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Best inexpensive tools for clearing weeds



  • Look at forestry clearing tools, billhooks, slashers e.g. Stihl, Husqvarna and of course Canadian manufacturers. Foresters there may be days away from a city where they can get a replacement tool so they need robust ones that do the job and won't fail on them. Whatever you decide on get some sharpening tools to reduce the effort you need to do the job. Sorry they are not cheap but they are inexpensive over time because they last. It's easy to spend a fortune buying cheap and replacing often, which is very ecologically sound either. 
    Perhaps yyou could borrow from or trade with another allotmenteer. 

    Mr. Vine Eye
    Hello, I've got a large allotment to clear which is completely overgrown with weeds - mostly horse/mares tail and bind weed.

    I've made a start on it but it's tough going. At the moment we're just at the hacking and raking stage - will worry about digging and/or covering mulching etc later. Using hedge shears and a rake as that's the best I've got. I started by swinging the rake almost like it was a blunt scythe which does work and clears quickly but only for the 15 minutes that I can maintain it for before I become completely exhausted.

    I've been trying to find a good hand tool for slashing the weeds down easily - a scythe with the correct blade would be ideal but far too expensive - I've looked at hand sickles, weed whackers, scythettes, slashers and other variations on eBay and Amazon but they seem to have very mixed reviews.

    Something similar to this is what I'm after really - 

    Can anyone recommend something specific?

    Thank you
    Those in the video and featured in the film Cool Hand Luke are called Yo-yo brush cutters  in the USA.
    Sorry I don;t know anything specific. I'm not sure that's a pattern of tool commonly found in the UK.
    They'd maybe be under the category of a striking tool so in the USA for a quality tool that should come with a hickory handle whereas European Ash is more common in Europe mainly because of availibility. Look for a steel that holds an edge. Good manufacturers shout about the grade of steel they use and the timber species used for handles. Perhaps the tools that received bed reviews are handled with Toona wood. It's awful - really brittle and usually labelled as solid wood handle, hardwood handle or somesuch vague term.

    You might be easier forking it as you'll have to fork to loosen the roots anyway. May as well save the effort of slashing. One forking one pulling plants, taking turns.
  • glasgowdanglasgowdan Posts: 632
    edited August 2019
    What do you do once you've cut the weeds down in height?

    You know you get good semi-pro battery strimmers with far lower noise levels? 
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,182
    Thanks for all the advice.

    I lost my allotment key at some point since I locked up end of last week! No idea how - luckily I was able to get a replacement very quickly. We're going back again this morning for a couple of hours.

    I bought these:

    although they haven't arrived yet, so it'll still be rakes and shears this morning.
    I went yesterday morning just to look and I was surprised by how much we managed to clear last time. The piles of cuttings have dried out and shrunk and nothing's regrown.

  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,182
    What do you do once you've cut the weeds down in height?
    Pull, fork or dig them out - but it's a lot easier when they're not as tall/thick - a lot of the shallow rooted weeds pull out when raking the cuttings up.
  • Two week after I asked about this - we got the whole plot cleared and I've started digging up the major roots and levelling the soil. Picked up lots of free pallets which I'm going to make the compost bins with.

    The weed slashers from Amazon were alright and useful at some points.

    Brambles I just used telescopic loppers to cut them off right at the base and then pulled on the canes to wrench them out of the jungle - so we got that area cleared very quickly.
  • From the front


    Back behind the shed 

    Behind the shed

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,197
    Well done 😊 👍 

    Now make sure you have a good sharp Dutch hoe for prompt attention when the weed seeds germinate and attempt to take over again. 

    Dealing with them them promptly for the next couple of years will pay benefits in the longer term. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • It's worth getting to the brambles roots and heaving them out. They almost always come out by hand if you've got someone with a bit of muscle. They grow back amazingly quickly
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,531
    edited September 2019
    Ancient folk cleared forest for agriculture, using less effective hand tools than we have, so of course it can be done.  Especially if you can recruit some volunteer labour.  Get in some mates or adult children, a crate of beer, and enjoy the craic.  Pity the school hols are over, or you might have got some teenagers to do it for pocket money.

    Whatever you do, don't listen to anyone who advises you to rotavate it.  It seems, indeed it is, an easy way to break up neglected ground.  But it will chop the roots of those perennial weeds into little pieces, every one of which will make a new plant, and you'll be worse off than when you started.

    May you always enjoy your honest toil.

    Sorry, just noticed your original post was ages ago so my advice isn't timely.
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