Top 7 Best Small Wood Chippers for Your Landscape in 2021

A big part of landscape maintenance is collecting and disposing of debris left after cleaning up your trees from dead branches, trimming down, or removing unwanted bushes and shrubs. If you’ve been throwing away all of that debris or paying someone to collect it, you should consider getting a small wood chipper to save money and improve your softscape by returning all of the debris in the form of mulch back into the soil. A wood chipper shredder is one of the best tools to deal with unwanted branches, twigs, shrubs, and leaves. Today we’ll go over different types of wood chippers, how to pick the best one, and will provide our picks for the top 7 best small wood chippers for your landscape in 2021.

Types of Wood Chippers


Wood chippers and shredders running on gas are most used in both residential and professional landscaping. They provide much more power than electric wood chippers as their power ranges from 4-10 horsepower. More power means that the shredder can work faster while also tackling thicker and harder landscape debris. The disadvantages of gas-powered wood chippers are louder noise, heavier weight, and more maintenance.


Small electric wood chippers are great for landscapes with smaller trees as they have a hard time handling tree branches larger than 2 inches, but they are much lighter, easier to transport, and most importantly, produce way less noise and no smoke. They are an excellent option for eco-friendly gardeners looking to build a sustainable landscape. The most significant disadvantages of the electric wood chippers and shredders are that they require a nearby outlet and shred slower than gas chippers.


Power Take-Off (PTO) wood chippers and shredders are connected to a tractor’s PTO shaft, which allows it to power the wood chipper. Because of the higher power a tractor can generate, PTO wood chippers are much more powerful than gas or electric chippers. Even though you can find smaller PTO wood chippers, they will still be quite bulky, loud, and, most importantly, require a tractor to power them. PTO wood shredders come at a higher price tag, so most casual gardeners and landscapers will use small gas or electric wood chippers, which are not as powerful but are cheaper and easier to use. If you are serious about landscaping or own a vast landscape with many trees, then it might be wise to own a PTO wood chipper as a long-term investment.

What to Consider When Buying a Small Wood Chipper?

Feed Capacity

The feed capacity is one of the most important considerations to take before buying a small wood chipper. It determines the size of branches you can feed into the chipper. Most small gas and electric wood chippers can handle 2-5 inch thickness branches. If your main goal is to clean up small 1-3 inch diameter branches and use larger ones for your fire pit, then almost all small wood chippers will do great. If you have plenty of thicker branches, you need to look for a higher-capacity chipper designed for professional use.

Power type

If you’re doing casual landscape cleaning a couple of times a year, a small electric wood chipper will be plenty. Electric-powered shredders are much quieter than gas ones, so you can use them in highly populated neighborhoods without disturbing anyone. They are also low maintenance and lighter, but you’re tied to an electrical cord and can’t use it in an area without a power source. Gas-powered wood chippers are also a touch more powerful and will complete your yard cleanup a bit faster.

Reduction Rate

best wood chippers
wood chips

The reduction rate is pretty straightforward; it means how much the chipper will reduce original debris volume. Most small wood chippers’ reduction rate will be from 8:1 to 20:1, meaning they can shred branches, twig, or leaves to 4-10% of their original volume. A smaller reduction rate shredder will require less power, while a higher reduction rate chipper needs to be more powerful to spin the blades faster. 

If you’re going to use mulch for your landscape, think how big you want the pieces to be, this might be a good indication of what reduction ratio to go for.


In general, it’s better to go for a wood chipper with more blades. If there are fewer blades, the individual blade is used more often, will dull faster, and require sharpening. If there are more blades, then the wear of the blades splits more evenly, allowing the blades to be sharp for longer.

Additional Features

A simple but convenient additional feature to look for is a mulch or debris bag that you can attach to the chipper. It collects everything that goes through the chipper and allows for easy disposal or scattering of the mulch. You can also find chippers with multiple feeding chutes, a bigger one for branches and twigs, and a smaller one for leaves and other soft debris. Finally, some chippers will have vacuum attachments which are handy to collect small debris and keep the grass clean.

