Mastering the Hula Hoe: A Gardener’s Guide

Dealing with weeds is an inevitable part of gardening, and recent heavy rains haven’t made the task any easier. If you’re battling a garden overrun with weeds, the Hula Hoe could be your new best friend. Let’s dive into the art of using this gardening gem. You can begin mastering the hula hoe!

What is a Hula Hoe? Unlike the flat hoes you commonly see at gardening centers, the Hula Hoe stands out. Traditional hoes are great for soil moving and smoothening, but the Hula Hoe is a game-changer for weeding.

You might have come across this tool under different names: looped action hoe cultivator, push-pull hoe, stirrup hoe, saddle hoe, or scuffle hoe. No matter the name, its efficacy in weed removal is unmatched. Here is a link to Amazon’s page that showcases several different hula hoes.


  • Precision Weeding: With a careful hand, the Hula Hoe can navigate around smaller plants, ensuring only the weeds are targeted.
  • Dual Action: Slide the hoe forward to sever weeds, then draw it back to cut through again.
  • Surface Level Weeding: The Hula Hoe skims just below the soil’s surface, minimizing disturbance to the soil while disrupting the weeds.
  • Multipurpose: Beyond weeding, it acts as a rake, helps in breaking dirt clods, and even aids in soil preparation for planting.

Design and Features:

The Hula Hoe’s blade, reminiscent of a saddle stirrup, is crafted from sharp steel. This blade oscillates, ensuring it cuts at optimal angles during both pull and push motions. Over time, if the blade dulls, it can be sharpened to maintain its efficiency.

I personally use the True Temper looped action hoe cultivator. Some features as listed on Amazon include: A looped steel blade. Designed for both weeding and cultivating around plants. Uses a back-and-forth push-pull motion to undercut weed roots. Features a cushioned end grip for comfort and reduced fatigue. Boasts a 54-inch hardwood handle. Proudly made in the USA. Weighs approximately one pound, making it lightweight and manageable.

Using the Hula Hoe:

Here is a link to a Creating Alpha YouTube video where he shows us how to use the hula hoe in his field.

  • Grasp the handle firmly.
  • Glide the blade just beneath the soil’s surface.
  • Employ a push-pull motion. As you push forward, the blade cuts through, and as you pull back, it repeats the action.
  • After clearing an area, gather the uprooted weeds. You can use a plastic rake to collect and remove them from the garden.

Tips: A gentleman from Arizona found the Hula Hoe particularly useful against weeds that spread as ground cover over his rock xeriscape. After cutting the weed roots, he would simply lift the weeds away.

If your Hula Hoe lacks a grip, consider attaching one for comfort. While the 54-inch handle suits many, you might wish for alternative lengths or extensions for better customization. I even have a short one for my raised garden beds. I use both of them in my fall garden clean-up tasks.

In conclusion, the Hula Hoe is more than just a gardening tool; it’s an essential ally in your quest for a weed-free garden. Every gardener should consider having one in their toolkit. And once you master the hula hoe, you will be ready for any of those weeds.

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