How to Weed Effortlessly Using a Dutch Hoe

ntroducing a dutch hoe to your collection of garden tools is a great chance to cut back on manual labor. Compared to other types of garden hoes, dutch hoes are especially efficient when it comes to weeding. 

Today, we’ll explore the differences between dutch hoes and regular garden hoes, as well as how to weed effortlessly using a dutch hoe. Keep reading for tips on dutch hoe weeding techniques, dutch hoe sharpening, and weed removal. 

The Difference Between a Dutch Hoe and a Regular Hoe

Dutch hoes have a few key differences when compared to other garden hoes. The most obvious difference is in the blade design. 

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As opposed to other gardening hoes, you use a dutch hoe while standing straight up since the blade is at an angle. You don’t need to bend over into an uncomfortable position for your back or knees. 

Regular garden hoes typically have a blade that’s set at a 90 degree angle to the handle, which you have to bend over to use efficiently. This blade is usually either stirrup-shaped or triangle-shaped and have teeth to make slicing easier for the user.

Furthermore, dutch hoes have wide open blades that are typically sharp. You use a dutch hoe to go just below the soil’s surface and sever roots off of weeds. 

Other Types of Garden Hoes

These design qualities and purposes of dutch hoes differ from the alternative heart-shaped hoes, draw hoes (standard garden hoe), and stirrup hoes (push-and-pull hoes for thicker weeds). 

  1. Draw hoes – This is the standard garden hoe you think of when you imagine garden tools. It’s less efficient and takes more work from the gardener. These hoes have a rectangle-shaped blade that is set at a 90° angle to the handle. You have to chop up and down with these garden hoes to eliminate weeds. 
  2. Stirrup hoes – Stirrup hoes aren’t all that different from dutch hoes. In fact, a dutch hoe can come with a stirrup-shaped blade. You use these hoes in a push and pull motion on thicker weed problems. 
  3. Heart-shaped hoes – This type of garden hoe is more often than not used for breaking up soil, rather than weeding. When you want to turn the soil on a garden bed, this type of hoe helps to loosen hard and compacted soil. It’s also effective at making furrows and drills in the soil.  

Using a Dutch Hoe for Weeding

Due to their unique design, using a dutch hoe for weeding is different from using other hoes for weeding. One of the benefits of a dutch hoe is that it’s usually less strenuous and results in less soreness after you’re done. 

As a result, using a dutch hoe for weeding takes less time than when using other types of hoes. As long as you’re working with weeds that aren’t too tough or thick, you should be able to effortlessly tackle weeds with a dutch hoe. 

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Effortless Dutch Hoe Weeding Techniques

When it comes to a dutch hoe, the techniques are obviously going to be a bit different from draw hoe weeding techniques. Since the blade is at a different kind of angle, you will use different motions to weed your garden. 

Some of the primary techniques you’ll use with a dutch hoe include:

  • Sweep and Slice
  • Soil Fallout

Sweep and Slice

Dutch hoes make the slicing aspect of weeding much simpler. Because dutch hoes employ a sharp blade that is set at an angle to easily reach roots, you can simply sweep it under the surface of the soil. 

As you sweep it back and forth, it slices weeds at their roots that lie below the surface. You’ll find that slicing with a dutch hoe takes much less effort within a raised bed, where the soil is already worked and loose. This makes it a great choice for weeding your home garden beds. 

Note that while this method of slicing weeds at their roots is almost effortless, you have to continuously do the weeding process. Without fully uprooting a weed, you leave room for it to grow back each time you use the dutch hoe on it. 

This is why you need to make weeding with your dutch hoe a regular part of your gardening regimen. 

Soil Fallout

One other technique involved in dutch hoe weeding is dropping the soil that you’ve just uplifted with the hoe. It’s not so much an active technique as something that a dutch hoe naturally does for you. 

When you sweep your dutch hoe back and forth beneath the soil’s surface, soil will fall back through the blade’s holes for easier cleanup. This means that you don’t have to use the hoe to flatten out any uplifted mounds of soil. 

How to Hoe Effectively – Tips

There are a few key things to keep in mind when weeding your garden with a dutch hoe. These tips will make the process more effective and be overall more comfortable for you. 

1. Stand Upright

The first tip is to stand upright when using a dutch hoe to tackle weeds. Unlike other hoes that have blades set at right angles (requiring you to bend down), the dutch hoe design lets you stand upright. 

You will save yourself a lot of back and leg pain, as well as effort, by using this tool correctly. 

2. Push Down Before Sweeping

Make sure that you push the blade down beneath the soil’s surface before you begin the suggested sweeping motion. Doing so ensures that the blade will reach the weed roots and not just their stems. 

Otherwise, you end up with mangled and cut up weeds, without having effectively cut their roots to remove them. 

3. Protect Your Hands

While the dutch hoe provides a level of ease and comfort that other garden hoes don’t when weeding, you could still get blisters. Protect your hands with gloves or a cushioned handle on your hoe. 

Making sure your hands are dry while using the dutch hoe will also help to prevent blisters from forming on your fingers and palms. 

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4. Use a Toothed Blade for Pesky Weeds

If you find that your garden or garden beds are prone to persistent regrowth of weeds, you may consider a toothed blade. Dutch hoes sometimes come equipped with a blade that has teeth on the front or back. 

When you have heavy weed growth or your weeds accumulate quickly, this blade enhancement will reduce the amount of effort you have to put into weeding.

5. Sweep in Short Strokes

This is important when weeding with a dutch hoe if you want your efforts to be effective. You shouldn’t make long sweeping motions or else you might clog up the blade with weeds. 

Long sweeping methods also require you to bend over more, which makes the tool more strenuous to use. 

6. Make Sure to Pull Back

After you do the pushing motion with your dutch hoe, you need to also pull back to move the soil that you’ve worked. Both the push and pull motions are an important part of using a dutch hoe for weeding your garden. 

Keeping Your Dutch Hoe Sharp

Part of effectively using a dutch hoe is maintaining the tool itself. The blade is perhaps the most important part of the dutch hoe, as it is what eliminates the weeds. Therefore, you need to make sure it is sharp before you use it. 

Regularly sharpening your dutch hoe keeps it in good working condition so that you can slice the roots of weeds, rather than just move them around. 

You should ideally clean your dutch hoe’s blade before you attempt to sharpen it. Clean off the dirt with a brush and warm water. Once it has fully air-dried, you can sharpen it (this should happen about once annually). 

Proper blade sharpening for a dutch hoe involves using a file, paying attention to the angle of the blade so you don’t mess it up while sharpening. Only sharpen the outer surface of the blade. 

You can also maintain the blade on a dutch hoe by derusting it with a medium grade sandpaper or electric sander. Further, oiling the blade and metalhead helps to keep them in good working condition. 

Safety Tips for Sharpening Dutch Hoes

Make sure to maintain proper safety measures when sharpening your dutch hoe blade, such as:

  • Pushing the file towards the dull edge of the blade to avoid cutting yourself
  • Avoid using a power grinder to sharpen the blade
  • Secure the hoe by placing it on the ground with the blade pointing up, where you can hold the hoe down to keep it from sliding around
  • Make sure that your work area is free of distractions or things you could trip on

While it’s important to keep your dutch hoe blade sharp for effective use in the garden, you don’t want to injure yourself in the process. 

Removing Weeds After Hoeing

You don’t technically need to remove the sliced weeds after you’ve used your dutch hoe on them. However, removing them from the soil surface might help to slow down their regrowth, especially if you have weeds that drop seeds. 

You can sweep them back with your hoe to remove them from a raised garden bed, for example, and dispose of them afterwards. 

When You Should Not Use a Dutch Hoe

Although the dutch hoe is highly effective at weeding your garden, there are certain instances where you should opt for a different tool. For example, consider the following situations:

Don’t Use a Dutch Hoe Soon After Planting Seeds

If you go to weed your garden beds soon after you’ve planted seeds, you run the risk of uprooting your seedlings or seeds before they germinate. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between a weed and a seedling, especially at that young age. This is why you should wait until your garden has matured a bit more to use a dutch hoe. 

Don’t Use a Dutch Hoe on Large or Deep-Rooted Weeds

We all experience this at one point or another. You get a pesky weed that grows exponentially fast and takes root deep within the ground. These are hard to remove, and unfortunately, a dutch hoe just isn’t the best tool to tackle this type of weed. 

Instead, you’ll want to physically remove these weeds by completely uprooting them, or else they will grow back just as fast. You may also opt for a stronger garden tool to get rid of these weeds. 

Don’t Use a Dutch Hoe on Rocky, Clay-Rich, or Hard Soil

Dutch hoes are sharp and efficient when it comes to loose soil. They target the roots of weeds just below the soil’s surface. 

However, they aren’t so great at working through compacted or hardened soil. Trying to use dutch hoes on this type of soil will only wear down the blade and make it useless. 

Instead, you should opt for a more suited hoe, such as the heart-shaped hoe, which targets compact and hard soil and breaks it up. 

Don’t Use a Dutch Hoe When It Is Dull

One of the main reasons people turn to dutch hoes for weeding is that they are more efficient. They take off much of the pressure from the gardener and make weeding less laborious.

However, if you’re using a dull blade on your dutch hoe, it’s simply not going to do the trick, which will cause you to work even harder. 

This is why you should avoid using your dutch hoe on weeds if you know it has a dull blade. Take the time to sharpen it beforehand, and you will thank yourself after the fact. 

Conclusion

Weeding your garden can be strenuous without the right tools. However, the dutch hoe makes weeding almost effortless, as it lets the gardener stand upright and make easy sweeping motions. 

While you do have to use this hoeing method on a regular basis for it to be effective, it’s a lot easier than pulling weeds by hand or using other 90 degree hoes on weeds. 

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