Weeds are tenacious and prolific--that's what makes them weeds. Pulling up a large number of weeds by hand can be tedious, backache-inducing work for even the most tenacious gardener. Fortunately, there are a number of garden tools designed to simplify the job.
The cutting hoe is one of the most basic weeding tools in a gardener's arsenal. Also known as a scuffle hoe and a Dutch hoe, this tool consists of a flat horizontal blade attached to a pole by small lengths of metal at an angle. The blade is pushed in front of the gardener right below the edge of the surface. As it encounters weeds, the blade severs their roots, either killing them outright or crippling them and slowing their growth.
The basic garden hoe is also sometimes used for weeding. In a garden hoe or draw hoe, the blade is attached to the pole at a right angle. The gardener can swing it down to chop weeds or drag it along to pull them out and sever them. According to Garden Action, it is not ideally suited for weeding, but some gardeners do use it.
The cultivator is basically a small rake with one to 5 tines in a row, arranged at a perpendicular angle to the handle. The cultivator performs two functions simultaneously. When it is dragged along the ground, it breaks up the soil, preparing it for planting. It also pulls out weeds with shallow roots, turning them under the soil.
Barn forks, spading forks and pitch forks are all tools structured like giant forks with shovel handles. They can be used for a variety of purposes in weeding. Gardeners and landscapers quickly dig up large swaths of weeds using forks. The forks are also used to move the weeds into garbage bags or compost heaps for disposal.
Thick gloves are the most basic garden weeding tool and the most indispensable. In home gardens, plants are often planted close together and not in the orderly rows used in agriculture. When weeds crop up between flowers, they may be too close to the surrounding plants to use a more sophisticated gardening tool. In that situation, there is no choice but to grab on with the gardening gloves and pull.