The gardener’s friend

I rarely recommend products on this blog. Of course I do suggest films and music that you might enjoy, and I once extolled the benefits of steam generator irons. I have discussed the comfort of cosy dressing gowns, sheepskin bootees, and the necessity of rain-wear. However, I rarely name a product, and tend to talk about these things in as generic a way as possible.

This post is one exception to that rule. There may be others to come. Who knows?

About a year after moving here, I was fast becoming tired of the large weeds and dandelions that sprouted all over our lawn at the back. It is far from a perfect example of a lawn, but it is all we have, and I want it to look presentable, without being too concerned about perfection. Getting deep-rooted weeds out is notoriously difficult. I didn’t want to use chemical weed-killers on the grass, as Ollie is often outside, and most are supposed not to be used around animals. I tried the tips I got from the blog. Water and vinegar in solution, as well as boiling water directly on the offending plant. This worked well in some areas, less so in others. I usually had to resort to uncomfortable digging with a trowel or fork, involving kneeling or bending, and leaving something of a mess behind too.

I then saw an advert on TV. I was attracted by the presence of a cheeky French Bulldog in the film, so stayed to watch the advertised product. It was a Fiskars Weed Puller. This seemed like a perfect solution. Strong claws grasped the root from either side, and a simple lever motion removed the whole thing, roots and all. The weed is retained in the claw, and a sliding motion of the handle, not unlike a pump-action shotgun, expels the debris into any chosen container. The small hole left behind is just trodden on, and it soon disappears. Best of all, this was done from a normal standing position, requiring very little effort. It was made in Finland, and boasted a 25-year guarantee. Research showed that Fiskars was a company well-known for making a range of strong tools, so I checked out the Amazon page for gardening. It was less than £30, which is not that cheap, but the build quality and guarantee made me decide to go ahead and buy it.

As soon as it arrived, I got started. It was instinctive to use, and ridiculously easy to operate. However, the main thing that impressed me was the fact that it worked. It did what it claimed to do, exactly as it said it would. Not many things give such satisfaction these days, that’s for sure. As long as you get the claws directly over the centre of the weed, it’s just an easy push, then use the lever bar to withdraw the whole plant. I have stony soil here, so occasionally a stone comes up too, but that is easily shaken off, or removed later. You can shift the most stubborn dandelions from a lawn in seconds, and have the satisfaction of seeing the whole root system in the claws after you have pulled it up. No bending, no backache, and you are almost disappointed when you run out of weeds.

Naturally, it is less suitable for borders, areas close to walls or fences, and weeds in gravel. But on grass or rough ground, it works very well indeed. I am adding a link to a You Tube Fiskars video, if you are interested. I have no connection with the company whatsoever, and it is available to buy all over the world, from numerous retailers, as well as online. The new model has a longer telescopic handle, but I have the basic smaller version, which is fine for my height. This is a bit of a crazy-sounding post, I know. But if you find weeding grass a chore, then this will soon become a firm friend, and a great addition to all that other stuff in your garden shed.

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23 thoughts on “The gardener’s friend

  1. It looks so easy that I doubt Weeding will ever become an Olympic sport. Though at the rate they’re including new ridiculous ones, you never know. As for my small front yard, the HOA takes care of the weeds, or at least it’s responsible for doing so. I recall one year out of the past 16 when weeds invaded my back yard. I just spent a few hours plucking them out of the gravel. I’m not sure what they were, but I would have rather plucked daisies (Brigitte Bardot, I’m looking at you as you were 60 years ago!).

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    1. It works too! And it doesn’t need battery-charging, use of petrol, or complicated skills to operate.
      As they say elsewhere, (I never say it of course) ‘Its’ a win-win situation.’
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dandelions have a diuretic effect, GP. I don’t need any help in that department at the moment, so I reckon I will stick with Merlot and Shiraz for now! (Maybe one day though…)
      Best wishes, Pete.

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        1. This is from a herbal goods website.

          “Different Medicinal Uses

          The young spring shoots of the dandelion which grow in a rosette with a single flower per plant (unlike look-alikes) have a pleasant “green” flavor and a strong diuretic effect. The common French name “pis-en-lit” translates loosely as “peeing in the bed.” Rest assured: using Blessed Herbs products at recommended doses during the day only helps kidneys flush toxins from the body.”

          I only knew this because my old Grandma used to call them ‘piss-the-beds’ when she was weeding her garden. 🙂

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  2. I use a Fiskars axe, the X25 or 27 is the wood choppers choice. The Fiskars hedge trimmers we have are gathering dust now, but when in use do an admirable job with good sharp blades, I have earned many brownie points with the mother-in-law in the past by levelling the hedge around their house. And I’m on my third pair of Fiskars loppers in six years, sets two and three curtesy of the 25 year warranty you mention. But if I said we have dandelions by the 10’s of thousands I don’t think I would be exaggerating, so I’ll leave this one on the shop shelf
    Still Gosia uses them in her soaps, the rabbits and goats loves the leaves and they also make a good salad, not to mention the elixir that can made with the flowers to ward off colds. I even think they look quite pretty in bloom and they signify the start of the growing season, provide entertainment for Malina as she blows the seeds into the air (probably why we have so many) and who could ignore the fact that they are a good early food source for bees!
    In reference to your last post, it’s only a weed when it’s somewhere you don’t want it…..like in between my onions or tomatoes!

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    1. Cheers, Eddy. I have no doubt that your dandelions serve a very different purpose. I also quite like the flowers, the nice bright yellow can look cheerful. I’m just trying to stop it becoming a ‘dandelion lawn.’ When I had a guinea pig, in the late 1970s, he used to like nothing better than the leaves from a dandelion.
      Good luck to Gosia with her soaps, and happy seed-blowing to Malina.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. I need one of those! 🙂 We’re getting one for the lawn when we get back, thanks for the recommendation, Pete.
    Wishing you a great weekend,
    Dina & co up North

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    1. That’s the hard work, Jude. I use a 3-pronged device, and have to manually rake them out. Then you have to bend down and pick them up, one at a time. I tried spraying, but they came back almost immediately.
      I use one like this. http://www.plantfactorygardencenter.com/proddetail.asp?prod=UNION-TOOLS-68131-028788
      Make sure you get a really strong one, and it does work. It’s just picking them up afterwards. You could use a grabber, I presume. I might get one like this.
      https://www.completecareshop.co.uk/household-aids/reaching-aids/lightweight-reacher-long-view-large?gclid=CO-78qL06cwCFXMz0wodRKYH4g

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      1. I have managed to get out smaller ones, but some have very long tap roots and I just end up breaking them off. I shall have a look at your recommendations. Thanks Pete 🙂

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