Gardeners use hand tools in areas where long-handled tools are too big or awkward to use. A hand tool should be comfortable to hold and easy to use. The handle should be smooth and fit the gardener's hand. The head should be made of smooth, strong metal and be securely attached to the handle.
A trowel is used to dig planting holes for seedlings and small plants. It may have a wide or narrow blade. Some trowels have a serrated edge that can be used to break up lumps in the soil.
A hand hoe is used to break up soil to remove weeds. It may have a square or heart-shaped blade, which is used to make furrows when planting seeds.
A hand cultivator is used to weed small areas or between plants. It is also used to break up and turn soil.
A dandelion weeder is used to pull up weeds with thick roots or long taproots. The head of a crack weeder is bent at a 90-degree angle for use in removing weeds between rocks or paving stones. The V-shaped head of a fishtail weeder is used to lift small plants and their roots out of the ground.
Hand pruners and lopping shears are used to cut small limbs. Bypass-type pruners have blades that slide past each other and should be used on green growing wood. Anvil type pruners have blades that meet at the edges and should be used on dead dry wood.