To help people tackle tough weeds without spending so much on tools, King County Noxious Weeds’ Healthy Lands Project is partnering with local tool libraries to make specialty tools more available. We dropped off tools at the tool libraries earlier this summer and they are ready for action.
What is a tool library, you ask? It is a community-based organization with a mission of sustainability, reduced waste, and shared resources. We are fortunate to have eight tool libraries in King County, mostly in Seattle, but also two outside of the city, with at least one more under development. Each organization has a slightly different process for membership and borrowing tools, but they all operate with the goal of making tools available to everyone with low barriers to participation. And of course, they all love to help people find the right tool to match the job!
Many tools that work great on noxious weeds are expensive and you might only need them for a short time. Some tools we really like are:
- weed wrenches for Scotch broom and holly saplings,
- electric hedge trimmers for clearing blackberry tickets,
- Pulaskis, mattocks, and blackberry hoes for grubbing out roots,
- pole saws and pruning saws for ivy vines, and
- hori-horis for weeds like tansy ragwort.
The weed wrench is ideal for English holly’s deep roots and sturdy stems. Photos by Sasha Shaw.
The Healthy Lands Project wants to make it easier for everyone to benefit their lands by removing invasive weeds. One way to do this is to make tools more available and the tool libraries already provide this service, so it made perfect sense to work together. We distributed a variety of tools to the tool libraries based on what they thought their users would need most, including at least a couple of weed wrenches or uprooters for each library. These tools are on long-term loan and will be there as long as the tool libraries need them, and people use them.
Is there a patch of Scotch broom just calling to you, or perhaps a sea of little holly trees in your woods that are past the hand-pulling stage? Or maybe you’re in the mood to tackle blackberries and just need a sturdy hoe or mattock to rip out those roots. If you have a tough weed job and don’t find the right tool at your local tool library, let us know. We want to know what works best and help make that available to people. In the end, we all benefit from each person’s work to remove invasive weeds and steward their lands! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. Find a tool library and other resources on our Healthy Lands Project web page.
Learn more about weeds and gardening:
Tool Libraries in King County, Washington (as of July 2021)