Top 7 Best Small Wood Chipper Reviews in 2021

Sun Joe CJ603E Electric Silent Wood Chipper/Shredder

Sun Joe CJ603E is a very silent electric wood chipper that is great for everyday gardening needs. This model has 15 Amp power and has a reduction ratio of 21:1, meaning you’ll have very fine mulch for your flower garden bed or compost box

CJ603E capacity is up to 1.73 inch thick branches and twigs. It can’t handle thick branches, but the ones that fit are shredded with ease. This small electric wood shredder weighs just 38.6 lbs. And can be moved around on the 7-inch wheels. Very portable as long as you have enough extension cord length.

All in all, Sun Joe CJ603E is the best small wood chipper for regular homeowners who want to regularly clean up small branches, twigs, or leaves and reuse them as mulch. 

Key features:

  • Power: 15 Amp
  • Capacity: up to 1.73 inch
  • Reduction rate: 21:1
  • Weight: 38.6 lbs.
  • Very compact 
  • 7-inch wheels for portability
  • Tamper included


  • It needs a power outlet

SuperHandy Wood Chipper Shredder Electric

SuperHandy electric wood shredder is the best small, lightweight wood chipper on our list, with a weight of only 24.5 lbs. The impenetrable wheels allow for easy storage and maneuverability over grass, soil, and other uneven surfaces. A hopper on top allows you to collect and dump leaves into the shredder conveniently. If needed, a tamper is included for a quick and safe push.

The two cutting blades behind a rust-proof polypropylene housing can shred backyard debris into 17 times smaller pieces for easy disposal, composting, or mulching.

We love the compact and lightweight design that allows for easy maneuvering around the landscape if your electrical cord allows it. Despite the only disadvantage of small capacity, the SuperHandy wood chipper is a fantastic option for regular backyard cleanup.

Key features:

  • Power: 15 Amp
  • Capacity: up to 1.57 inch 
  • Reduction rate: 17:1
  • Weight: 24.5
  • Very lightweight
  • Rust-proof polypropylene housing
  • Compact to store
  • Tamper included
  • Durable housing


  • Can shred only thin branches 

Earthwise GS70015 15-Amp Garden Corded Electric Chipper

Earthwise is our best small electric wood chipper if you want to clean up your landscape fast and efficiently. Its reduction ratio of 10:1 cuts branches into larger chunks than other chippers but allows the shredding process to be completed much quicker.

The big chute on top of the chipper with the tamper allows you to dump many dead plants, leaves, and twigs and push them into the blades quickly and effortlessly.

We love the sturdy collection bin instead of the bag. It allows for an easier pour. You can even store your mulch in the bin to dry out.

All in all, this small wood chipper is designed for people who want to clean up their backyards fast and don’t really care about the size of mulch that comes out.

Key features:

  • Power: 15 Amp
  • Capacity: up to 1.75 inch
  • Reduction rate: 10:1
  • Weight: 31 lbs.
  • Big chute
  • Durable build
  • Tamper included
  • Sturdy collection bin
  • Wheels for portability


  • Expensive for an electric wood chipper

SuperHandy Leaf Mulcher Shredder Electric

Are you tired of having truckloads of fallen leaves every week during autumn? SuperHandy leaf mulcher and shredder is designed to mulch leaves and small branches with a powerful but silent 15 Amp motor.

This small wood chipper can handle twigs and smaller branches of only up to 0.5 inches thick but deals with them quickly, and with no noise, so you can do your chores early morning or late at night. You’ll also receive a large 50-gallon tear and water-resistant bag for mulch collection. 

This small leaf and wood mulcher has two 8 inch wheels for easy transportation and relocation. The build itself also feels very sturdy as its frame is made from steel. 

SuperHandy Leaf Mulcher’s disadvantages are small branch shredding capacity and higher price point. However, the fantastic leaf mulching efficiency and build quality make it a wise investment, especially for gardeners tired of dealing with mountains of leaves every year.

Key features:

  • Power: 15 Amp
  • Capacity: up to 0.5 inch
  • Weight:
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Durable 8-inch wheels
  • Water-resistant debris bag


  • Expensive

Landworks Wood Chipper Shredder Mulcher Super Heavy Duty

If you’re on a budget but still want a larger and more powerful gas-powered wood chipper, Landworks shredder might be your best option. This model is powered by a 7hp 212cc 4 stroke engine to mulch branches up to 3-inch thickness through the side hopper. The top hopper is designed for small twigs, leaves, and trimmings of up to 0.5-inch thickness.

