Don’t be put off by the Dee Weeder’s ugly duckling looks. Its large, square, perforated scoop and sawtooth edges may look funny, but after you’ve used it a few times, you’ll find yourself reaching for it before any of your other hand tools. It’s lightweight and doesn’t require much strength to use.
Removing Weeds and Stones
I got my Dee Weeder in a swag bag at a garden writers’ conference last summer, but didn’t start using it until early spring. I knew I had a bunch of annoying small stones in my raised veggie bed that had been flung there by the snow blower and I also needed to get all of the early weeds out before I could set in my seedlings.The previous spring, I had weeded the bed by hand and that was the pits. It’s too high and too small for me to use a long-handled cultivator and my garden fork just didn’t do the job. Throughout the growing season, those stones would keep washing up and I’d have to pick them out one at a time – a process that seemed endless.
I was astonished at how fast this task went using the Dee Weeder. I cleared a 4’ x 8’ bed in just a few minutes. The stones and the weeds are retained in the scoop, while the soil falls through the holes and back into the bed. I didn’t want the stones mixed with the weeds I planned to put on the compost pile, so I plucked the weeds off the top and dropped the stones in a separate pile.
Planting and Mulching
As a result of last year’s particularly bad winter, we lost most of the plants in our lavender garden. This bed is mainly limestone gravel that serves as a drainage area for stormwater, so it’s very rocky and hard to dig, but I was able to easily set in some new plants using the Dee Weeder.
The refurbished garden looked pretty sparse and I knew we’d have to mulch or be overrun by a forest of weeds within a month. In the past, I’ve used my hands for this job and always hated how the mulchstuck to my gloves. This time, the Undergardener shook the mulch out into small piles that I spread between the plants with the Dee Weeder. Its large size and tines meant I could work quickly, but still easily tuck the mulch under the young plants. No need to dirty my gloves.
While I don’t use commercial fertilizer, mixing soils and fertilizer is another use suggested by the manufacturer.
Reaching Tight Spots
There are places in my garden where I can’t use a rake, even an adjustable one, and I found that the Dee Weeder is perfect for reaching between those closely-planted shrubs and perennials to remove leaves or debris. It also comes in handy for removing soil from plant roots, prior to tossing them in the compost.
The Real Test – Edging
As a laissez-faire gardener, I’m not much into edging my flower beds because it’s so labor-intensive. But there are certain areas close to the house where it really does make a difference.
My Blue Garden backs up against one wall of the house and is edged with flagstones that separate it from the lawn.In full sun for most of the day, the grass is thick, deeply-rooted, and constantly trying to make its way between the flagstones and into the bed. During the twelve years since I planted that bed, I’ve never tried to edge the lawn side of the flagstones, so I thought that would offer a suitable challenge. I was pleasantly surprised at the quick work the Dee Weeder made of this job, enabling me to clear a space three feet long by three inches wide in under five minutes.
Filamentary algae, the stringy floating kind that is common in small ponds and fountains, is easy to scoop out with the Dee Weeder. Its sawtooth tines hold onto the algae when you carry the tool parallel to the ground, but let it slip right off when you point the tines downward. I drop the algae beneath nearby shrubs as plant food.
Specifications and Features
The Dee Weeder is 4”W x 12”L overall and made in one piece of cast aluminum, so it’s sturdy and won’t rust.The scoop is about 4”W x 6”L x 2”D.
The tool is well-balanced, provides good leverage, and fits both big and small hands comfortably (the Undergardener is 6’4” and I’m. 5’1”).
It has a large, non-slip handle with a convenient hanging hole. Although the handle is not cushioned, it is large enough for strain-free use even if you have minor arthritis like I do.
Ease of Use
This is a simple, easy-to-use, low-tech tool, but I did scratch my head about what all of its funny-looking features were supposed to do the first time I used it. No problem. Each tool comes with an illustrated mini-guide/label that takes only a minute to review. If you prefer, you can also watch an online commercial that demonstrates how to use it at www.deeweeder.com .
Clean-up is just a quick spray with the hose, although dried-on clay requires sufficient force and a little bit of rubbing or scraping. Setting it in a pan of water to soak will work, too and conserve water.
I can see that some people might be tempted to use this tool as a pry-bar to dig out large rocks or roots. Don’t. If the tool slips, you could cut yourself on the sharp, sawtooth edges.
I wouldn’t trust a child to use this tool without supervision and young children should not be allowed to play with it.
Made in Canada
The Dee Weeder is made in Quebec, Canada by DSD International, which manufactures a variety of products that includes processing equipment and specialized tools, as well as their own line of horticultural and hardware products.
Where to Buy
This product is available from Dee Weeder in Canada for $14.95CDN plus $8.95CDN shipping and handling, but the company runs bonus offers that lower the total cost. A long-handled version of the tool sells for $29.99CDN plus $12.95CDN shipping, but has not yet been reviewed here. Be aware that some credit cards charge a fee for currency conversion. There are toll-free numbers for ordering and customer service, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For those of you in the USA, the Dee Weeder is also available on Amazon for $23.95 (or less). Amazon shipping is free with a Prime membership or if you spend at least $35 on a single order. At the Territorial Seed Company, the price is $23.50 plus shipping. I’ve also seen it in catalogs that sell a wide variety of household and garden items.
I give this tool a Five-Shovel rating. It’s much more versatile than using a trowel and cultivating fork together, lightweight, and inexpensive. The large scoop enables faster shallow weeding, mulch-spreading, and raking, and is especially handy in raised beds.The sifting holes are a brilliant innovation and save a lot of time, energy, and aggravation for people like me who live where the soil is more stones than soil. I also liked the size, heft, balance, and comfort of the handle. The Dee Weeder should hold up well under normal use.
The Dee Weeder also comes in a long-handled version, which I’d love to try out.We’ll give you an update once we’ve had a chance to test it.
And now over to you – Which weeding tools have you used? What did you like or not like about them? Let us know in the comments below.