Marianne Binetti

Get on task with these gardening tools

Summer garden maintenance means that mowing, watering and weeding will need a regular schedule this time of year.

In Western Washington summer lawns usually need to be mowed at least once a week and letting the lawn grow to 3 inches before removing one third of the blade is the best way to not only shade out many lawn weeds but conserve water as well.

Your lawn needs just one inch of water a week. If you water too often you only train the grass roots to sit at the surface and require more water. When you allow the top few inches of soil to dry out the lawn roots will go down deep to seek moisture and this makes a lawn more drought resistant and independent.

Many water districts offer customers free rain gauges to measure how much rain has fallen over a 7-day period. You can also make your own rain gauge by setting out a shallow container marked off with a one inch height.

Here’s an annual review of some of the best new products for fathers, grads and anyone ready to upgrade their garden maintenance tools.

The last hose you’ll need to buy

Gilmour Flexogen Super Duty

This is the strongest, lightest garden hose in its class. Thanks to a patented 8-layer technology this hose with a lifetime warranty is kink, burst and abrasion resistant with brass connections for added strength. Buy this for someone you know that curses in the garden every time the old hose kinks up or leaks all over. A quality hose can change watering the potted plants from a frustrating chore to a peaceful experience.

Price: Comes in different lengths, from 25 to 100 feet, with median price around $25.

Light weight weed trimmer

Craftsman straight shaft 2-cycle gas powered WeedWacker

I admit I am a weakling when it comes to heavy equipment. A lightweight anything appeals to me but what makes this gas-powered WeedWacker even better is the new technology that means you start the engine with a slow pull, not a fast jerk of the rip cord handle.

If you have a large piece of property you don’t want a cord attached to your WeedWacker. This machine will cuts through tall grass and brush and also has attachments available for lawn edging and other yard maintenance chores.

Price: $169, but often on sale from Sears.

Best trowel ever

Corona Ergo Transplanter

Somebody (That would be Corona Tools) took the time to design a light hand trowel with padded comfort grip handle and a design that helps wrist and hand fatigue. You will use your whole arm to dig rather than stress those weary wrists muscles and the narrower design of this tool makes it perfect for digging holes and prying out rocks. Added features include measurements etched right into the blade so you will know how deep you’ve made a hole – perfect for planting bulbs.

I love the sharp, serrated edge on the side of this trowel. It’s so handy for cutting through compacted root balls. There are also two notches at the top of the blade designed to easily rip open plastic bags of compost or potting soil.

The bright red handle makes it easy to find in the compost pile or lying around the garden.

Price: Around $10 at ACE hardware stores.

Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of several books. Reach her through her website at or write to her at P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw WA 98022.