This small gas wood chipper is designed for residential backyards with many dead or fallen branches or trimmings that weaker electric shredders can’t handle. If needed, you can buy extra attachments like a vacuum insert for an extra tidy backyard and a big discharge bag attachment. Although, it would have been nice if the model already came with the bag attachment.

Landworks wood chipper might not be the most powerful gas shredder but is the best small gas-powered wood chipper if you’re on a budget.

Key features:

  • Power: 7hp 212cc
  • Capacity: top hopper 0.5 inch, side 3 inch
  • Reduction rate: 15:1
  • Weight: 130 lbs.
  • Small but powerful
  • Two wheels for easy relocation


  • No collection bin or bag

EFCUT C30 Mini Wood Chipper Shredder Mulcher

EFCUT C30 is probably the best small gas wood chipper on our list that money can buy. Yes, it is expensive, but it’s amazingly built, lightweight for a gas shredder, and is powerful enough to handle most tree debris on your landscape.

Inside the shredder, you’ll find a unique cutting system of 2 steel cutting blades and four cutting hammers that go through leaves, twigs, trimmings, and branches like a knife through butter. You also have a handy check window to see if anything is stuck between the blades.

The 7hp 212cc 4 stroke engine allows it to tackle branches up to 3 inches and reduce their volume 15 times. We were surprised to see how stable the shredder is when feeding branches larger than 3 inches. There was no jumping or unusual wiggling, only a slight deceleration of shredding speed, but that is expected when trying to shred thick branches.

If you don’t mind spending more for a long-term investment, EFCUT C30 is the best small wood shredder on our list for larger backyard cleanups.

Key features:

  • Power: 7hp 212cc
  • Capacity: up to 3 inch
  • Reduction rate: 15:1
  • Weight: 90 lbs.
  • 10-inch airless wheels


  • Expensive

Patriot CSV-3100B Briggs & Stratton Gas-Powered Wood Chipper/Leaf Shredder

We have Patriot CSV-3100B, our pick for the most powerful small wood chipper to finish off our list. The chipping cone at the side can handle up to 3 inch thick branches because of the small but powerful 10hp engine that can create up to 14.6 lb-ft. torque. Anything smaller than 3 inches in diameter will be crushed, shredded, and cut into small pieces reducing the original volume up to 20 times.

It’s nice to see that Patriot took small details like engine noise into account and added a muffler to reduce some of the noise. There is also a convenient oil indicator to remind you if oil levels drop. 

This small, powerful shredder weighs 140 lbs. but it isn’t that hard to maneuver because of the low center of gravity and comfortable large wheels.

Key features:

  • Power: 10hp
  • Capacity: up to 3 inches
  • Reduction rate: 20:1
  • Weight: 140 lbs.
  • Easy to maneuver


  • Heavy

Top 8 Best Pruning Shears for Your Garden in 2021

Professional gardeners, landscapers, or anyone who owns at least a few plants or a tree should have a pair of quality pruning shears among their landscaping tools. When you need to cut some vines, thin branches, or handle something as delicate as flowers pruning shears is your best option since they are very maneuverable, ergonomic, and easily fit in your pocket. Today, we will talk about different types of pruning shears and how to pick the best one for you. We’ll also give our recommendations for the top 8 best pruning shears for your garden in 2021. 

Types of Pruning Shears

hydraulic shears

There are so many pruning shears designed for almost every landscaping and gardening task. But which one is the best? It always depends on your needs, but without specializing too deep, we’ll look at the most popular ones, which should cover all your basic softscaping needs.


bypass pruner

Bypass pruners are probably the most common type and should be your first pruner if you don’t have a pair yet. As the name suggests, Bypass pruning shears will have a blade that will bypass the other blade providing an extremely clean and precise cut if the blade is sharp enough. Pruning small live branches, vines, flowers, or fruit and veggie harvesting is a breeze with a pair of bypass pruners.


These pruners are called anvil shears because when the blade goes down, it pinches anything in the way against the anvil and crushes instead of cutting. Anvil pruning shears are great to use on already dead plants and things you don’t care about the integrity of the stem afterward. They are most popular for their speed at cleaning up small dead branches, rose bushes, and unnecessary vines. 


Ratchet pruning shears are the heavy lifters in the realm of pruning shears. They are pruners with a mechanism that allows cutting in stages. The extra leverage allows to cut through thicker and more rigid materials and handling larger branches and roots. Ratchet pruners are very popular among people who have weak wrists or injured hands. 

What to Consider When Buying Pruning Shears?

assorted tools

With so many different pruning shears on the market, it might be a little challenging to pick the best one because, honestly, everyone needs a different type of pruner. Here are a couple of points you should consider to choose the best pruner for your personal landscaping tasks.

Blade Quality

Most pruning shears will either have a high carbon steel blade or stainless steel one. None of them are better or worse, so it depends on how you use your pruners or what you’re going to cut or trim. Carbon steel is a bit tougher metal and should last a bit longer since it’s more resistant to scratches and scrapes but does rust faster, so you need to keep it away from moisture.

Pruners with stainless steel blades also rust, but they rust way slower. Most stainless steel blades are not as tough as high carbon ones but are a bit cheaper. Great for light pruning tasks that don’t require a lot of force.


The grip handle is a very important piece of a pruner. If you use your pruner constantly, you want to have a comfortable and, most importantly, tight grip on your pruner. A soft rubber material or coating will deteriorate over time, but comfortable pruning and tight grip are worth the extra amount you’ll spend over simple hard plastic grips. 

Blade Style

tools on the wall

As we’ve already covered the two main styles of pruning shears, all you need to do is figure out what landscaping task you need the pruner for. If your backyard or garden has been abandoned and has a bunch of dead branches, bushes, roots, or vines, go for the anvil pruner for a quick cleanup. 

If you’re looking to trim and cut down live plants, need precision cuts, or just a pruner for general garden maintenance, bypass pruner is a go-to for casual and beginner gardeners.

Cutting Mechanism

You’ll have either a ratchet or spring mechanism on your pruners. If you want extra power and pressure on your pruner, pick a ratchet anvil pruner. They are designed to cut thicker branches, roots, and even plastic. It is also an excellent option for people with arthritis or weak hands in general. 

Spring pruners are the most common ones and probably the cheapest ones. When going for a spring-loaded pruner, remember spring mechanism is a bit more delicate and is easier to damage. If possible, go for a pruner that has its spring covered to protect from things getting into the spring.

Safety features

One of the most critical safety features for pruning shears is the locking mechanism. Non-spring pruners could get by without it, but spring pruners will always have blades open if you release the handles. The locking mechanism in spring pruners allows the blades to be closed when you’re not using them. This feature usually adds extra cost to the pruner but will save you from cutting yourself with extra sharp blades.

Top 8 Best Pruning Shear Reviews in 2021

Fiskars 379451-1002 SoftGrip Pruner

Fiskar landscaping tools are among the best in the market, so it’s not hard to guess that we’ll have Fiskars pruning shears on top of our list. These bypass shears have razor-sharp blades with an anti-rust coating that provides low friction extremely precise cuts even when dealing with saps. 

You’ll have no trouble cutting live plants of up to ⅝ inch thickness without damaging the stems. The high-quality build is solid and gives a comfortable and tight grip because of the soft handles. We appreciate the bright orange color, which allows you to quickly find your shears if you leave or drop them in the grass.

All in all, Fiskars 379451-1002 bypass pruner is one of the best pruning shears on our list for beginners or people on a budget. 

Key features:

  • Cut capacity: ⅝ inch
  • Anti-rust coated blade
  • Precision ground razor-sharp blade
  • Soft grip handles
  • Excellent price to quality ratio


  • No locking mechanism
  • Spring is open to debris

Mueller Soft Grip Garden Pruning Shears

Mueller hardened titanium blade pruning shears are amazingly sturdy and feel very durable. It seems to be built very well with no flimsiness or loose screws. The hardened titanium blades are extra sharp and can cut through branches of up to 1.2-inch thickness. The locking mechanism will allow you to lock the blades and carry the shears without fear of cutting yourself.

