I’m not one to keep too many tools on hand. In the kitchen, for example, I know I can perform many tasks with a well-chosen 6-in. chef’s knife. And forget the gadgets that are ultra-specific, like an egg separator. They just take up counter and drawer space. (Although I can make a great case for a mango pitter.)
I’m the same in the garden. I tend to stick with the basics, and just one of each: one pair of handheld clippers, one large pruner and one multipurpose hand trowel (i.e. it can dig, scoop, rip and slice).
To my tool bag I’ve recently added one thing I didn’t realize I was missing all my life: a shovel called the Root Slayer. Like the hand trowel, it is multipurpose. With its saw-toothed blade edges, it was designed to cut through roots and hard soils.
My first task with my Root Slayer was none of those, but just simply digging a trench. The carbon-steel blade is tapered to not-quite a point, and is a bit more narrow than most spades. The blade is also slightly concave, allowing you to use it to scoop dirt and such. Pair all of these elements with its ability to slice through hard and rocky soil, and my trench task was completed in no time. The second task was a simple hole to plant a woody perennial. Again, the shape of the 13-in. long blade kept the walls of the hole even and I was able to easily slice off an inch of soil at a time, gradually making the hole bigger.
The Root Slayer is made by the folks at Radius, known for creating tools that are comfortable to use. The patented O-shaped “poly-comfort” handle is comfy on the wrists, and the foot rests are a comfortable 3.5 inches wide. It feels well made and has a comfortable heft without being too heavy, all attributes that make it more pleasant to use.
My third task with the Root Slayer will actually be slaying some roots next spring when I dig up thickly rooted rhubarb. I hadn’t been looking forward to the job but now it’ll be easy as pie with the Root Slayer.