• Pitchfork: The pitchfork can quickly move mulch or piles of plant debris. Purchase one with a strong handle and a large head. The larger the head, the more debris you can move with one scoop.
• Wheelbarrow: This is the work horse in your stable of tools. Wheelbarrows can cart mulch, soil, weeds and general plant debris. Two-wheeled carts are not as mobile as the traditional one-wheel cart and should be avoided. Plastic wheelbarrows are slightly lighter than metal and will not rust.
• Chainsaw: This tool is best used when removing entire trees. A good chainsaw has a safety break that stops the chain from moving if the saw kicks back while engaged. Proper chain sharpening and maintenance are important. A high-quality saw is useless with a dull chain. Tree trimming should be completed with a hand saw rather than a chainsaw because a chainsaw can cause improper, hasty cuts. This tool can be extremely dangerous, so proper safety equipment and training are required to operate it.
Owning professional grade tools bring the responsibility of caring for them by regularly cleaning and sharpening them. Hand pruners and loppers should be taken apart, cleaned and sharpened when they become dull. Digging tools such as the pick-axe and the round-headed shovel should also be periodically sharpened and cleaned. Saws are difficult to sharpen, and their blades may be replaced when sufficiently worn. Chainsaws should be cleaned and have their chains sharpened by a reputable dealer, as they become dull after several uses. It is a good idea to keep more than one chain on hand and sharpen them alternately.
Cleaning your tools can be as simple as applying a coat of WD-40 and scrubbing with a wire brush. Sharpening tools is a more difficult task that requires some skill. Digging tools can be sharpened with a file. Work to restore the angle that the tool’s blade held originally by gently filing in one direction along the surface of the blade. Hand pruners and loppers need to be sharpened using a well-oiled sharpening stone. Generally a by-pass pruner will have a beveled edge and a flat edge. The flat edge should be passed over the stone with the entire surface of the blade touching the stone. The beveled side should be passed over the stone at an angle of approximately 23 degrees, which should match the original bevel of the blade. Continue passing each side over the oiled stone until the blade becomes sharpened.