I am often asked for my feedback about garden tools, lately I have received many enquiries from readers looking to purchase a tool or tools to make weeding easier, in particular from gardeners looking to remove tough weeds, weeds growing in hard to reach areas and weeds growing in gravel driveways; having researched the award winning Burgon & Ball Weed Slice and the Burgon & Ball Short Handled Weed Slice I decided to give these new tools from Burgon & Ball a try.
One very lovely thing to mention straight away, is that the Burgon & Ball Weed Slice and the Burgon & Ball Short Handled Weed Slice are both made in Sheffield, in Great Britain. Both the Burgon & Ball Weed Slices have handles made of Ash from 100% FSC certified forests.
The Burgon & Ball Weed Slice has an arrow shaped blade, and as you can see in my photographs, the blade for the Short Handled Weed Slice is exactly the same size as the blade for the full size Weed Slice. The Burgon & Ball Short Handled Weed Slice is exactly that, a Weed Slice with a smaller handle, the blade itself is the same size. The full size Burgon & Ball Weed Slice measures approximately 146cm (about 4ft 9 inches) from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle, and the Short Handled Weed Slice measures approximately 49cm (about 19 inches) from the tip of the blade to the end of the handle.
When I first picked up the Burgon & Ball Weed Slice (the larger of the two tools pictured above) I was immediately struck by how light the tool was; I was pleased at how easy it was to hold and lift, but I must admit that I was concerned that the tool might be too flimsy when it’s in use! I weighed both the tools on my scales at home, the Burgon & Ball Short Handled Weed Slice weighs 210g (about 7.5 oz) and the full size Weed Slice weighs in at about 500g (about 1lb 2oz).
I was keen to thoroughly test both the tools, starting first with the Burgon & Ball Weed Slice. I recruited friends of differing heights and strengths to try out the Weed Slice, while I accompanied them through a variety of different weedy gardens, allotments and driveways. The tallest of my testers was just over 6ft in height, and the smallest 5ft 2 inches tall, all of my testers found the height of this tool to be perfect for them, no one wished for it to be any smaller, or any taller. I think the lightness of the tool would have contributed to this result, as it’s so lightweight the Weed Slice is just so much easier to use, if the same sized tool had been heavier it’s possible that we might have had a different result for the smallest of my testers.
We tested the Burgon & Ball Weed Slice on many different areas of ground. Firstly on compacted gravel that was peppered with brambles, grass and other difficult to remove weeds, here the arrow shaped head of the Weed Slice was easily able to manouver into and around the gravel, making short work of all of the weeds, even the tough brambles. Thanks to the lightness of the tool and the pointed shape of the tool’s head, a 2m squared area of very weedy, compacted gravel was cleared in just a couple of minutes! This was a happy relief for my tester!
The heads of the Burgon & Ball Weed Slice and the Burgon & Ball Short Handled Weed Slice are heat treated with high-carbon steel to give a maximum edge retention and prevent the blade going blunt. I haven’t been testing these two tools for long enough to test this – these are new tools, not ones I have had for years, but I did encourage my testers to really push hard into the gravel with the Weed Slice and after considerable use (everyone used the same tool) there are no chips or signs of blunting on either Weed Slice.
The Burgon & Ball Weed Slice was tested on a number of different weedy areas, in gravel, in borders, in raised beds etc and good results were achieved each time. Each tester reported that they found the Weed Slice easy to use and agreed that they found the Weed Slice was quicker and easier to use than a traditional garden hoe.
I had wondered whether any of my testers would miss the non-slip rubber grip handles that feature on many of the modern garden hoes available. Surprisingly no one did miss the non-slip rubber handles, even those gardening in rain and drizzle, everyone enjoyed the fact that the handle was wooden and made from Ash. Most testers wore gloves, some of which were rubber coated, so it’s possible that the gloves aided their grip of the Weed Slice, but it’s not something I received any negative feedback about. When put under pressure for any negative comments or feedback, one tester did admit that they felt that the Weed Slice handle flexed a few times while they were clearing weeds on heavy gravel, the same tester commented that this, they felt, would be caused by the lightweight nature of the tool, which as they benefitted from in terms of ease of use, they wouldn’t wish to change.
The Burgon & Ball Weed Slice was just as effective when tested in garden borders, easily cutting through weeds growing in the soil. Again the lightweight nature of the Weed Slice was a real advantage for my gardeners, allowing them to reach sloped areas of ground, raised areas of garden, and other awkward areas without straining.
All the testers were surprised at how easy the Weed Slice was to use and to direct, both when used in gravel and in garden borders, the Weed Slice is very easy to control and works well at keeping on top of weeds growing around rows of vegetables or other areas where prized plants are growing. If you wanted more control over your tool, or if you are looking to clear weeds in a more confined area such as a raised bed or even a large container, you might prefer to opt for the Burgon & Ball Short Handled Weed Slice. As I mentioned earlier, this tool features the same sized blade and head as the full size Weed Slice, only the length of the handle is different. The shorter handle of this tool allows the user more control. My testers found the Short Handled Weed Slice very effective at clearing raised beds, especially raised beds in a confined area, surrounded by physical boundaries like walls and fences. This shorter tool would be very beneficial for disabled gardeners or anyone wishing to garden while sitting down, again the lightness of the tool is a real advantage for the disabled gardener or someone with less strength.
I’ve been impressed with both the Burgon & Ball Weed Slice and the Burgon & Ball Short Handled Weed Slice, both these tools are easy to use and control, they are lightweight and effective. I hope they can help you to clear weeds and save your time and energy.
Other links and articles that may interest you……………………….
To visit the Burgon & Ball’s website and find out more about the full size Burgon & Ball Weed Slice, please click here.
To visit Burgon & Ball’s website and find out more about the Short Handled Weed Slice, please click here.
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To read my interview with David Neale, an award winning Garden Designer based in Guildford in Surrey, please click here.
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If you’re looking for reputable suppliers of snowdrops, sold ‘in the green’, please click here.
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For gardening advice of what you could do in your garden or at your allotment from mid-December until mid-January, please click here.