Rakes come in two varieties for use in the yard: lawn rakes and garden rakes. Each has a particular purpose.
Use the Right Rake
Yard rakes will help you get the autumn leaves out of your garden and also remove any other debris. Don’t even think of planting seeds in a garden that has not first been cleared. Young, tender plants cannot force themselves through decaying leaves, twigs or other matter that may have accumulated in the garden over the winter.
A garden rake with tines that have some spring action can be used without causing too much damage to any existing plants. A narrow rake can maneuver around plants easier, but a wide rake makes quicker work of leaves. As with trowels, many rakes now come with ergonomic handles that put less stress on your back.
Garden rakes are able to break up the soil and smooth it down; thereby creating a clean area that is also free of debris and large stones. The teeth on a garden rake should be sharp enough to break up the soil, while the back part should be flat to tamp down the dirt. A bow rake is often used in a garden. As the name implies, this type of rake has long, curved bowed tines making it much easier to work in the soil.
Most garden rakes are about 60 inches long with handles that are made from fiberglass or hardwood. An average size rake head contains about 14 or 16 tines. When choosing a garden rake, note the shape of the teeth on the tines. They should be sharp enough to pull stones and other debris away from the plants, yet be able to smoothly rake over a cleared patch of soil.
Additional Tips for Buying a Garden Rake
Forged tools are more expensive, but they will last longer. Make your final selection after you check out all the key features of the tool. While long handled rakes are easier on your back, short handles provide you with more control especially around valuable plants.
Clean your tools after using them and when you store them away for the winter, apply a coat of wax to the tines to keep them in top working shape for the spring planting season. A garden rake will get a lot of use, so taking care of it will make it last longer. Buy the best that you can afford; this type of tool is a must-have and you will be reaping the rewards of a good garden rake for years to come.