Remove Weeds Naturally: Puller Tools That Work
If you asked most gardeners what their greatest frustration was, most of them would likely give the same answer: weeds. These invasive and virulent plants choke out all other life in their quest for dominance. They're just doing what nature intended, but it can be frustrating to watch your beautiful flowers and tasty vegetables be overwhelmed by unsightly scrub.
I'm not a big fan of using chemicals to control plants, so the best option in most cases is to pull them out by hand. That's a taxing task, but fortunately there are many devices and tools that make weed removal a snap. Choosing the best weeding tool not only improves your efficiency—it saves your back as well.
By writing this article, I'm hoping to point you towards the best weed removal tool for your situation. I'll be taking a close look at a handful of great options, focusing especially on devices that are back friendly (I'm tall and I hate bending down), effective and simple to use. If you have any questions or if you have something to add that I may have missed, please feel free to post a comment at the bottom.
What Makes the Best Weeding Tool?
A good quality weed puller tool is worth its weight in gold. Why? Because if they do the job right, your garden will be much easier to maintain, and you'll be required to weed less often.
Here are a few things that the top weed pullers do right.
Isolate the Weed
A good quality weed remover tool pulls up the whole weed plant effectively, and it doesn't damage the good plants in the process. The key is in how they isolate the plant and the roots you're targeting. Some of the less well made versions will damage a large area, whereas the good ones are in and out like a ninja.
Take the Whole Root System
You probably know this already, but most weeds propagate through their root systems. That means that even if you take the plant at the surface, the roots can spread and pop up in new locations. The only way to combat this is with a weed removal tool that not only gets the plant, but the whole root system too. I think you'll find that the suggestions I offer do that job quite nicely.
Save your Back
I'm a tall guy and the constant bend and straighten involved in pulling unwanted plants can really take a toll on your back. The top garden weeding tools have a long handle and a foot-operated puller, or some other clever solution. That saves a lot of wear and tear on the old spine.
Tacklife: An Effective, Easy-to-Use Weed-Control Tool
This is a popular weed puller tool that you'll see in many of the 'big box' stores. The Tacklife stand-up weed puller is popular for a few reasons, but one feature that I will particularly commend it on is the ease of use. If you're someone who suffers from back pain, reduced mobility or arthritis, or even if you're just tall like me, this is a nice option for you.
The design is really quite simple. The bottom of the tool has three stainless steel claws with a space in between. You position those three claws around the weed you're trying to remove from the ground. Then you push the claws into the ground using the attached foot pedal for extra leverage. In most soil, it should go in quite easily.
Once it's in the ground, you pull back using the foot pedal as a fulcrum, and the leverage you create should pull the whole weed up out of the ground. Then, you can slide down the release handle and the claws will let go of the weeds so you can put them in your compost or green waste bin.
This smart weed puller removal tool is great because the handle is nice and long, which means you don't have to bend down or rest on your knees while you're weeding. The quick release means you can weed your whole garden quite quickly.
On the whole it is a solid, well made product, and one of the best weed puller tools around.
Drill Till: A Great Tool for Removing Weeds and Planting Bulbs
If you have a portable drill already, you owe it to yourself to check out the Drill Till system. Why do all the hard work when you may already have a powerful, handheld drill that can do it for you?
The Drill Till system is really smart. It is about 36 inches long, and as it spins it will catch the foliage and the root systems of any weeds that are unfortunate enough to get in its way.
In addition to the weed spinner / puller, there's also a hole digger attachment and a tilling head. Whether you're spinning out garden weeds, planting bulbs or turning over soil, this kit is extremely helpful.
With the amount of torque that most cordless electric drills have these days, you'll be impressed by how strong this system is. Just be sure to hold on, and avoid catching the good plants!
This is one of the top weed removal tools because it's portable, quick, simple to use and precise. It's not something you can always use from a standing position, but it is a lot more effective than most handheld pullers.
Why reinvent the wheel? Take advantage of your cordless drill and let the Weed Spinner do the hard work.
Note: Another similar system, the Weed Claw, is worth checking out. There are two attachments in this kit. The first one is a bulb drill that digs small holes in your garden when it is time to plant bulbs or flowers. The bulb drill also aerates your soil pretty nicely, and it's great for mixing in fertilizer.
Yard Butler: A Classic and Effective Stand-Up Weeding Tool
This is a somewhat similar setup to the Tacklife puller reviewed earlier, but it's different in a few ways. The Yard Butler is another fantastic, organic weed remover that will last a long time.
First off, it has a horizontal top bar that makes utilizing it quite easy. It's nice if you prefer to lean on something for extra leverage. The serrated steel claw will dig pretty easily into most soil types, and this weed pulling tool has a generous stepper that you can stand on for extra force if you're dealing with clay.
Once you have the weed firmly fixed in the claws, you just pull back and let the leverage of the long arm do the work. Once the whole weed is out of the ground, you can use the push knob on the top to easily release the weed into your green waste bin. This system makes removal a snap, and you'll be amazed how quickly you can deal with a sizeable infestation.
