How to Hoe Weeds

The hoe is an important weapon in the gardener's war against weeds. The steel blade sinks into the earth to remove weeds and stir the soil, thus giving keeper plants more moisture, nutrients, and growing space. There are numerous types of hoes for sale today, plus a variety of techniques to hoe weeds. The basic hoe consists of a flat blade attached at an angle to a handle that is long and straight.


  1. 1
    Make sure the hoe fits your height. The hoe's handle should be long enough to let you stand upright. This will prevent you from getting a sore back while hoeing weeds. Also, the hoe's handle should feel comfortable in your hands.
  2. 2
    Wield the hoe's blade in fluid sweeping motions like a broom when targeting weeds. The blade should dip easily beneath the dirt and skim the surface.
  3. 3
    Change hands occasionally while hoeing weeds so that you use muscles on both sides of your body. Consider taking short breaks if you have a large area to weed, or if the weeds are particularly difficult to remove.
  4. 4
    Adapt your weeding techniques to the condition of the weeds and the type of hoe you're using. Different designs of hoes are wielded in slightly different ways. Personal preference also plays a role in which type of hoe you feel most comfortable using when hoeing weeds.
    • Select a hoe with a blade sharply angled to the handle for severing annual weeds. Slip the garden tool across the dirt and dive just below the surface. Annual weeds are the easiest to eradicate.
    • Cut down small perennial weeds at ground level when hoeing. Larger perennial weeds require you to go back and remove the whole root system to discourage the weeds from returning.
    • Target heavy weeds with a hoe that has a blade angled perpendicular to the handle.
    • Use a stirrup hoe to cut weeds below the surface in areas that are open and without mulch. The blade of this garden tool is shaped like a stirrup.
    • Sever weeds at the crown with an oscillating hoe, which is shaped similarly to a stirrup hoe.
    • Eliminate weeds by sweeping a shuffle hoe, which looks like a golf putter, across the dirt's surface and slightly underneath.
  5. 5
    Work with caution and accuracy when hoeing weeds in your garden. The hoe should pass between plant rows without harming the keeper plants.
  6. 6
    Keep your garden under control by frequently hoeing weeds. This lets you attack the weeds while they are young, small and not yet well-established. Weeds are most vulnerable when they're seedlings.


  • Keep hoes in good condition by regularly sharpening the blade with a file. A sharp hoe is more efficient and less tiring to use.
  • More physical effort is needed to hoe weeds with a wide blade than one with a narrow blade.
  • Weeding can be a time-consuming task. Some gardeners make it more enjoyable by swinging the hoe to the beat of their favorite music.

Things You'll Need

  • Hoe
  • File

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds