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What are the Different Types of Cultivator Tools?

Cultivator tools are essential for any gardener, designed to aerate soil and remove weeds. Hand cultivators, like the classic three-pronged fork, are perfect for small gardens, while larger rotary tillers suit extensive plots. There's also the specialized stirrup hoe for precision weeding. Each tool has its unique purpose. Ready to unearth the perfect cultivator for your gardening needs?
Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

Cultivator is a word that can describe a person who removes weeds and works in soil. It can also describe the implements that are used to perform these tasks. As there are many types of people who can consider themselves cultivators, there are also many types of cultivator tools. Some of them are fairly common, while others may be less familiar even to those who regularly engage in lawn and gardening tasks.

Shovels are examples of cultivator tools that most people are familiar with. These tools are designed to dig into soil or other material, to lift it, and to transport it, if necessary. Usually a shovel has a metal bottom that is shaped like a scoop and has sharp edges. Traditionally, shovels were attached to long wooden handles. Now, these cultivator tools can come in a range of sizes and lengths.

Shovels are designed to dig and lift soil.
Shovels are designed to dig and lift soil.

Spades are cultivator tools that are very similar to shovels, and sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably. The spade, however, has its own identity. Whereas shovels tend to have broad scoop-like bottoms, spades tend to be flat. These tools are best used for digging.

A hoe is a hand tool that usually consists of a long handle connected to a metal head. The hoe compares to the spade in that it is not usually designed to lift materials and carry them like shovels. It differs from both the spade and the shovel because, in most cases, the flat head is at a right angle to the handle, and is designed for overhand motion. This design tends to add more versatility, making the hoe a good choice for hilling, digging, and chopping weeds.

A hand cultivator is a tool used by gardeners to work the soil.
A hand cultivator is a tool used by gardeners to work the soil.

A high wheel cultivator is a tool that can ease the user’s workload by allowing her to accomplish tasks faster. High wheel cultivators have simple designs but can be sophisticated garden companions. Usually, the machine is simply composed of two handles connected to a large wheel. An attachment mechanism descends from the arms and allows the user to add a variety of accessories that can act as rakes, hoes, and spades.

Garden hoes are used to turn soil and eliminate weeds.
Garden hoes are used to turn soil and eliminate weeds.

A low wheel cultivator normally has a similar design to the high wheel cultivator. One of the biggest visual differences is that the wheel is smaller. The advantage of the smaller wheel is that it may cause more force to be exerted for soil penetration and other tasks. One disadvantage is that a smaller wheel does not move over uneven ground as easily, and may require more effort by the user.

Five-tine animal drawn cultivators are tools that can add speed to a job and alleviate some of the effort required of a person. These mechanisms are usually pulled by horses and have tines that work the ground as they are pulled. Some are designed so that a person can walk behind and grasp protruding handles. Others are designed with seats so that users can be pulled along.

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Discussion Comments


@spotiche5- I plant all kinds of seed in my garden, and I think that the best garden cultivator is by far a garden hoe. Since it can be used for so many different purposes, it can literally be used from the beginning of the planting season through harvest time.

In the spring, you will be able to prepare your soil with the hoe. You can use this tool to break up the dirt, then to make rows in your garden area. Once you put the seeds in the soil, you can use the hoe to push the dirt over them to cover them for germination.

Once your plants have sprouted, your hoe will come in handy when it comes to keeping the soil workable. By hoeing around each plant, you will help the growth process by keeping the soil loose around the base of the plants.

As your plants mature, the hoe can also be used to remove weeds that grow around them and in between the rows. A hoe is easy to use to chop them down, or to lift them up out of the dirt by the roots.

I think that the only other cultivator tool that you might need when it comes to planing beans and corn is a shovel. When fall roles around the your plants are done producing, you can use a shovel to remove the old plants in preparation for the next planting season.


Next planting season, I am planning to grow some beans and corn from seed for the first time. What is the best type of cultivator tools to use to grow these types of crops?

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    • Shovels are designed to dig and lift soil.
      By: soupstock
      Shovels are designed to dig and lift soil.
    • A hand cultivator is a tool used by gardeners to work the soil.
      By: johnbraid
      A hand cultivator is a tool used by gardeners to work the soil.
    • Garden hoes are used to turn soil and eliminate weeds.
      By: xalanx
      Garden hoes are used to turn soil and eliminate weeds.