We find the padded handles very comfortable and enjoy a tight grip even if they are wet or dirty, but we doubt their durability in the long term. 

Excellent build, sharp blades, and comfortable grip make Mueller Garden Pruning Shears one of the best bypass pruners on our list.

Key features:

  • Cut capacity: 1.2 inch
  • Extra durability with hardened titanium blades
  • Very sturdy
  • Protected spring
  • Comfortable grip
  • Locking mechanism
  • Cheap


  • Padded handles might not last too long

Corona BP 3180D Forged Classic Bypass Pruner

Corona is a landscaping tools company from the USA that makes high-quality, affordable tools for your garden. We’ve already given praise to their hand pruning saw, and now Corona BP 3180D is one of the best bypass pruners on this list too. 

The heat-treated forged steel alloy construction doesn’t have the best looks but is very solid and designed for heavy use in your backyard or even professional landscaping projects. It even has a sap groove that protects the blades from sticking when dealing with heavy sap vegetation.

It is nice that the blades open wide enough to handle larger branches; however, we felt that the shears struggled quite a bit cutting 1-inch thickness branches. You should also take into consideration that this bypass pruner is a bit heavier than the competition.

Key features:

  • Heat-treated forged steel alloy
  • Locking mechanism
  • Sap groove
  • Non-slip grips


  • Quite heavy
  • Couldn’t deal with 1 inch thick branches as advertised

Fiskars Micro-Tip Pruner Non-Stick Blades

Looking for something very precise for fine cuts when pruning delicate flowers, herbs, or leaves? The Fiskars micro-tip pruner is basically a very sharp and sturdy scissors for your landscape. 

The fully hardened, precision-ground stainless steel blades provide a clean cut without damaging the plant’s stem. You’ll also have a handy lock mechanism to keep the blades closed. It’s also nice to have a non-stick coating that reduces friction and protects from buildup. 

If you’re very meticulous and love shaping and cherishing plants, flowers, and bushes to the smallest detail, Fiskars micro-tip pruner snips are the best snips on our list for micro gardening tasks.

Key features:

  • Perfect for small plant shaping 
  • Precision-ground stainless steel
  • Very sharp blades
  • Lock mechanism
  • Non-stick coating to reduce friction and buildup


  • Can’t handle thicker plants

Fiskars Power-Lever Anvil Pruner

Another Fiskars pruner? Yes, this time, it’s an anvil pruner for dead greenery cleanup. The Power-lever anvil pruner from Fiskars offers excellent quality, durability at an extremely low price, so it’s a no-brainer why it takes a spot as one of the best anvil pruners on our list.

The power leverage technology allows for up to 2x more cutting power as the Fiskars four-point pivot design maximizes leverage. Combine that with sharp precision ground blades and low friction rust-resistant coating to get a pair of anvil shears that can cut up to ⅝ inch thickness dead branches with ease. 

Cushioned handles allow for a steady and slip-resistant grip even when you need to use a lot of force. The only disadvantage we’ve spotted in Fiskars build is that the locking mechanism is tough to engage. 

Key features:

  • Cut capacity: ⅝ inch 
  • A perfect tool to quickly clean up dead plants
  • Precision-ground extra sharp blade
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Power leverage technology
  • Cushioned grip
  • Locking mechanism


  • Locking mechanism hard to engage

Gardenite Power Drive Ratchet Anvil Hand Pruning Shears

Suffer from arthritis or just don’t have enough power for those ½ inch branches? This Power Drive ratchet anvil pruner is great for people who have weaker hands but still want to deal with more formidable hedges and thicker live branches. The ratchet mechanism is great for improving the cutting power without using much force. Pruning with this ratchet anvil pruner will take more time, but you won’t put a strain on your arms.

The Gardenite ratchet anvil pruning shears have a comfortable handle with a non-slip grip and locking mechanism to carry and store the shears safely. We did experience that the ratchet function and the whole build are a bit flimsy, but for the budget price it’s being sold, you can’t complain too much.

Key features:

  • Effortless cutting with ratchet mechanism
  • Hardened steel blades
  • Ergonomic design
  • Lock mechanism
  • Budget price
  • Great for beginners or casual landscapers


  • Ratchet function a bit flimsy
  • The build could be sturdier

The Gardener’s Friend Pruners, Ratchet Pruning Shears

Last but not least on our list is Gardener’s Friend ratchet anvil pruning shears. These premium shears come at a pretty high price tag but do offer excellent quality and durability.

A sharp blade allows cutting through even thicker branches, twigs, or roots without using much force. The ratchet mechanism makes it a perfect gardening tool for elders or people with injured hands. The only flaw of this tool is that the blade locking mechanism is slightly hard to engage or disengage.

If you don’t mind spending extra for quality and durability, the Gardener’s Friend anvil ratchet pruning shears is the best anvil pruner on our list in terms of durability and build quality.

Key features:

  • Great for people with weak hands
  • Very sturdy
  • Can handle delicate and tough cuts
  • Sharp blade


  • Lock difficult to engage

Felco F-2 068780 Classic Manual Hand Pruner, F 2, Red

For my money, the Felco brand of pruner is the absolute best on the market. I have been using them for many years of landscape construction and maintenance and have found them to be consistently the best. I have tried countless other varieties and none of them have held a sharp edge and held up longer than the Felco brand.

Key features:

  • Very strong and durable blades
  • The ability to buy replacement blades
  • Trouble free coiled spring
  • Comfortable handle
  • Light weight
  • These will cut whatever you have to strength to cut.


  • As with any pruner, the blades can be bent if twisted sideways while in a large branch

best hand pruning saws

Professional Landscaping Tools And Equipment That You Must Have

If you have just started landscaping your property and want to become a bit more efficient and professional or you have decided to start landscaping as a profession, you must have professional landscaping tools and equipment. Trying your hand at landscaping is a great idea, but doing it without the proper tools will only make you suffer needlessly.

If you want to become a great landscaper, you must invest in professional landscaping tools and equipment to get decent results. Without these professional landscaping tools, it would be challenging for anyone to master their landscaping.

How Do You Landscape Like a Professional

Well, let’s set aside the obvious traits, like old worn-out jeans, the unkempt, dirty appearance, and the zeal for a few well place profanities when the going gets tough.  What does it really take to landscape like a professional?

Landscaping gets expensive!  Unless money isn’t a problem and you just hate hard work, you might want to consider doing your landscape work yourself.  Most of it is not too technical.  You will need a bit of common sense, a good strong back, and a few essential tools to get started. 

Before we get into the tools, here is a list of things that may not seem obvious but that I have learned over a lifetime of professional landscaping.   

