When you run a blade between closely spaced rows of tender young seedlings, two bad things can happen--and the risk exists whether that blade is at the end of a hoe handle or on the tool bar of a tractor. If the blade wanders a bit off line, you can undercut the roots of the newly emerging plants. If the blade kicks a little dirt on the seedlings, they can break off. In either case, they're dead. Early season weeding--the first pass or two after planting-- is the most important because it eliminates weed seedlings with minimum effort and maximum efficiency. However, early season weeding requires a deft hand and the right tool.
Our Tender Plant Hoe has a chevron shaped 9-inch wide blade that cuts on both the push and pull strokes. More importantly, it has a triangular flange bat upwards at either end of the blade. That flange functions in two ways, to protect the adjacent seedlings. First, it marks the location of each end of the blade, allowing the gardener to hoe closer to the seed row without fear of accidentally undercutting or uprooting. Scuffle hoes without this feature require the user to stay well away from the seed row and, thusly, to leave more weeds for later hand pulling. Secondly, the flanges, which are both slightly tilted and slightly angled inward, preventing any dislodged soil from being tumbled on to the brittle seedlings. Our Tender Plant Hoe is stoutly made, with a forged solid shank of 1/2 inch to 5/8" thick steel for more rigidity in the direction of thrust or draw. It is suitable for medium to heavy duty weeding later in the season, but absolutely shines while your seedlings are young, tender and vulnerable.