Garden Tool Sharpening Facts
Garden Tool Sharpening Tips
Garden tools seldom become obsolete and can serve you well for decades. I still use several that were passed down to me from my father.
Proper maintenance (cleaning, sharpening and protecting) increases their life span and makes them easier to use. A well-honed shovel slices through packed ground with less strain to your back, while a sharp blade on a pruner cuts cleanly, making your job quicker and minimizing trauma to your plants.
Sharp tools make work easier and safer. A sharp hoe can quickly cut through soil to sever a weed. A dull hoe will take more effort and may not evenly slice off the weed root. The same holds true for all garden tools.
You also keep plants healthy when you work with sharp tools. Dull gardening shears can split and tear stems, opening them to infection. Sharp shears make clean cuts that heal quickly.
How often you need to sharpen tools depends of what kind of soil you have, how frequently you use the tool, and whether or not you use it correctly. The type of soil is the key. Sandy soil is abrasive, and digging or hoeing in this type of soil will rapidly pit and dull most tools. Misuse is the fastest way to dull a sharp garden tool. Some actions such as dropping a tool on concrete or using a hoe to break through rock, will quickly dull the tool. If you use garden tools for their intended purposes and maintain them properly, they will keep their sharp edges for longer.
The more you use a tool, the more often you will have to sharpen it. However, some tools, such as shovels can be self-sharpening if used in sand and non-rocky areas. Regular use can maintain their edges.
A good rule of thumb is, if to slightly rub an orange peel or a heavy leaf over the garden tool edge. If the tools does not easily cut into the peel or leaf fiber, then it's time to sharpen.
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