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I have different types of weeds in my garden, some 50cm (~1½ ft) tall or more. What's the best (and cheapest) tool to remove those?

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    Gloved hands and elbow grease? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 May 31 '15 at 19:30
  • Wow, that makes sense :) Not really an expert in gardening. Should I just pull them out with root and all? – drake035 May 31 '15 at 20:16
  • I'm not an expert either ... mind you that was a little serious but more tongue-in-cheek. It's just the cheapest method I know of. Using a small spade and that and you should be golden. It's just a little too much kneeling for me, though '-) – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 May 31 '15 at 20:54
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What makes a weed a weed?

Plants that grow where we don't want them to - either because we find them unattractive or because they compete with plants we prefer in a specific place.

Unfortunately, "not all weeds are created equal", that means, some are quite harmless benign little creatures that simply happen to have germinated in the wrong spot. They can be pulled out easily or are even nice enough to die if we go at them with a hoe or a rake. Some can be simply mowed down.

Other weeds are of a more resistant and invasive nature: Leave some roots in the soil and they will come back, cut the seed heads too late or deposit them in a too-cool compost heap and your garden will resemble an alien invasion next summer. This is where many gardeners start chemical warefare. Others go down on their knees. Not to pray to the gods of horticulture (although, who knows...), but to dig out even the smallest root fragments and some learn to recognize their opponents by their cotyledons and literally nip (or rip) the problem in the bud.

The tools that may come in handy in these cases are a small hand trowel, a "weed extractor" or narrow, long trowel for thistles and other deep rooted weeds and an old knife or something like this for clearing narrow cracks.

A hot bath and someone to massage your sore muscles after an extended weeding session are not mandatory, but certainly recommended...

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You can't beat a garden fork, it's always been my method of choice - a full sized one with the longer tines, not a border fork, for cheapness. It requires your own effort of course, and it depends on what the weed is as to how efficient it (and you) will be at getting out the roots (some weeds have fragile roots and any left behind will regrow), and it means you have to bend down and pick up the weed, maybe extracting the root from the clump of soil too. For small, newly germinated weeds, a hoe is good.

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By trying to pull out weeds by hand you will soon discover which have shallow roots and are easier to pull, and which have deeper roots, which break off when you pull the top out, and grow again later from said taproot.

  • For shallow rooted plants, like crab grass: I use a garden claw to loosen the soil, then pull the plant out, roots and all.
  • For roots that go deeper or have a tap root: I use a shovel to pull up the plant, then I shake the dirt off the roots and toss the weed away.
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