Depending on a landscaping company’s size and the kind of work it takes on, equipment fleets may include dump trucks, compact excavators, mini skid steers and the like, along with ample numbers of zero-turn mowers.
And while having the right equipment for a job is essential, the nature of landscaping means some of the most important tools on a given project – especially a project involving extensive plant installation – are measured in ounces, not tons.
Handheld tools can include a variety of power equipment, of course, such as string trimmers, blowers, hedge trimmers and even chainsaws. Just search the Total Landscape Care website for Stihl, Honda, Husqvarna or Toro – to name only a few manufacturers – and you’ll find numerous stories that speak to small power equipment’s key role in landscape work.
But what about the other handheld tools – those powered only by the person using them?
Not surprisingly, much of the attention devoted to items like pointed hoes or bypass pruners, three-tined rakes or narrow trowels, can be found in horticulture circles, including nursery and gardening publications. There one discovers quickly that a wide variety of handheld tools – including several from European manufacturers – have fiercely loyal followers.
Among domestic suppliers, A.M. Leonard is among the most popular. Asked which of the company’s tools seem to be the best sellers among landscapers, A.M. Leonard’s senior ecommerce administrator, Amy Domer, said there are several longtime favorites along with a new round-point shovel that has been selling extremely well this year.
A.M. Leonard’s Deluxe Stainless Steel Soil Knife, Poly Scoop Shovels and Forks, have been popular among landscape contractors for years, Domer says, and they remain so.
Another name mentioned frequently by landscapers is Corona. Jennifer Ferguson, a designer with Andy’s Landscape Service in Birmingham, Alabama, says hand shovels, or trowels, with serrated edges are best for getting through roots when planting and in working in soil that hasn’t been tilled. The tools are useful in dividing perennials, Ferguson said, and the depth gauge is handy for planting bulbs.
One of Ferguson’s colleagues at Andy’s, designer Sean Stewart, says he’s a big fan of Fiskars’ long-handled shovel. The company’s shovels are “the best we’ve ever used,” he said, adding that he prefers Corona’s bypass pruner.
“Some of our guys prefer the Felco for hand pruners,” Stewart said. “We also use the Corona brand’s pole pruner (and) saw combo.”
Fiskars is based in Finland, while Felco is a manufacturer in Switzerland. And California’s Corona has been owned since 2000 by a Spanish company.
In the hand-tool space, personal preference counts for a lot apparently, and the number of manufacturers creates a wide range of choice and price.
The good news is that a number of the tool makers, both here and abroad, have been known for a century or more as world-class manufacturers.