Linda Benedict, Parish, Richard L.
Most garden tools have fixed handles that may be made of wood, fiberglass or metal. But an LSU AgCenter engineer says some tools now are available with separate handle and toolhead components that can be interchanged as desired.
"Handles for this system are available in both wood and aluminum and in several lengths and configurations," says Dr. Dick Parish at the LSU AgCenter’s Hammond Research Station.
The toolheads lock when a projecting prong on the toolhead is pushed into the handle, he says. Pushing a button on the handle releases the toolhead.
Although the system features common toolheads such as garden rakes, lawn rakes and garden forks, Parish says it also offers a number of unusual toolheads, including several types of scuffle hoes.
"These hoes are excellent for slicing off weeds under the surface of the soil, and some work very well close to crop plants." Parish says.
He points out an interesting and useful tool called the "crumbler" that combines a rolling tine cultivator to break up the crust with a scuffle hoe to undercut the soil and slice weed stems.
"This tool is easy to use and very effective in a vegetable garden," Parish says.
The interchangeable tools are available as small tools with short handles for close-up gardening and as larger tools with long handles for stand-up work.
Parish says these tools may be found in some major home center chains.
"They are designed to be homeowner tools, not professional tools," he says. "These tools will not replace dedicated, heavy-duty garden tools for extensive work but offer a useful alternative for the homeowner. And some of the more unusual tools such as the ‘crumbler’ are not otherwise available."
They certainly conserve space in the garage or garden shed, he adds.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture