10 gardening tools you need this spring, according to one expert

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Spring is on the horizon and while the air may still be chilly, luckily there will soon be sunshine, dewy green grass and warmer days inviting the first sightings of spring. While we wait, we can plan ahead by stocking up on the right tools ahead of planting season. When it comes to cultivating a green thumb, working with the right tools can help make the job – big or small – easier and help us make the most of the season.

Adam Millhouse of Birmingham, Alabama, a landscape architect and owner of the Millhouse Howell Landscape Company, offers his top picks for garden tools and gardening tools, as well as landscape trade tips and tricks.

Here are our gardening tool tips, according to Millhouse.

FELCO F-2 one-hand pruning shears

Buy at Amazon.com

Shop at Walmart.com

Millhouse has had his “Felco #2” – as he affectionately calls it – for almost a decade. He keeps the secateurs in the driver’s door of his truck, ready for every cut, “prescribed therapy”, as he says. Suitable for professional gardeners and hobbyists alike, these Swiss-made pruning shears are strong enough to handle heavy-duty pruning work and come with a lifetime guarantee. It is important to keep pruning shears sharp before each use and clean after each cut. When you prune diseased plant material, wipe down the secateurs with a rubbing alcohol solution to prevent cross-contamination between plants, Millhouse explains.

Price at time of publication: $59

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FELCO 912 leather holster

Buy at Amazon.com

If you have scissors, be sure to holster them for safekeeping when not in use. The conical shape of the leather holster holds the Felco 2 scissors securely. “Every time I enter a maintenance item, I clip the holster and scissors to my belt for access when needed,” he explains.

Price at time of publication: $15

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HANDLANDY rose cutting gloves

Buy at Amazon.com

When you have to do heavy trimming of bushes and trees, you want to protect your arms and hands from potential thorns and branches. Made from breathable leather, these longer over-the-arm gloves are soft and flexible.

Price at time of publication: $19

Expert Gardener garden basket with collapsible handles

Shop at Walmart.com

While wire handle vegetable baskets certainly have their nostalgic place in the memories of our farmers markets, this garden basket will stand the test of time with its durability and size. The colander style is great for washing vegetables, fruits or flowers in the basket. If you need multiple baskets, these are conveniently stackable with collapsible handles.

Price at time of publication: $19

Jackson 6cu. ft. Seamless heavy gauge steel wheelbarrow with steel handles

Buy at Homedepot.com

If you have a larger hauling task in your yard or garden, Millhouse recommends the Jackson Steel wheelbarrow. “Although it’s a sturdy, commercial wheelbarrow, I still use it for personal chores around the house, and it can withstand the wear and tear of heavier loads,” he says. To keep it in good working order, a simple maintenance tip is to regularly check all the bolts and tighten them if necessary.

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Price at time of publication: $149

Homimp Adjustable 8″ Shrub Rake

Buy at Amazon.com

A smaller than average shrub rake is helpful when working in a plant bed or in tight spaces between plants. The length of the rake on this device can be adjusted from 34 to 55 inches, which is also especially handy if you have younger helping hands who want to use it in your garden or yard.

Price at time of publication: $20

Bravex metal plant labels

Buy at Amazon.com

No matter the size of your herb or vegetable garden, you want to be sure that the plants will remain organized and identifiable when the growing season begins. An easy way to do this is by using plant tags with stakes. Simply use the included pen to write the plant name, then stick it in the ground right next to the plant.

Price at time of publication: $27

SURE-LOC straight blade nursery spade with D-handle

Shop at Gemplers.com

A general-purpose shovel is essential for all gardeners, and this one “goes anywhere,” says Millhouse. It is versatile and very durable. “It’s good for planting small plants, scarifying the bottom of planting holes, digging the perimeter of larger holes, and even cutting lawns with the sharp blade,” he says.

Price at time of publication: $130

Husky utility knife with foldable lock-back

Buy at Homedepot.com

A simple, inexpensive utility knife will work just as well as any more expensive one. This one comes with extra blades so you can quickly change blades if needed instead of sharpening them. “I try to get one with a red handle so it’s easier to spot and find if it gets misplaced mid-job,” says Millhouse.

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Price at time of publication: $9

CountyLine Oval Galvanized Storage Tank

Buy at Tractorsupply.com

A metal trough can serve more purposes than just a watering bowl for animals. Consider using it as a fun and easy way to start an herb or vegetable garden on a deck or porch, especially if you don’t have enough space in the garden or yard. “Drill holes in the soil for drainage purposes and fill the bottom half with a layer, such as gravel, that will allow for adequate drainage, and then fill in the rest with potting soil,” Millhouse recommends. Starting small with a galvanized tub is an easy and functional way to start a basic herb or vegetable garden.

Price at time of publication: $170

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