Tackle your Scotch broom and other weeds with weed control tools from your local tool libraries

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.

Capitol Hill Tool Library volunteers get supplied with weed wrenches and other weed control tools courtesy of King County Noxious Weed Control’s Healthy Lands Project
Capitol Hill Tool Library volunteers get supplied with weed wrenches and other weed control tools courtesy of King County Noxious Weed Control’s Healthy Lands Project. Photo by Dan Sorensen.

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!

West Seattle Tool Library with their new weed control tools ready for inventory
West Seattle Tool Library with their new weed control tools ready for inventory. Besides loaning out tools, some tool libraries like this one have shared workspace and equipment for doing repairs and other work. Photo by Sasha Shaw.

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:

SE Seattle Tool Library volunteers are ready for some weed control action!
SE Seattle Tool Library volunteers are ready for some weed control action! The electric hedge trimmer is great for clearing blackberry thickets and the weed wrenches are amazing on Scotch broom and small holly stems. Photo by Dan Sorensen.

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.

Vashon Tool Library takes delivery of their new weed wrenches, hedge trimmer, pole saw, and some sturdy digging tools
Vashon Tool Library takes delivery of their new weed wrenches, hedge trimmer, pole saw, and some sturdy digging tools. Photo by Liz Illg.

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 noxious.weeds@kingcounty.gov and let us know. Find a tool library and other resources on our Healthy Lands Project web page.

South King Tool Library with their new weed wrenches
South King Tool Library with their new weed wrenches. They are open for business and ready to help you find the perfect tool for the job! Photo by Sasha Shaw.

Learn more about weeds and gardening:

King County Noxious Weed Control Program

NW Natural Yard and Garden Resources

Garden Hotline

Tool Libraries in King County, Washington (as of July 2021)



Categories: Weed Control

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2 replies

  1. Contact someone with goats! They will graze anywhere & even eat blackberry stems!

    • Excellent tip, thanks! There are goat herders who have trained their goats to focus on weeds like blackberry and they can also help keep the goats safe and contained in the area you want munched. Even if you don’t hire a professional, make sure you have someone who knows how to manage goats in order to avoid accidental damage to your rose bushes or other equally tasty plants!

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