The old adage "A weed is a plant in the wrong place" is quite true, and the bigger they get, the harder they are to eradicate. The safest way to banish pernicious weeds is to dig them out, and if it's done early in the season, this will help to keep flowerbeds and lawns healthy. These sturdy hand weeders--some classic, some unconventional—will rout the tough taproots and dense mats of even the most vigorous invaders.
1. The Circlehoe Mini Hoe, 10 inches, and Hand Hoe, 15 inches
These hoes have a circular carbon steel blade to make short work of young weeds in the vegetable bed, but their shape and balance give you great control, so your vegetable seedlings stay unharmed. The Mini Circlehoe is also useful for containers and for gutting squash and pumpkins. $12 and $17, circlehoe.com
2. Radius Weeder
Lightweight, with a colored cushioned grip that's easy to spot if left in the garden. The aluminum blade's serrated edges cut through soil and roots. $10, radiusgarden.com
3. MintCraft Weeder
This tool's forked teeth efficiently pop tap-rooted weeds out of the ground, while the fortified steel fulcrum provides the leverage so your hand and arm don't have to. Total length is 13 1/4 inches. And the price can't be beat. $4, hardwareandtools.com
4. Hori-Hori Knife
In Japanese, hori means "to dig," and this knife can cultivate, cut, and dig circles around most other weeders. Sporting a 7-inch stainless-steel blade and a hardwood handle, it's weighty but efficient. $30, gardentoolcompany.com
5. Sneeboer Exaggerated Hand Weeder, Two Pronged Weeder, and Dandelion Trowel
Hand-forged in the Netherlands, these three stainless-steel tools are pricey but will last a lifetime. Handles are strong, split-resistant ash or cherry. $46 to $54, sneeboerusa.com
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