  • You must invest in those plants that bloom throughout the year. Any landscaper will tell you that every client wants flower beds that bloom all year round.  Your first order of business is to figure out how that is possible and which plants you need to do this.  Good luck with this one.
  • Corners in your lawn and grass right up to the house are a pain in the rear.  Cut bed edges to allow for long sweeping curves and beds along all walls of the house.  Landscapers want it to look smooth and nice but also don’t want to get off that riding mower to trim any darn corners.  Make sure that there aren’t any!
  • Don’t haul out any debris.  Mulch your lawn clippings right into the lawn, mulch leaves into the lawn until they are just too thick, then blow them into the beds.  Put all twigs and leaf debris into planting beds to act as a mulch.  The only reason that landscapers are charging you to haul all of your leaves, twigs, and lawn clippings away is because you asked them to and because if they didn’t, they couldn’t sell you all of that mulch in the spring.  Save all organics, use them as mulch, keep it simple and easy.
  • Forget about installing an irrigation system.  Once your plants and lawn are established, you won’t ever need it again, and they are a pain in the rear and expensive.
  • Keep landscape lighting to a minimum and always use LED lights.  Any other bulbs burn out way too often, and a complex lighting system is a waste of money and hard to maintain.  A few well-placed spotlights will do.
  • Don’t ever install metal or plastic lawn edging.  It will pop up out of the ground over time, get hit by the mower, and look like crap.  Just cut a natural bed edge and save yourself a ton of headaches.
  • Don’t waste your money on landscape fabric or weed barrier.  It only works for a couple of years before the weeds grow on top of it, and it is useless.  It is a colossal pain to rip it out at that point, and it keeps you from being able to easily make changes in your plantings.  It also stifles the spread of perennials.
  • Unless you are an avid gardener who loves weeding, keep your garden beds to a minimum.  Large beds require more plants and more weeding.  Mowing is much easier than weeding, so plant lawn and keep beds only big enough for the plants that you really want.
  • Plant groundcovers.  Groundcovers spread readily and keep the weeds out.  Beautiful!
  • Plant only hardy plants that are a zone lower than what you think you are.  This will almost ensure that they will survive without a lot of pampering from you.  Live plants that are easy to care for are good.  Dead plants are a waste of money.
  • Never plant a tree or any plant deeper than it was in the pot or nursery, and be aware that many balled and burlapped trees you get from the nursery have extra soil mounded on top of the ball.  Plant these a bit high.  Most of the time, when I find a dead tree, it is because a homeowner or rookie landscaper planted it too deep and suffocated it.  Plant roots need oxygen, plant them too deeply, and they will die.
  • Don’t stake newly planted trees.  If you bought a decent plant and it has a decent root ball, don’t bother staking it.  People forget about the stakes, and the ropes girdle the trees; the tree roots don’t develop as well because the tree does not sway in the breeze, and it is just a waste of time. 
  • When planting a balled and burlapped tree, always create a soil ring around it to hold water for the first couple of years and always cut the twine away from the trunk, or you will never remember to come back and do it later, and it will girdle the tree.
  • When you are digging a hole for anything, think about where the soil will need to be when you are done.  Don’t just throw it around anywhere; put it where it should be so that you only need to move it once.
  • When you order materials and have them dumped on-site, think about where to put them.  Again, a truckload of anything is heavy.  You don’t want to move it any further than you need to.  Maybe the truck driver can dump half on each side of the house if that would be easier.
  • On a similar note, avoid dumping crap into the grass.  Mulch, soil, gravel, and rock will mess up the lawn and be a pain to dig out every time.  If you can keep these materials on a hard surface, please do.
  • Mulch around all trees.  Don’t mow lawn right up to the trunk.  You are compacting the soil over the roots, and I don’t care how careful you think you are for the first few years; you will hit that tree with the mower or string trimmer eventually.
  • When mulching around your trees and shrubs, keep the mulch thin near the trunks or stems.  Thick mulch at the stem will only promote rot and encourage mice to live in there and chew on the tree.
  • Look at the shrubs and trees near your house at least once every year in late winter.  Prune them if they are getting too big.  Don’t wait five years and then hack the hell out of them.  A bit of pruning every year as needed is much easier to do and will result in healthier, more attractive plants.

Alright, now that I got that off of my chest, let’s get on to the tools.  This article is about the tools, right?

Professional Landscaping Tools and Equipment

Whether you’ve decided to start your own landscape business or just want to landscape your yard, you will always want to look for professional quality landscaping tools and equipment.  The cheap crap never lasts, and it will break at the absolute worst times.  Spend a few extra bucks and get the good stuff.  Take it from a guy that knows.

Check out our list of professional landscaping tools.  These are the basics that are in the truck every day.  With this assortment, you will be able to do just about any landscape task.

Spade Shovel

The digging spade is the base tool for all landscaping.  If there is one tool that gets used the most, this is it.  From digging a pond to planting a perennial, this is your tool.  It is pointed to dig quickly and comes in many styles. 

Pay attention to handle quality; this is the most important part. Nice thick wood or fiberglass? It is a personal choice. I prefer the wood handle’s feel and contour, but the fiberglass ones are darn sturdy.  I stay away from the steel handles simply because this is the all-day shovel.  You don’t want the extra weight for your all-day shovel, nor do you want to catch a jolt if you happen to cut that old lamppost wire that someone forgot to tell you about.

Most of the time, I will choose a long-handled shovel over a short D-handled shovel, just because it’s easier on the back.  Remember, this is not a pry bar.  Using your shovel as a pry bar is the quickest way to separate the handle from the spade.

Here is one that I would buy.

Flat Shovel

The flat shovel is great for scooping on flat surfaces.  You will use it for cleaning up debris from driveways or scooping soil off the bed of your truck.  Not as often used as the spade, but nice to have for clean-up for sure.  Check this one out.

