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 (122 cm.). 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
But 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 more 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. And you’ll get better leverage, which is easier on your back.
Your long-handled shovel is also great for digging compost from a compost pile. 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.