What Is A Long Handled Shovel: Garden Uses For Long Handled Shovels

Person Digging Hole In Dirt With A Long Handled Shovel
long handle shovel
(Image credit: Latvian)

Tools are supposed to make a gardener’s life easier, so what’s a long-handled shovel going to do for you? The answer is: a lot. The uses for long-handled shovels are many and both your garden and your back will thank you. What is a long-handled shovel? When do you use long-handled shovels? If you are unclear about where to stand on the long vs. short-handled shovel debate, read on.

What is a Long-Handled Shovel?

Shovels are tools for digging and lifting. You use shovels for digging up a flower bed and working compost into the soil. A long-handled shovel is a shovel with a long handle, up to 48 inches (1 m.). It usually does not have any type of metal grip on the tip of the shovel handle. The easiest way to recognize a long-handled shovel is when it is lined up against a wall with a short-handled shovel. Short-handled shovels tend to be heavy, with shorter handles often terminating in “D-grips.”

When to Use Long-Handled Shovels

How do you decide long vs. short-handled shovels? When are long-handled shovels best? Uses for long-handled shovels are many and varied in the garden. In fact, many experts think that long-handled shovels are better for almost any task. Long-handled shovels are usually lighter. They allow you to stand upright most of the time and to bend over less. Short-handled shovels were developed for digging work in tight spaces, like wartime trenches or coal mines. On the other hand, if you are quite short you may prefer to use short-handled shovels since you’ll find them easier to control.

Uses for Long-Handled Shovels

If you are wondering specifically when to use long-handled shovels, they are better for tree planting and other hole digging. Long-shovel handles can reach deep into a hole. You’ll also get better leverage, which is easier on your back. Your long-handled shovel is great for digging compost from a compost pile as well. It’s good for moving mulch too. When you are picking a long-handled shovel, go for something lightweight. Experts say that for long-handled shovels, the most important criterion for ease of use is weight. The lighter the shovel, the easier time you will have digging.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.