Saturday, May 18, 2013

Garden Tool Review - Weed Wrench

Have you ever been plagued by saplings in your shrubs, mesquite in your meadow or privet around your pond? Digging woody invasives that have gotten too big to pull by hand can be a real challenge to get rid of. Digging is often out of the question because of collateral damage to desirable plants. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to just pluck these pests straight out of the ground? You can, with a Weed Wrench.

I found out about this cool tool at a lecture about managing invasive plants at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. When I got home, I looked up the product online and after reading about it, ordered the largest one they had. My husband has pulled a small, 10-12 foot elm tree that was crowding our barn. Because of their taproots, pecans must be pulled before reaching 3-4 feet. What size woody plant can be pulled, is a combination of root development and soil moisture. I wish I had found this tool many years before I did. It has been invaluable in clearing out mesquite that has tried to colonize our pasture and for clearing saplings from our fence rows.

The Weed Wrench is basically a giant orange lever with jaws. These jaws clamp around the base of the plant that you wish to pull and hold it firmly while you pull back on the top of the lever. Your pulling and gripping forces are multiplied such that it is amazing to see what you are able to just pop out of the ground. The weed wrench comes in several sizes to match the job at hand. We ordered the next size down from the biggest one later for me to use as it was easier for me to lug around. The product’s website has some useful tips for selecting a size and using a Weed Wrench.

Because less soil surface is broken when using the Weed Wrench to remove woody pests than if you were to dig them out, fewer weed seeds will sprout in areas that need a lot of clearing. Less disturbance also occurs below ground when you use the Weed Wrench to pluck an unwanted plant that some bird planted among your prized roses, or other prized plants. In addition, you will expend much less energy wrenching rather than digging your unwanted woody pests.

This tool can also be used to pull up “T” posts and other stakes. If any of these examples sound like something you could use a bit of help with, check out the Weed Wrench to see if it could be a solution for you. (I am not affiliated with the company that makes this tool, I’m just a very happy customer.)

(The photos in this post demonstrate the Weed Wrench being used to pull an almost 6' mulberry tree from next to a clump of ironweed and a chain link fence. In the third photo you can see how nicely the root is being plucked straight out without the ironweed being disturbed.)

Update: While the original maker of the product ceased production, the rights have been sold to someone else where you can find their Uprooter or Weed Wrench.

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