Hoe (tool)

Hoe (tool)
A person uses a hoe to cultivate vegetables.

A hoe is an ancient and versatile agricultural tool used to move small amounts of soil. Common goals include weed control by agitating the surface of the soil around plants, piling soil around the base of plants (hilling), creating narrow furrows (drills) and shallow trenches for planting seeds and bulbs, to chop weeds, roots and crop residues, and even to dig or move soil, such as when harvesting root crops like potatoes.



There are many types of blade of quite different appearance and purpose. Some can perform multiple functions. Others are intended for a specific use (e.g. the collinear hoe has a narrow, razor-sharp blade which is used to slice weeds by skimming it just above the surface of the soil with a sweeping motion; it is unsuitable for tasks like soil moving and chopping). The typical farming and gardening hoe with a heavy, broad delta-shaped blade and a flat edge is the Dego hoe.

The Dutch hoe (scuffle, action, oscillating, swivel, or Hula-Ho) is a design that is pushed or pulled through the soil to cut weeds just under the surface. Its tool-head is a loop of flat, sharpened strap metal. It is not as efficient as a chopping hoe for pulling or pushing soil.

Stirrup hoes are designed with a double edge blade that bends around to form a stirrup like rectangle attached to the handle. Weeds are cut just below the soil surface as the bade is pushed & pulled through the area. The back and forth motion is highly effective with cutting weeds in loose or breakable soil. Widths of the stirrup blade typically range between three to seven inches.

Pacul and cangkul are Malay or Indonesian words for a hoe used by the farmers to dig soil before they plant rice and corn. It is also very popular among farmers in India. In TamilNadu it is called Manvetty or Mammoty.


Hoes are an ancient technology, perhaps second only to the digging stick. They are mentioned in ancient documents like the Code of Hammurabi (18th century BCE) and the Book of Isaiah (8th centrury BCE).

The human damage caused by long-term use of short-handled hoes, which required the user to bend over from the waist to reach the ground, and caused permanent, crippling lower back pain to farm workers, resulted in the California Supreme Court declaring the short-handled hoe to be an unsafe hand tool that was banned under California law.[citation needed] The short-handled hoe that Governor Jerry Brown gave to César Chávez in 1975 was displayed in the California Hall of Fame in 2006.[citation needed]

Hoes in archaeology

Over the past fifteen or twenty years, hoes have become increasingly popular tools for professional archaeologists. While not as accurate as the traditional trowel, the hoe is an ideal tool for cleaning relatively large open areas of archaeological interest. It is faster to use than a trowel, and produces a much cleaner surface than an excavator bucket or shovel-scrape, and consequently on many open-area excavations the once-common line of kneeling archaeologists trowelling backwards has been replaced with a line of stooping archaeologists with hoes.


See also


External links

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  • Hoe — pp semi protected|small=yesHoe may refer to:* Hoe (tool), a hand tool used in gardening * Hoe (dish), a Korean dish of raw fish * Plymouth Hoe * A whore (slang) * Homing Overlay Experiment, a project in the Strategic Defense Initiative * Heroes… …   Wikipedia

  • hoe´like´ — hoe «hoh», noun, verb, hoed, hoe|ing. –n. a tool with a thin blade set across the end of a long handle, used for loosening soil or cutting weeds. –v.t. to loosen, dig, or cut with a hoe: »to hoe a garden. –v.i. to use a hoe. ╂[< Old French… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Hoe — Hoe, n. [OF. hoe, F. houe; of German origin, cf. OHG. houwa, howa, G. haue, fr. OHG. houwan to hew. See {Hew} to cut.] 1. A tool chiefly for digging up weeds, and arranging the earth about plants in fields and gardens. It is made of a flat blade… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hoe — ► NOUN ▪ a long handled gardening tool with a thin metal blade, used mainly for cutting through weeds at their roots. ► VERB (hoes, hoed, hoeing) 1) use a hoe to turn (earth) or cut through (weeds). 2) (hoe in) Austral./NZ informal eat eagerly …   English terms dictionary

  • hoe — [həu US hou] n [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: houe] a garden tool with a long handle, used for removing ↑weeds (=unwanted plants) from the surface of the soil >hoe v [I and T] ▪ Hoe the ground in spring …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • hoe — [hō] n. [ME houe < OFr < OHG houwa < houwan, to cut, HEW] a tool with a thin, flat blade set across the end of a long handle, used for weeding, loosening soil, etc. vt., vi. hoed, hoeing to dig, cultivate, weed, etc. with a hoe hoer n …   English World dictionary

  • hoe — I (Roget s IV) n. Syn. digger, scraper, scuffle hoe, warren hoe, garden hoe, grub hoe, weeding hoe, wheel hoe, cultivator; see also tool 1 . II (Roget s 3 Superthesaurus) n. gardenimplement, tool, weeder, cultivator, digger …   English dictionary for students

  • hoe — 1. noun /həʊ/ a) An agricultural tool consisting of a long handle with a flat blade fixed perpendicular to it at the end, used for digging rows. It was obvious that it consisted of several blows to the head from the hoe. b) A prostitute …   Wiktionary

  • hoe — [[t]ho͟ʊ[/t]] hoes, hoeing, hoed 1) N COUNT A hoe is a gardening tool with a long handle and a small square blade, which you use to remove small weeds and break up the surface of the soil. 2) VERB If you hoe a field or crop, you use a hoe on the… …   English dictionary

  • hoe — I UK [həʊ] / US [hoʊ] noun [countable] Word forms hoe : singular hoe plural hoes a tool with a long handle used for turning over the soil in a garden II UK [həʊ] / US [hoʊ] verb [intransitive/transitive] Word forms hoe : present tense… …   English dictionary

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