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Grampa's Weeder

Our yard was completely neglected for years before we bought the house as a vacation home. It was a dandelion and crabgrass mecca. Since we made the house our permanent residence three years ago, we've made progress and now have a good stand of Bermuda grass in the yard that abuts the house. However, the main part of the yard between the house and the street is still untamed.

This past spring, I began removing crabgrass clumps in an area where there was some Bermuda. I did this using a handheld weeding tool that is about 15 inches or so long. It works well, but requires I crawl around on hands and knees, push the weeder into the ground beside the weed, and pry it out of the yard. I soon learned two things - 1) Fire ants are hideous creatures and, 2) I don't need to be crawling around the yard.

My wife found something called Grampa's Weeder. It's a set of jaws on the end of a handle with a pry bar off to one side. You hold the device perpendicular to the ground so the jaws open fully. Centering the jaws over the core of the weed, you push into the ground, pressing the pry bar with a foot if necessary. Then, you lean/push the handle toward the pry bar and use its leverage to lift the weed out of the ground. Surprisingly, it works pretty well on clumpy, large root grasses like crabgrass, but not so well on wild onions and other weeds that have a single stem and root - there's just not enough plant for the jaws to grab.

Some Caveats

  • From a standing position, it is sometimes difficult to find the center of the weed, especially if the weed is partially covered by grass. It either takes multiple tries or I have to bend over to find the core.

  • The jaws don't always fully release the weed root clump once the weed is extracted. I often have to remove the clump using my fingers.

  • I am a little over 5' 10" tall. The handle is a bit short for me and I still have to bend a little bit to use the tool. This is important, 'cause I don't know how many bend-overs I have left in my body. But, it's better than crawling!

  • The tool does not get rid of fire ants.

I bought mine for $40 from Amazon, because of their easy return policy. It's available at other stores for the same price, but not at Lowe's or Home Depot. After using it for about two weeks, I decided to keep it.

Here's a link to the website: There's a panel that shows how to use the tool and there's also a video, complete with background music by Glenn Miller.


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