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What Is a Grubbing Hoe?

By Cindy Quarters
Updated May 16, 2024
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A grubbing hoe, also called a grub hoe or an azada, is a type of gardening tool that is made for heavier work than a shovel or an ordinary hoe. This particular garden hoe is weighted and comes in a variety of sizes, suitable for different users and different applications. It works well on tough sod, weeds and hard soil.

Like the more conventional garden hoe, a grubbing hoe consists of a long wooden handle with a perpendicular blade attached to one end. The blade is weighted, however, and a large one may weigh in at about 3 pounds (1.4 kg). For best results, the length of the handle should be matched to the height of the user.

When using the grubbing hoe, the user grips it firmly with one hand at one end, and the other one further down the handle. He or she raises the hoe up to waist height, then chops straight down into the soil. The idea is to let the weight of the blade do most of the work, and the user needs only to lift and drop repeatedly to break up tough soil, remove sod or dig up weeds and tree sprouts.

The grubbing hoe comes in two basic styles. One type has a sharpened blade on one side of the handle, and does not have any kind of back side to it. The other type has a sharp, pick-like side opposite the blade of the hoe. This arrangement is similar in appearance to a claw hammer, and is common on older grubbing hoes.

People typically use a grubbing hoe to clear areas infested with large weeds, brambles and sod. Because the grubbing hoe is both sharp and weighted, it is able to handle such heavy work with a minimum of strain and effort on the part of the user. The chopping motion of the weighted blade cuts through roots, stems, grass and soil quite easily, and many people prefer to use a grubbing hoe instead of a tractor or tiller.

Other uses for the grubbing hoe include chopping up soil and compost for gardens, and digging trenches. Open trenches of reasonable depth and a consistent width are easy to dig with this type of hoe, even in hard soil. These can then be used as waterways to provide irrigation for gardens, or as a place to lay pipe or conduit for garden and yard projects, saving a lot of money over renting or buying a power trenching tool or similar device.

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