Getting the most from your GardenDonkey Hoe

Getting started with the GardenDonkey Hoe is simple. Place it on the ground in the area of the weeds and pull. If the weeds are well established or have deeper roots, you can push and pull it back and forth in the same spot to loosen weed roots. The more you use the tool, the easier and faster it becomes. 

 One important thing to remember when getting started is not to feel overwhelmed. Weed control is a journey, not a single event. If an ornamental or growing area is “out of control”, the most important part of the process is to START! All of us are busy, so finding time gets harder and harder. Following the system outlined below, small amounts of work will yield big payoffs in the end.


The four Ts of weed control:

Targeting, Tools, Technique, and Timing

 

Targeting

Many people are overwhelmed in the garden because they simply don't know where to start.  If you want to make the most progress in the shortest amount of time, it is important to target weeds that are flowering or going to seed.  This prevents the next crop of weeds from being planted.  Once the weeds at this stage are removed, you can focus on the rest.   There many species of weeds-all of which vary in size and rate of growth.  Don't be fooled by targeting the biggest weeds.  Some of the most aggressively propagating weeds can remain very tiny.

Tools

One of the most vital parts of a good weed control program is having the right tool. The Gardendonkey hoe is a tool that removes weeds with the root system intact. The top part of a weed that you can see is just a symptom. The problem is the roots and seeds below the surface. The hoe loosens soil so that the weed and roots are removed intact. 

Technique

The second part of the system is using the proper techniques. This involves the many ways you can use the hoe and a few different rakes to accomplish weed removal and clean-up. As you loosen and remove weeds, a shrub rake or spring tine rake (grass rake) can be used to rake the weeds away and into a pile for removal. In small areas or tightly spaced planting areas, the hoe can be flipped over and used as a rake.  Raking the weeds a short distance will often loosen any remaining soil in the roots and leave a bare pile of weeds/roots to remove. This will leave behind the soil that you wish to conserve. It important to remove the weeds and properly compost them so that any seeds in the weed cycle are removed from the ornamental or vegetable growing areas.

Timing

One of the most crucial elements of weed control is breaking the seed production cycle. The only way to accomplish this is to remove the weeds at the proper time, prior to them going to seed or developing seed pods. All weeds have a cycle of when they grow and release seed, many of which can produce hundreds or even thousands of seeds per plant. Removing a single weed can sometimes prevent hundreds of weeds. Most often, a few short minutes of weed control work per week can save hours of work later. Careful timing of weeding will drastically reduce the number of seeds in the soil by removing small weeds as they present at the surface and leave behind a smaller number season after season. This can eventually result in a reduction of weeding time of 80 to 90 percent.

A simple schedule to follow for weeding begins first with removing weeds from a given area and then follow the 1-2-3 rule.

  1. Wait 1 week and return to spot weed the area to remove weeds that may have been missed or buried in the process of clean-up. 
  2. Wait an additional 2 weeks and return to start the removal of weeds that have germinated.  
  3. Wait an additional 3 weeks and return to spot weed anything that is sprouting. This is an excellent time to add a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch. 

Tip for success: If an area has been neglected, the weekly schedule would be best altered to 1-1-2-2-3-3.  If an area is totally out of control, there is most likely a large amount of weed seed in the soil and the weekly schedule may have to be altered to 1-1-1-2-2-2-3-3-3.  It will be evident in the first 3-4 weeks if you can start to add time between weeks.  As the saying goes " A year in seeds, 7 years in weeds".  The schedule may have to start over in the spring time to get control of the weeds again.

 

Bonus "T"  Topcoat

Once a maintained area has been cleared of weeds and the number of seeds is declining, the addition of mulch on top of the soil can further reduce the ability of any remaining seeds to germinate and reduce weeding labor to an absolute minimum. At this stage in the process, any weed control has been reduced to spot weeding and the interval between weed control sessions gets longer and longer.