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What is a Round Point Shovel?

By J.S. Metzker Erdemir
Updated May 16, 2024
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A round point shovel is a versatile gardening tool. The blade of the shovel is slightly curved for scooping, and the end is round, often curving to a point in the middle. The edges of the blade are beveled to allow the shovel to slice into dirt, and the long handle can be made of wood or fiberglass. Some shovel handles have a D-grip at the top, making them easier to maneuver.

Unlike larger square point shovels which are used for scraping or lifting lighter materials like snow or manure, a round point shovel can be used for digging large holes or scooping heavier material, such as rocks or wet soil. The sharp edges make these shovels useful for cutting into sod or root material, and their bowl-like shape allows them to lift and move plants from the soil. A durable round point shovel can even be used as a hammer or to break apart compacted soil. A small round point shovel, or trowel, is useful for weeding, digging small holes, and transplanting small plants.

It is important to consider the quality when buying a new shovel because poor-quality shovels can bend, break, or cause more strain on the user’s back. The blade of a high-quality round point shovel is forged from a single piece of steel and not made from stamped steel, which can bend. The top of the blade should be flat so it’s more comfortable to step on. The part of the blade that attaches to the handle, called the tang, should be long and firmly bolted to the handle to keep these parts from separating. The handle should be made from ash, hickory, or fiberglass, and the length of the handle should be comfortable for the user’s height and strength.

A well maintained shovel can last for many years. Fiberglass handles are water and weather-resistant, but wood handles need extra care. Sand off any finish applied by the manufacturer, and rub the handle with linseed oil once or twice a year to protect it and keep it from splintering. The blade of a round point shovel should be thoroughly cleaned after each use and left to dry completely before storing in order to prevent rust. Wash off all the dirt with water and chip away any hardened mud. Apply oil to the metal parts of a shovel to prevent rust during winter storage.

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Discussion Comments
By gravois — On Nov 03, 2011

A round point shovel is one of the most valuable garden hand tools. There are many gardeners that have been using the same one for years and some people prize them the way people prize old baseball mitts.

By jonrss — On Nov 02, 2011

I want to tell you guys a story about one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. I live in Minnesota. A few winters ago I went over to a friend of mines house and ended up sleeping on his couch.

When I went outside the next morning I discovered that it had snowed over a foot and I had locked myself out of his house. My car was buried in snow and I couldn't get my friend to wake up and help me out.

I didn't have any gloves so I was desperate to find something I could dig out all this snow with. The ground was covered up so I had no idea what was lying around but I was able to find a small round point shovel.

It had to work and I made it work but my hands got so cold! It took almost 30 minutes of frantic work. I'm glad that I had something, but that little shovel was probably the worst possible tool.

By julies — On Nov 02, 2011

Has anyone else ever bought a cheap hand shovel only to have it bend and break on you when you are using it?

I have had this happen to me more than once, and I will no longer spend my money on a cheap garden spade.

I always like to keep more than one trowel around as they seem to get misplaced easily or left outside. I figured if I bought inexpensive ones, I wouldn't worry so much about it.

The problem is they are not very sturdy and many times they would not hold up to what I was trying to do. I wasn't even trying to do something that required that much work.

Something as simple as transplanting some perennials from one spot to another caused one of them to break.

A hand shovel is something I probably use more than any other garden tool, and having a heavy duty one has become very important.

By myharley — On Nov 01, 2011

I would be lost without my garden shovel. From the beginning of spring until frost, I use it for many things.

Once you use a round point shovel for your gardening work, you will never want to use a square one again.

When I moved into my first house, I didn't have many gardening tools, and was trying to use a square shovel to dig up some hosta plants.

A neighbor saw what I was trying to do, and came over with a round point shovel for me to use. What a difference it made!

Now I will never be without one. One thing I always do is make sure it is clean when I put it away for winter. This way when spring comes, it is ready to use and has not rusted being stored through the long winter months.

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