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The Best Tool for Digging Holes for Plants Revealed

There’s more than one best tool for digging holes for plants, do you prefer your hands, a spade, or something else?

Tool for Digging Holes for Plants

Gardening tools

Some years ago, when I was a kid, I planted my first “garden.” It wasn’t exactly what you might recognize as a garden, and unless you count rocks, there wasn’t really anything growing in my garden. But the holes I dug were world class. Probably because, in all the wisdom of my single-digit years, I knew I had the best tool for digging holes for plants: a stick. 

That was a few years ago, of course. I had no idea that you could use an actual tool for digging holes for plants. Nor, as I got older, did I realize that behind some of those gorgeous, perfect gardens I envied was a secret. These garden gurus weren’t using sticks, or a run-of-the-mill shovel. They had tools that were specially designed just for digging holes. 

Here are some of the best digging tools I’ve come to know, love and appreciate. 

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The single best tool for digging holes for plants (based on the hole you want to dig)

Okay, weird heading right? There’s actually a reason for that. When it comes to gardening, a hole is not just a hole. And a tool is not just a tool. Are you planting bulbs? Replanting a shrub or tree? Starting seeds? Is your soil rocky? Sandy? You get the picture. So based on your requirements, here is the “best” tool for digging holes for plants and other garden necessities.

Spade

Spade

  1. Spade. This is the classic gardening tool. The squared-off edges and shorter width make this perfect for digging holes in a variety of depths. The shape also makes it a great tool for shaping clean borders or cutting through small roots. 
Hoe

Hoe

  1. Hoe. Another classic gardening tool is the hoe. The small, flat blade of the hoe makes it an ideal gardening tool for digging narrow trenches, weeding, and for shaping soil. 
Trowel

Trowel

  1. Trowel. A trowel is a miniature shovel. It’s handheld, and the smaller size makes it a perfect hand tool for digging holes for plants when you have limited space, or if you’re trying to dig around another plant. 
Garden Fork

Garden Fork

  1. Gardening fork. A gardening fork may be handheld or have a long handle. This tool isn’t as much for digging holes as it is for loosening and aerating the soil within holes. Of course, you can certainly dig a hole with it, but this isn’t a precision tool. It is, however, very helpful in cleaning up rocky or dense soil. 
Bulb planter

Bulb planter

  1. Bulb planter. This is the miniature version of a post hole digger. It’s designed to create the perfect hole for planting bulbs. Some even have markers on them so you know exactly how deep the hole is. 
Digging in the dirt by hand.

Digging in the dirt by hand.

Bonus tool. Here’s where the kid in me comes back, but there’s something to the fact that your hands are truly the best tool for digging holes for plants. They’re versatile, they’re precise, and it just feels good to get your hands dirty. Isn’t that one of the joys of gardening? 

What’s your favorite or your most unusual tool for digging holes in your garden? Share your thoughts in the comments. I always love hearing about unique gardening tools. 

Discover 7 top tips for growing, harvesting, and enjoying tomatoes from your home garden—when you access the FREE guide The Best Way to Grow Tomatoes, right now!

Comments
  • Sandra D.

    Can you tell me how to get roots out of the ground from a dead shrub they froze off I need to replace them but have to get the old roots out first

    Reply
  • Gene E.

    Yes, what you are planting may determine what you use; but I’ll add one to your list.
    I tend to start my vegetable plants too early every year; so my starts are on the big size compared to the typical 6-pack of tomato/pepper available. I want to start a few more roots early to support them so I use a post hole digger to give me an 8-10” hole.

    That gives me a quick space for a bit of better soil, fertilizer mixed into the garden. I pull a couple lower leaves and bury a bit deeper than what had started. Not wise for shrubs; but vegetables seem to show a good spurt and no shock by being transplanted.

    Reply

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