Trowel savvy

A buyer's guide to the most-used garden tool

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Trowel savvy

General-purpose trowel by Fiskars with stainless steel blade ($21.50 Denman & Company); crevice trowel with forged-steel blade by Red Pig ($14.50 Denman); transplanting trowel with aluminum blade by Corona Clipper ($4.99 Corona Clipper); folding stainless steel trowel comes with a leather belt pouch ($27 Smith & Hawken).

Thomas J. Story

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The trowel is practically the only tool you need for gardening in containers and raised beds, and for transplanting annuals, perennials, and vegetables. Considering how indispensable it is, it makes sense to spend a little time shopping for a trowel that best meets your particular needs.

Three main types

General-purpose trowels typically have 3- to 4-inch-wide blades. If you own only one trowel, this is the type to get.

Transplanting trowels have blades about 1 1/2 to 3 inches wide. Most of these have inch/centimeter markings on their blades to help you plant bulbs or seeds at the recommended depths.

Crevice trowels have the narrowest blades, about 1 1/4 inches wide. They're designed for work among the crannies of rock gardens.



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