Tools For Rose Gardening: The Basics
These Tools Are Listed In The Order Of Their Importance. Buy Good Pruners First!
Rose Informational Page

by Bob Bauer
Hand Pruners: Your Number One Priority
One VITAL tip: you must buy BYPASS pruners and NOT anvil pruners. (That is, they should have a scissors effect. With one blade passing the other and not landing on top of it). Save up your money and buy the best. The Best? Felco brand secateurs. These are Swiss made with quality materials and are very well designed. They are a little pricey but this is your most used tool in the rose garden so it is worth the investment. My preference if for Felco number 8 pruners. They are the ones with the most modern ergonomic design. They also have the same pruners for left handed people - number 9's. They make a nice model for people with small hands - number 6's. Or there is the old fashioned original standard model - number 2's. Felco number 7's are for the professional nurseryman who uses them for hours at a time. They have a rotating handle that prevents carpal tunnel syndrome. This is really not necessary for the home gardener. If you don't have much money you can buy the Martha Stewart Hand Pruner for 10 bucks at K-Mart. It is a knock off of the Felco number 8 design with a little less quality materials, but with a couple of better improvements: an easier to use blade lock and a better grip. I actually have and use both.

After your roses have been around for 3 or more years you will need to get a pair of loppers. Any old brand of these will do, because you won't generally use these a lot. As with most things, you get what you pay for. If you have lots of bux, you can buy Felco loppers.
How to Grow Page
A Good Full Length Shovel
The number two most used garden tool. So make it a good one. A fiberglass throat (for light weight) and a padded handle at the top (for a comfortable blisterless feel) make life a lot easier. That said, don't spend too much here, because the heads on the cheapest and most expensive shovels aren't that different. The bottom line is that you want your shovel to be lightweight yet durable and have a good feel in your hands. The best time to buy a shovel is in the spring when there is almost always a sale on shovels at any home center.
White Specks on the petals
'Stretch Johnson'
A Good Wheelbarrow
No cheap plastic wheelbarrows or carts!!! Don't do it. This is not a toy for the kids, this is an important tool.

Get yourself a good metal contractor's wheelbarrow. This should cost about 50 to 80 bucks. You do not need to spend more. Also, make sure it has lugged tires. You are going to be wheeling it over rose thorns and you want to avoid flat tires. DON'T get a two or 4 wheeled cart (unless you are physically handicapped). These are generally difficult to move around corners and narrow paths. Whereas a wheelbarrow's one wheel can easily be rolled around obstacles.
A Great Fragrant Newer Variety
'Fragrant Apricot'
Gloves and Kneelers
What are kneelers you ask? They are lightweight 8"x15" coated pads with handles that you kneel on in the garden in order to protect your knees. A simple device that is inexpensive and worth 10 times it's weight in gold. They are available at all gardening stores. Strap on knee pads will work just as well, but are a pain to take on and off.

Now on the topic of gloves. Thick Leather work gloves with large cuffs are the ticket. They are inexpensive and easy to find everywhere. If you are really in need of protection, leather welding gauntlet gloves work very well, and are also relatively inexpensive. Lightweight thin gloves of any type just don't work with roses. You WILL be damaged. heh heh
A Long Handled Manure Fork (Pitchfork)
People call this a pitchfork, but it is not. A pitchfork has only 3 tines and cannot lift loose material well. This one has 5 tines.
This tool is almost a necessity. It is used for shoveling compost back and forth and for loading weeds, leaves and garden refuse into a wheelbarrow. No other tool can do this job well.
A Short Handled Garden Digging Fork
You know the kind: Four thick steel tines about 1/2 inch wide and ten inches long, horizontal handle for gripping on the end, thick sturdy handle. This is used for: (1) Loosening the soil around your roses for the addition of fertilizers and amendments. (2) For loosening the soil for yanking out weeds. and (3) For digging up and bare rooting your roses for giving them away in the early spring or late fall (when you have too many........heh heh).
An Easily Detachable Watering Wand
A Watering Wand. Very Very useful for supplementing water when needed, where needed. Good for watering your roses in pots. Make sure that you have a shut off valve at the end of the hose. Also make SURE that it is easily detachable from the hose, so you can use it with different hoses in different places. The best way to do this is to buy the easy detach hardware made of brass that is available in several different brands at most garden and hardware stores. DO NOT buy plastic fittings!!! You will regret it. Buy Brass only. Now you can spend from 6 to 60 dollars on a watering wand, but in my experience there is little difference between them. Make sure they are made of metal, not plastic. The best one for the money I have seen is at Wal-Mart. It only costs 6 bucks.
Steel Rebar for making stakes and climbing rose trellises.
It is very inexpensive and durable, and in my opinion the best way to make sturdy stakes and trellises for your roses and other garden plants. I always keep a bunch of 5, 6 and 10 foot sections of 3/8 inch diameter rebar for reinforcing canes and bushes in the garden. Available at any place like Home Depot or Lowes.
A Chipper/Shredder
Yes, I realize this is a luxury and not a basic. But it can't be beat for grinding up all of your garden wastes and making what I consider to be one of the most important things in gardening: COMPOST! When plant material is ground up before it is piled into the compost pile, it will fully compost in a third of the time or less. I have seen ground material completely composted in less than month, whereas large pieces can take up to a year to do the same thing.

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