Being a professional gardener I have attacked many garden jungles over the years. Far too many to count. Having the right garden clearance tools is a must.
The kind of gardens that are so overgrown you can not see the fences or the ground for weeds, brambles, nettles, self seeded trees and general rubbish.
It may all look a bit daunting at first with no idea how you are going to attack the job but take it from me, when you complete the clearance properly it will be highly rewarding (and you’ll get the best free workout you’ve ever had).
There are lots of garden tools available to make this easier on yourself. (a good friend to help is probably one of the best tools)
There are some tools I had wished I knew about when I started and would now not consider a garden clearance without having them in my armoury. Hence the reason for my list.
You can hire many of the tools on this list but I prefer to buy and then sell on Facebook groups or Ebay any tools that I am not going to use in the future. This way I know the tools will be in good working order, sharp and reliable.
Tools not to be without.
An essential tool is a decent pair of bypass secateurs. I would go as far as to say if there is one tool to splash the cash on it would be secateurs.
There is no point attempting garden clearance without a well made, sturdy and sharp set of pruners. Ones that will last the distance. There are some terrible secateurs on the market that are not worth the money and would most likely not be up to the task.
Best brands of secateurs include Fiskars, Felco and Okatsune.
Bypass secateurs are for green wood ie; living growth. If you find there are dead brambles and dead wood to deal with then I recommend a set of anvil secateurs as well.
The ‘go to’ tool for cutting and clearing bigger branches that are too oversized for secateurs. Think of loppers are as secateurs ‘big brother’ (or sister).
Loppers make light work of taking out shrubs, hedges and small trees with the much larger blades and handles.
Again, as with secateurs, loppers are available in both bypass and anvil versions. Bypass for living growth, anvil for dead. Also available are ratchet loppers which take less effort to use and telescopic versions for a longer reach.
3.) Tree Pruners
Chances are if the overgrown jungle of a garden has been left for sometime then there may be some remedial tree pruning to perform.
For this task I would consider investing in a specialised tree pruning tool for those out of reach branches.
Furthermore, if there are some quite large branches to be removed then pick a long reach pruner that can also accommodate a tree pruning saw on the end.
Fiskars and Wolf Garten offer two such tools and with a reach of up to 4 meters.
4.) Grubbing Mattock
Essential for digging up the roots on brambles, shrubs and trees.
A grubbing mattock is similar to a pick axe. Only the difference is on one of the ends is a vertical blade to chop stubborn roots.
I have found a grubbing mattock with a fibeglass handle and rubber grips to be the most comfortable to use.
Wooden handled versions tend to hurt the hands after a while (and make the mattock heavier)
Perhaps your garden clearance does not require you to take everything out. Maybe there are some overgrown shrubs or hedges that needs a tidy?
Having a decent set of gardening shears will put that finishing touch on the clearance work by making planting that is to remain tidy and presentable.
Don’t go cheap with shears. Much like secateurs the cheap versions will be uncomfortable to use and the blade will need constant sharpening.
5.) Safety Gear
This I can not stress enough, please take your safety seriously when doing garden clearance.
Weilding tools around in an overgrown garden can be dangerous if your not suitably protected from accidents.
Safety Glasses – Eye Protection
Don’t take chances. It is so easy for anything you are cutting to whip back and hit you in the face (been there may times)
Whilst there is nothing to stop an unruly branch or twig from giving you a slap an pair of safety glasses will protect your all important eyes. Buy buy buy !
Brambles and nettles will shred and sting your lower arms to bits if not protected, a goor pair of leather gauntlets will protect you from this.
You will need no doubt to get your arms in an amongst these horrors so why not protect yourself from the start?
Safety Boots – Safety Shoes
Anything with a steel or composite safety toe cap will do.
Spades, forks, mattocks could cause a nasty toe injury if you accidentally miss the soil whilst doing the clearance.
Best be safe than sorry.
After the Clearance
If a garden has been neglected for a while the soil will be full of weed seeds just waiting to germinate and put your hard work to ruin.
I would suggest if it is going to be any length of time between the clearance and landscaping work to consider laying a garden membrane to stop weeds from growing.
This will stop weeds from germinating and give you chance to cover from your efforts and plan the next steps for the garden.