Garden Gear

Garden Gear Week Spring 2019

Fiskars Loppers with PowerGear

My favorite tool for one of my favorite garden tasks– lopping!
Clay art tiles by local artist Diana May.

Garden Gear Week Tool #1– PowerGear2 Loppers by Fiskars! See that gear below the blade? It gives you super-human strength to cut through branches (up to 2″)! We’ve used a lot of different loppers pruning the street trees of West Lafayette and these are by far my favorite. This is the 27″ model ($48 on the Fiskars website but currently out of stock. The 25″ model would fit the bill and it’s on sale for $36.) You want some extended reach with longer handles, but you don’t want too much weight. These are perfect. Many loppers have heavy metal handles that tire your arms out quickly. These are light weight but heavy duty and make lopping one of the best garden tasks ever!

ikris 10 Pattern Spray Nozzle

Have you ever been EXCITED to turn on your hose? If not, it’s because you don’t own an ikris 10-pattern hose nozzle sprayer. Seriously, I’ve watered plants extensively– I once had four polyhouses of perennials where lots of nozzles quit functioning–and used lots of sprayers but this one is the absolute best. Like most of us, I only use a couple of the available patterns– shower and jet. But the flow on this sprayer is strong and steady, you don’t have to squeeze, and there’s flow control instead of just being off or on. It’s $40 on their website but $16 on Amazon. If anyone knows who carries it in a brick and mortar store, please let me know. Or if you’ve used any of their other products. This tool is such a joy that we gave it at a gift exchange 1.5 years ago! And that wraps up Tool #2 in Garden Gear Week.

Silky Zubat Pole Saw, 13′ with 13″ blade

Yeah, I know it’s an invasive pear– but that SAW!

You deserve it! It’s time to spend some $$ on Garden Gear Week Tool #3! The West Lafayette Tree Friends prune street trees weekly in the spring and fall (it’s so fun!) and we have tested a good number of pole saws.We expect a LOT since we are at this for a couple hours on each outing. The Silky Saws Zubat pole saw with 13″ blade, telescoping to 13′ is the only saw that “makes the cut”. First, the saw blade cuts wood way better than others. Secondly, the aluminum alloy pole is lightweight and– get this– it doesn’t slip! The pole locking mechanism makes this so much more satisfying than other saws. If you’re going to spend any time waving a pole up in the air, you need to consider every bit of weight so skip the pole pruning part (that’s the part you awkwardly hook over a branch and then pull a rope if it isn’t stuck in the foliage to lop off a branch)– it just gets caught up in the branches and keeps you from making clean cuts. And maybe skip the pole saw that will extend to the heavens. Our pole saw of choice weighs a lovely 3.4 pounds so the limiting factor is the crick in your neck, not the weight of the saw! And lets return to the importance of the saw blade! Their proprietary blade has “The Teeth of the Future.” Whatever they call them, their cut is markedly superior. $194 on their website.…/7-7-to-13-Zubat-Telescoping-Pole…. Photo by the official photographer of the Tree Friends Ann Hunt. 

Felco Pruners #5

My trusty, rusty FELCO pruners are Garden Gear Week Tool #4! This is the tool I use the most so quality matters! I almost never go into the garden without these on hand (or on hip on my tool belt!). Bypass pruners (like these) make the best and cleanest cuts which is important to the health of your plant. Anvil pruners (where a blade cuts against a flat surface, like a knife on a cutting board) can smash the branch so I avoid those. Felco #5s are my choice because of their price point– only $32.25 on their website. But there are plenty of other models out there. My friend who does a lot of maintenance work on the Appalachian Trail likes #2s! Let me know your favorite!

Lifetime warranty– thanks, Felco!

Hip holster belt by Womanswork

Garden Tool #5 in Garden Gear Week is this hip holster belt fromWomanswork ! I wear it every time I work in the garden. It holds my phone, pruners, plant labels and more. I blew through my first one because of the point of my pruners but they’ve since improved it with a reinforced main pocket to prevent exactly that! This is less bulky than the big leather belt pouches you can get at the hardware store– and the mesh allows dirt to fall through and tools to dry. $20 and worth every penny!

Fiskars PruningStik

Garden Gear Week Tool #6 is another cutting tool! Seems like there’s lots to whack back in the garden. I call these “nippers” but they’re officially called Fiskars PruningStiks. There are limbs that are just too flexible to tackle with a pole saw and you’re left waving limbs overhead but unable to get them to hold still to be cut! This lightweight 5′ tool nips the tips off so sidewalks are cleared. My garden is surrounded by woods so these come in handy to snip back the overhanging foliage allowing garden plants to get just the right amount of sun. It really is easier to own a pole sale AND this pruning stick than to use a saw with cutting hardward on the end of it — it gets tangled up in the foliage. With all pruners, cuts should be made just above a leaf or branch. As one of the West Lafayette Tree Friends says, “There’s absolutely no excuse for leaving stubs.” Stubs die back to the prior branch and that dead material provides an entrypoint for insects and diseases. $50 and rope-free (which is meaningful to any of you who have groped about for the rope while straining your neck and holding a heavy pole pruner!). And Fiskars lifetime warranty is an added bonus! Thanks to Gretchen Eichhorn Ely for the photo.

Gardena Wall-Mounted Hose Box 30 roll-up automatic

Who names these things? We are wrapping up Garden Gear Week with this “Wall Mounted Hose Box 30 Roll-up Automatic.” What???  I’d call this the Splish Splash Swishaway or something! At any rate, this awesome gift (thank you Nate & Alex ) zips the hose back into place. Drawbacks are that it’s a 13 mm hose so the jet spray is good but somewhat reduced and we have reattached the head on ours a couple times (easy to do). Advantages are there’s not a ton of hose laying around in the backyard, the reel can swivel 180 degrees, and putting away a hose has never been so fun. $239 online. The Gardena store locator isn’t working so I’m unsure who sells these locally. Thanks to Jeff for modeling! Love that grin as he steps out of the frame. Speaking of items that need titles, my garden helper could use one. He suggests CoHort?

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False Pot Bottoms (there’s a joke there somewhere!)