameter and sells for $13, enables plants to grow 25 percent faster. Warm air can escape through the mesh to prevent overheating. The cover pops open when you release the toggles. To use it, simply place it over the plant and anchor it to the ground (anchors are not included). The mesh top unzips when you need ventilation or direct sunlight. At the end of the season, the cover lies flat for convenient storage.
Smart Irrigation Controller
Smart home technology is not limited to indoor appliances and devices. Blossom offers a connected lawn irrigation controller that can access local, real-time weather data and use that information to optimize watering for your lawn. The personalized plan is based on your location, weather patterns, and vegetation.
Fire makes everything more fun, weeding included. Bernzomatic’s Lawn and Garden Torch shoots fire out of a solid brass tip at the end of a 36-inch handle to incinerate weeds. Besides being a kick to operate, it eliminates the need to use chemicals, which can be harmful to pets, or to get down on your hands and knees to pull weeds. The tool makes quick work of weeds growing between pavers in patios, cracks in sidewalks, or in a rock garden.
The $40 torch, which was re-launched last year, uses a small propane cylinder like those used for camping. It has a built-in igniter to easily start the flame and an adjustable flame control knob. The tool also works great for lighting bonfires and making repairs to blacktop driveways.
Lightweight Battery-Powered Weed Trimmer
The battery, which can be used in other Stihl tools, runs quieter than a gas motor without the maintenance or exhaust. Users can still control the throttle speed, giving them the flexibility to throttle down when trimming around delicate plants. The Stihl comes with a hefty $350 price tag, though, so this professional-grade trimmer is for DIYers with large yards they’ve got to keep under control.
Ames recently introduced a leaf rake with two rows of teeth, or tines, stacked in an offset alternating fashion. The company says this design keeps the teeth from clogging and lets you rake up to 45 percent faster than with a traditional rake.
The 26-inch Dual Tine Poly Leaf Rake, $20, also has a comfort grip handle, which is nice when you have a lot of leaves or grass to clean up. A version of the rake that includes a small, detachable hand rake for tight spaces is available for $25.
These Versatile Cutting and Clearing Tools
When you need to chop away and remove unwanted growth, cut vines or branches, trim plant stems, or edge a border, the five new tools from Fiskars have you covered. The clearing tools, starting at $35, include the billhook, billhook saw, hatchet, machete, and machete axe.The ultra-sharp blades have a low-friction rust-resistant coating. Each handle has what Fiskars calls an “intelligent texture pattern” that consists of a varied texture with large dimples placed where your fingers will rest, meant to maximize your grip. Small dimples where your palm goes are designed to prevent blisters.
Fireman’s Nozzle Sprayer
There are myriad hand sprayers on the market for washing your truck, watering plants, and cleaning the grass off your mower deck, but none are as cool as the Fireman’s Water Hose Nozzle. It looks and works like an actual fireman’s hose.
Granted, the $80 price tag makes it about four times more expensive than the cheap sprayers you can buy at home centers. But besides letting you play fireman, this tool has a higher build with an aluminum body and rubber grip.
Comfort Grip Hand Tools
Maybe your old gardening tools are breaking down. Maybe you’re tired of the inevitable blisters. Well, this year look into the comfortable, reliable tools in Corona’s ComfortGEL line. The trowel, weeder, cultivator, scoop, hoe/cultivator, and transplanter cost $10 each, and they offer comfortable no-slip handles on stainless steel bodies. The handles have a gel layer that’s molded over a firm, ergonomic grip.
These are smartly designed tools, too. The weeder has a forked-tipped blade for digging into the ground, and the trowel has gradated depth markings along the head.
Stihl’s FSA 90 R weed trimmer uses a 36-volt lithium-ion battery to keep the weight down while delivering long run times. The tool weighs just 11.2 lbs., so it’s easy to maneuver, and has a larger-than-normal 15-inch cutting width to complete jobs faster.