Edging Shovel

You will need this shovel any time you are cutting a bed edge.  It also works excellent as a root chopper when you are digging out a tree for transplant.  Contract diggers will use these shovels when balling and burlapping trees.  These are also great for picking up sod.  I like the steel handles for these because they take a lot of pounding, and you are less likely to be digging deep with these, so you probably won’t hit electricity.  I have one short and one long handle edger.  The short ones are better cutting sod; the long-handled ones are better for all-day edging if you want to make it easier on your back.  Here is one.

Steel Rake

A good steel rake is a must for any raking of soil, heavier debris, mulch, or when you need to dig some gravel out of the grass.  Again, wood or fiberglass is a personal preference.  Check this one

Plastic Rake

Some call it a leaf rake.  Great for just that, raking leaves and debris from your lawn.  These are usually relatively lightweight and probably the most disposable hand tool that we have.  It’s not unusual to burn through several of these each year.  They must be flexible to work well, making them prone to wear and fairly easy to break.

Pitch Fork

There are different tine patterns and widths.  If you do a lot of mulch, you may want the big wide hayfork; otherwise, it’s nice to have the regular six-tined pitchfork for moving mulch, straw, piles of grasses, twigs, etc.  Try picking up a pile of twigs and grasses from a spring clean-up with your shovel, and I assure you, you will be reaching for your pitchfork in short order. 

Digging Fork

These are great for working up garden beds.  No other tool can bust-up and turn over a bed quicker than this one.  I usually go for the D-handle on this one because it is aggressive work, and the D makes it quicker.

Pry Bar

Every landscaper needs to have a pry bar in the truck.  This tool will be with you for the rest of your life and will save you a bunch of money in shovel handles.  Sometimes, there is just no other way to pop out that rock, root, or stump, and if you set any sort of boulders or flatstone, they are great to help with leveling.

Sledge Hammer

I would buy a small one to start.  If you aren’t pounding in fence posts, you aren’t likely to need a big one, but having a sledge is great for pounding in any stake.


An axe comes in handy any time that you have roots to cut. I wouldn’t even try to cut out a stump without a good axe.

Push Broom

Growing up, we called this a barn broom because every farmer had one to sweep out the barn.  Get a stiff-bristled one, and it will be great for sweeping sidewalks, patios, driveways, and your garage.  The soft-bristled ones seem pretty useless.

Whisk Broom

This one won’t be used much and could possibly be left off of this list, but if you have stepping stones or a narrow walkway, this is the only way to do it.

Wheel Barrow

This is the workhorse of landscaping.  We only buy the absolute toughest ones made because they will last for years, and you can haul anything from wet concrete to mulch.  You can certainly buy the lighter-weight homeowner models, but you want a heavy-duty wheelbarrow if you are going really heavy.  The lightweight plastic ones are fine for mulch, but they will flex under heavy loads.  Many homeowners buy the dual-wheeled ones, but if you are doing anything other than straight line wheeling across your lawn, these are a pain in the rear. This one is my favorite, but get it with the pneumatic wheel.

Pruning Shears

These will be used for 90% of your pruning, so buy the best one that you can find.  Even the good ones will dull with time, so use it carefully and buy a spare set of blades or a sharpener.  Don’t use your pruning shears for cutting dirty roots or branches that are too big and never twist while cutting.  This is the quickest way to ruin a pruner.  I have purchased all of the cheap ones out there, and you get what you pay for; none have lasted a season.

Lopping Shears

Get the biggest and strongest one that you can.  These are what you reach for when you need to cut the branches too big for your pruning shear.  These are bigger, but once again, the quickest way to ruin them is to twist while cutting.

Hand Saw

This is what you reach for when the limb is too big for your lopping shears.  Get a good one because cutting through thick branches can take a long time with a cheap, dull saw.


It sounds silly, and you probably have something around the house, but if you don’t, two five-gallon pails to carry with you when pruning or weeding are a big help so that you don’t need to backtrack and pick up after yourself.  It’s back to efficiency; only touch it once if you can.

 Wrapping it Up

That’s about it.  There are thousands of tools to consider, but the landscape tools listed above are the backbone of everything you will do in your landscape.  Buy good quality tools, and you will not be disappointed when it comes time to do your work.  Buy cheap crap, and they will break at precisely the wrong time.