Yard Butler is a well-known, popular brand with a few other offerings (such as a pretty awesome hand tiller), and it's been around forever for a good reason: it just works. It's one of the better weed puller tools out there.
Red Dragon Torch Kit: A Fun Weed-Removal Tool
This is a weed puller tool that might end up being too much fun. The Red Dragon is a propane-powered weed killer torch kit. That's right, you get to burn those nasty weeds into submission.
Note: Before I get further in, I'm going to state the obvious: fire is not a toy, and this is a tool that requires a brain. Make sure you're using it in a safe way, with water or an extinguisher on hand, and make sure that using this tool complies with your city's bylaws.
OK, with that disclaimer out of the way, let me say that this weed removal tool is the best! Seriously, what a fun thing to use. You hook it up to a propane tank, and once it is lit you just position the burner head over top of any plant you want to get rid of. It heats up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, so those pests don't stand a chance.
The handle is 23 inches long, and the hose stretches for 10 feet. I'd recommend getting a propane cylinder dolly to move easily around your yard as you go.
This is actually a really nice system for removing tough to reach weeds, like the kind that grow in the cracks between flagstones and pavement, or along the base of a chain link fence. It's an effective weed control method that doesn't involve the use of chemicals.
Of course, burning the weeds may not eliminate a virulent root network, so you may have to scorch large infestations more than once (oh darn!).
You'll also find the Red Dragon useful for other applications, such as thawing frozen water pipes. It heats up very quickly and allows you to pinpoint exactly what you want to burn. The Red Dragon is an effective and fun weeding tool, one of the best around in my opinion!
Other Tips for Effective Weed Control and Lasting Removal
Even if you get the best weed pulling removal tool on the market, you may still be frustrated by certain plants. Invasive species can be tough to tackle, and sometimes it's fairly out of your control. I'd really encourage you to avoid using herbicides and stick to more traditional methods.
- A garden weed barrier is an effective way to keep pesky plants out of your veggies. It requires a little planning before you start to plant, but a good barrier is impermeable by the root systems of invasive plants like thistles and dandelions.
- Make use of mulch. Mulch effectively prevents weeds from receiving adequate sunlight during the spring, and that prevents them from taking over. Mulch has the added side benefit of also making a garden look very tidy and great. There are many different types of mulch, including straw, shredded bark and wood chips. Used in combination with a weed barrier, you'll be in good shape.
- Hoeing is an effective way to both aerate soil and break up the roots and shoots of early sprouting weeds. Get out there with a sharp hoe and make some room for your wanted plants to grow and thrive!
Thanks for reading, I hope this article was helpful. Be sure to say hello below!
© 2014 Garden Boy
jim on July 04, 2019:
poison ivy.. dont want to be close to it.
andrea temples on September 11, 2017:
Instead of grass, I have tons of rocks in my yard. As I get older, 75 female with arthritis in hands and back, I am finding it very difficult to remove weeds in my yard. Some of the tools you mention sound good, but I am not sure they will work getting the weeds out of the rocks. I use a shovel to dislodge the weed, bend over and pull. It is almost impossible to do this type work here in Florida with 80 and 90 degree weather. The men I have been able to hire do NOT want to do this type of manual labor. In fact, it is almost impossible to find anyone who wants to work, period. I love working in my yard, and it is what has kept me as healthy as I am. Please help me find a tool that I can use for the weeds in my rock yard. Thank you for your work.
Darryl on June 07, 2017:
Hi there. I have the Fiskars 4 claw weeder. I found this to be a really great weeder. but the plastic Fiskars uses does not last with the stress created from the fulcrum point of the tool. I have mentioned this to Fiskars and in my Amazon review. Also, Fiskars has a lifetime warranty given normal use. I sent a picture of the catastrophic failure to Fiskars and posted on Amazon. I had to move my 5 star rating down to a 3 star. I purchased the weeder in Aug of 2014. I started noticing the stress cracks after pulling about a hundred weeds during the first season. I kept using it for the next few seasons and guessing I pulled about a thousand weeds before it recently broke - June 2017. I've seen some comments on Amazon that it broke after only pulling about 30 weeds. I wrote to Fiskars warranty program and received a reply that they're sending me a new one. I hope this review helps.
Travis on April 08, 2017:
I wanted to try the Fiskars weed tool but my local home Depot didn't have it in. So I went to Lowe's and got the Garden Weasel Weedpopper and love it! I've had it for a little over a week and have went through the whole yard effortlessly. I did a review of it on YouTube https://youtu.be/Pm_6eAjvaus
Trying to stay on top of my lawn so it doesn't run away on me with weeds. Also, I don't want to put chemicals down if I don't have to.
JKL on July 18, 2016:
Bishop's weed (snowcaps on the mountain)...
Dave on February 10, 2016:
Try the Weed Zinger. You actually shoot the weed into a bucket. No more bending or pounding the release button. It can shoot as far as 15' with a gentle swinging of the arm. Kids love it.
jo on May 24, 2015: