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WEED TWISTER Quick Tips for T-Handle Models - See Videos
POINT OF ATTACK - Quick Tips in PDF Format
Making Magic by Twisting - Also See Tips for the Turbo Weed Twister
Which Weed Twister Model is Best for You?

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Soil Preparation

Soaking the soil or a good rain the day before, especially if soil is compacted, will make your job with the Weed Twister  much easier.  At a minimum, soak the soil at least 2 hours before you work it.

Position & Motion for Size and Type of Weeds:

Small Seedlings

For small seedlings, use the Weed Twister like a precise circle hoe.  Place the coil tips about 2-3 feet ahead of you and pull the coil tips towards you like a canoe paddle or sweep side to side.  Apply pressure with one hand on the "T" handle to penetrate the soil 2-3 inches below the surface.  Because the coils are wound like a corkscrew, you can also hook some slightly larger roots by pointing one of the coil tips and sweeping from right to left under the roots.  This and other types of motions are also described in the Agricultural Applications page on this website.

Weed Twister vs. Standard Hoe:  The "T" handle gives you more leverage and extra precision and is kinder to your back, hands and arms than using a conventional hoe. The hand on the shaft may do the pulling and pushing while the other hand applies pressure and holds the "T" as a fulcrum for rotating in either direction.   Dual-fulcrum functionality provides more force and control in any direction.  No twisting is required when using the tool as a hoe!  The 48-inch INDUSTRIAL WEED TWISTER also gives you the same effective reach as a 60-inch wooden hoe handle because you hold the hoe's wooden handle on the side, not on the top, like you do with the Weed Twister "T" handle.  The weight of the 48-inch Weed Twister is less than two pounds, even though it's made of high strength steel, which is much lighter than a hoe with a long wooden handle. Lighter means less work and less strain.  See Rapid Sweep Hoeing Skill Test below.

Crabgrass, Bermudagrass, Purslane

Place the coil at the center of a cluster of grass you wish to remove.  Apply pressure to penetrate the soil and twist in a clockwise motion (like a screw).  If you see the grass cluster start to twist with the tool, continue twisting for two or three more rotations.  If the grass doesn't seem to be twisting with the tool, you need to reposition the tool to find the central cluster of roots.  Lift the tool and unwind the grass roots from the coil before attacking another cluster.  If there's a plug of dirt in the coil, use the tap method described below to release the plug.  Once the plug is released, the remaining grass stems and roots in the coils can be easily unwound and removed.  Often they will simply fall out with gravity or by waving the tool like a wand in a counter-clockwise direction.  See examples on the Bermudagrass page.  For a speedy solution the Turbo Weed Twister is recommended.

After several large clusters of grass or purslane have been removed, drag the coils like a hoe under the surface of the soil to "fish" for more strands of roots and rhizomes.  This is the easiest way to quickly clear unwanted grasses with roots and lateral stems that grow beneath the soil.  Follow-up cleansing of the same area every 2-3 months will eventually remove the grass entirely in about a year.  Remember to fish with the Weed Twister when cleansing in suspected areas just to be sure no hidden prostrate stems and rhizomes are lurking around as they are prone to do.   The coil design  is much more efficient than trying to cleanse with a hoe or other tools. The Turbo Weed Twister even faster!

Lawn Repair: Small holes in lawns can be patched up with a little compost.  For larger holes and gaps, reseeding is recommended.

 

Short Taproot Weeds

Small dandelions and other plants less than a foot above the soil can be attacked from the top.  Position the coil directly above the plant with the main stem in the center.  Push down and twist in a clockwise motion into the soil.  Continue twisting until you see the entire plant twisting with the tool.  Once it starts to do the "twist" dance, continue twisting for two or three more rotations to be sure that the root has been separated from the soil.  Lift the tool and the entire root and plant will be removed.  If there's a plug of dirt in the coil, use the tap method described below to release the plug.  Once the plug is released, the remaining roots and stem will come out with a gentle tug or simply by waving the tool in a counter-clockwise direction.  Placing it over a trash container and tapping the edge of the container will save you the extra step of disposing of the removed material. 

 

Taller Plants

First, hook the coils at an angle into the base stem of the plant just above the soil.  Then, elevate the angle of the handle to a vertical position and center the plant stem into the coil before pushing and twisting.  The tool should be pointing in the same direction as the stem with the stem in the center to be sure that the root system is attacked.  Continue twisting until you see the entire plant twisting with the tool.  Once it starts to do the "twist" dance, continue twisting for two or three more rotations to be sure that the root has been separated from the soil.  Lift the tool and the entire root and plant will be removed.  When lifting deep roots in difficult soil, place the handle next to your chest, straighten up your back, and use your legs to lift the plant.  Prying may help, but may also damage the tool if too much lateral pressure is applied.  See the example of Tree of Heaven removal and the Deep Hole Twisting Test below.

 

 

Twist top-down - Remove more roots - Disturb less soil - Expose less weed seeds - Sever less plant parts, roots and stems with Surgical Precision:  That's the magic of the unique Ergonica Weed Twister!

Seven Magical Methods of Operation for Removing Weeds

  1. Pointed Tip Grooving:  Seedlings in narrow crevices

    Point one of the two coil tips into a narrow crevice and scrape in a right-to-left sweeping motion.  Small seedlings that sprout up in sidewalk crevices and hardscape edges can be scraped out if the roots are small and the crevice is about one-half inch wide.  Adjust the angle of attack to optimize the penetration depth.

     

  2. Linear Scraping:  Seedlings and grasses close to landscape objects or in containers

Seedlings along the edge of landscape barriers, retainer edges or containers can be scraped out by sweeping the tool along the edge of the landscape object or container frame with at least two-inches of soil width along the edge.  The coiled tines work effectively in any lateral direction making the task of following the hardscape edge a simple task regardless of the direction or angle of curves presented.  The circular wire coils also avoid the uncomfortable vibrations and noise resulting from scraping along hard edges with conventional hoe blades.  In round containers it's best to follow the contour of the container in a clockwise direction.

  1. Multi-Directional,  Multi-Angular - Careful Pattern Hoeing:   Seedlings and grasses in open areas

Unlike conventional hoes, the Weed Twister coiled tines are effective by sliding in the soil surface in any direction: pulling, pushing, sweeping right, sweeping left and following curves of any shape.  Surgical precision with force and deft control in any direction.  You can attack the soil from any direction, any rotational pitch, and with a wide range of handle-to-surface-plane angles.  With careful pattern hoeing, the object is to carve out various patterns in the soil without lifting the tines above the soil.  In practice, this method is used when working with weeds nestled closely between crops, vegetables or favored plants.  See test of careful pattern hoeing skill below.  Conventional hoes are designed for effective use in one direction, or at most two directions, with a very narrow range of angles and pitch for effective use.  The "T" handle allows you to apply pressure efficiently as needed in a manner that is more friendly to the human anatomy than either long or short stick handles with no "T" handle.  Dual-fulcrum functionality is afforded by one hand on the "T" handle and the other hand grasping the shaft at a position comfortable to the user.  Either hand can control the motion, stabilize the angle, and provide pressure,  and both hands will normally share these tasks in a rhythmic fashion. This makes it easy to work in just about any situation or around any obstacles or plants you need to protect.  The coil wire is also less likely to cut or rupture roots and prostrate stems than the blades of conventional hoes. 

  1. Twisting - Hooking - Fishing:  Ground covers, grasses, vines, prostrate stems and rhizomes

Grasses and ground covers like crabgrass, purslane and field bindweed can be effectively twisted out of the soil along with most of their roots, prostrate stems and rhizomes by pointing at the center of the plant cluster and hooking the coiled tines into the relatively shallow but widely extended root and stem network.  Other blade-type hoes cannot engage a cluster of ground covers or grasses without cutting stems or severing roots.  The hooking operation requires attention to the position of the coil tip with respect to the expected location of the plant central cluster.  The coiled tines help to probe under plant stems to locate the central root system of each cluster, like "fishing" for unseen objects.  Once a central cluster is "hooked", the removal requires one or two rotations and a relatively effortless lifting motion.

  1. Power Twisting - Rapid Sweep Hoeing - Jabbing:  Small taproots and grassy clusters in loose soil (Speedy Option)

The power twisting-jabbing motion is an option for speed in removing small taproots and grassy clusters or vines in loose soil.  The standard, less effortful, method of Pressure Twisting is described below.  Rapid sweep hoeing is defined as a sweeping motion in speeds of up to one-half second per sweep.  If time is critical, as in most agricultural settings and landscaping maintenance or weed abatement,  this energetic approach to hoeing and penetrating into the root system of target vegetation can increase productivity of weed removal and thinning by as much as 200-300% in comparison to hand weeding or precise weeding with other hand tools.  Rapid sweep hoeing and jabbing require effort, but are very efficient methods and also less likely to result in the collateral damage of severed roots caused by conventional hoes when forcefully hacking into the soil.  Jabbing-twisting involves careful pointing at the base of the weed while lifting the tool about six inches to one foot above the soil, followed by a quick jab and twist into the soil with a forceful effort.   Because of the "T" handle, the jabbing motion is more precise (protecting your plants and crops)  than hacking with hoes and also more ergonomically friendly to your muscles and bones.  The double corkscrew coil design makes soil penetration to several inches fairly easy depending on the soil condition.  With a little experience, you will find that the coils automatically twist on their own when jabbed into the soil and the roots of small plants are immediately grasped by the coil.  See test of rapid sweep hoeing skill below.

  1. Pressure Twisting - Top Down:  Small taproots in loose or compact soil (Standard Option)

Dandelions in lawns or flowerbeds are the bread-and-butter of this tool and require a relatively simple approach from the top of the plant and twisting into the roots with a minimum effort depending on the condition of the soil and size of the plant.  Keep on twisting until you see the plant begin to rotate with the tool and continue for two more complete rotations to make sure that the roots have disengaged from the soil.  Pressure can be applied from the "T" handle to whatever extent is needed without jabbing or hacking.  The option of Power Twisting for increased productivity is described above and is more effective with smaller plants.  The difference between jabbing and gently applying pressure is actually a graduated difference and can be moderated to suit the job at hand and the user's preference or physical capabilities.  Some people may wish to use power weed twisting as another way of exercising to keep fit.   It's best to attack weeds before they go to seed or flower.  Top-down twisting is more precise and disturbs less soil than the lateral or angular scraping of hoes.  This reduces the likelihood of unearthing more weed seeds hidden in the soil that will probably germinate in the near future.  Twist top-down - Remove more roots - Disturb less soil - Expose less weed seeds - Sever less plant parts, roots and stems:  That's the magic of the unique Ergonica Weed Twister.  See test of top down deep hole twisting skill below.

  1. Angular Twisting - Torpedo:  Deep rooted herbaceous and woody plants, tubers and saplings     

Larger plants may require the angular torpedo approach from the side.  The roots of plants such as Tree of Heaven can be engaged into the coils by wrapping the coils around the base stem just above the ground.  You can also fish for deep, unseen roots and tubers by either the multi-directional hoeing method described above or by twisting into suspect soil from any angle.  The unique coiled tines of this tool allow you to efficiently dig deeply into the soil to hook and grasp any root, stem or fiber in its path.  Although the coils will be less likely to sever such roots or fibers as would the blade of a hoe, caution should be taken to avoid areas where electrical wires, pipes, or favored cultivar roots may exist.  The design of the coils limits the diameter of the root or fiber that can be hooked into the coil to about one inch.  However, keep in mind that the Weed Twister can dig as deeply into the soil as the full length of the handle, currently up to 60 inches.  This depth of penetration exceeds that of any other tool in its class.

Twisting out weeds with the Ergonica Weed Twister is like power hand weeding using a highly articulated extension of the arm and hand with Fingers of Steel.

Testing the Tool, the Soil, the Worker's Skill Level...

Accuracy Test - Careful Pattern Hoeing

Can you carve out your name in the soil with the Weed Twister?  Using the Careful Pattern Hoeing method described above, the trick is to carve out as many letters of the alphabet as possible without lifting the tines above the soil.  For curves, the secret is to move in a clockwise motion.  Try block letters about 12 inches high and only lift the tool above the soil after completing each letter.  Start with your name, then try to do the entire alphabet.  As in the above test, you should select or prepare soil for this test that is typical of the soil conditions where you normally use standard hoes.  For scientific tests in agriculture it is recommended that various models be tested.  Matching the height of the worker with the tool may also affect the results of accuracy testing.

This is a test of accuracy and neatness, not of speed.  The accuracy can then be applied to working carefully with crops or garden areas where weeds are closely nestled between favored plants.  This drill can also be used to train new workers to a higher level of careful precision hoeing not attainable with any other tool.  A variation of this drill could be to write in longhand.  If you're working with people who can't read or write, you may need to show them the patterns by demonstrating the operation yourself or asking a skilled worker to spell out the alphabet on the soil in advance.  Also, keep in mind that people who are literate in other Romance languages, like Spanish or French, do not have the same alphabet as English.  Another variation could be to time yourself or the worker in carving out a set of letters or patterns of your choosing. 

In this test, the accuracy, technique and speed must all be taken into consideration, especially if comparing results with other persons.  In judging the technique, pay special attention to the requirement of not lifting the tool except between letters.  You may also try using other hoeing devices on this test to compare the Ergonica Weed Twister against competing tools for accuracy in careful pattern hoeing.  In judging accuracy, you're the judge, and the standards you establish for yourself and others in your company will be based on your experience and thoughtful expectations.

Deep Hole Test  - Top Down Twisting

Mark a point on the Weed Twister 12 inches above the coil tips with a piece of tape.  Dig by twisting clockwise straight down into soil that is typical of your garden or farm.  This will give you a better sense of what it feels like to twist into deep soil regardless of whether there's a weed or gnarly root in your path.  You will probably discover that it doesn't take very long to twist up to the tape, usually less than a minute.  Pulling out the tool without twisting in reverse will most likely require more effort, however, especially in tough soil conditions or clay.  If you have a root in your tool's grasp, you normally don't want to unwind, because by unwinding the root will remain in the dirt. 

The mechanics of deep hole twisting are similar to using a corkscrew to pull a cork out of a bottle.  The resistance of the soil is comparable to that of the cork surface against the bottleneck.  In both cases there is a hard and smooth surface that rubs against a rough and spongy surface.  The hard, smooth surfaces are the bottle's glass and the Weed Twister's steel. The rough, spongy surfaces are the cork and the soil.  The high quality spring steel provides a measure of flexibility to reduce the resistance when pulling up through the bottlenecked soil.

Weed Twister Deep Hole Twisting Test

 

Use your Legs:   If the resistance is tough when lifting, place the handle next to your chest, bend your knees, and use your legs to pull up on the tool.  Keep your back erect to focus the effort on your legs.  Much like lifting a heavy object, remember that legs trump arms and a stooped back!  This is where the optional T-Handle Expansion Kit comes in handy, although you can wrap both hands around the shaft with the standard T-Handle, as well.   For added torque power, the optional 8-inch handle, allows you to grab the T-Handle with both hands either palms up or fists up, whichever is more comfortable for you.  The longer the shaft, the easier it is to get your legs below the handle.  If you need to work with clay soil and deep roots, irrigate the soil at least a couple of hours or one day before you apply this method.  Sometimes it helps to swivel the top of the tool in a circular fashion or back and forth in a rocking motion to loosen the soil before you pull it up.  This can be done without losing your catch of the day.  If done to excess, however, especially in dry or compacted soil, rocking the tool in one location may cause excessive stress, fatigue and failure of the steel.

Weed Twister Deep Hole Twisting Test

 

By practicing your deep hole twisting techniques in various soil conditions, you will be better prepared to go after the big ones!  If you can twist top down 24 inches and still extract the tool without unwinding the coils, consider yourself an advanced Weed Twister!  This is not recommended for the faint of heart.  Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to twist two feet into the soil to extract a two-foot root.  Working with Ailanthus Altissima, for example, you may be able to pull out a root that is 24 inches long by digging and twisting the main part of the root from a 12-inch depth, as shown on the Weed Twister vs. Tree of Heaven page.  With annuals, such as mallow, for example, if you twist out the top half of the root, you will probably remove all root buds that are capable of sprouting new stems.

Weed Twister Deep Hole Twisting Test

Currently, there appears to be no other hand tool capable of grabbing and extracting roots as deep as 12 inches.  In a separate class, however, tree sapling and brush removing tools that work like wrenches above the soil can be effective for many larger plants, as long as they do not break the stem and leave the roots in the ground.  These wrench-type tools, also tend to be much larger, heavier and twice as expensive as the Ergonica Weed Twister.

 

Weed and Root Size

Weed Height:  the height of a weed is not an issue with the Weed Twister.  If you can center the base stem of the weed into the coil as described at the beginning of the Taller Plants advice,  the Weed Twister can do the job!  In some cases, the roots may bend in directions that vary from the stem.  In this case, you may need to change the angle of attack to find the correct root direction.  In difficult cases, use the tool to probe the roots and locate root extensions.  The maximum diameter of a root that can be effectively removed by the Weed Twister is about 1.5 - 2.5 inches.  There is no limit to the length of the root for effective removal by this tool.   Some of the Tree of Heaven roots as shown on the Weed Twister vs. Tree of Heaven page, for example, have roots nearly two feet in length.  This is a unique feature of the Ergonica Weed Twister.

Removing Plug in Coils: The Tap and Drop Method

Tap Object:  When working in moist soil, often a plug of dirt will accompany the roots in the coil after lifting from the soil.  A quick tap against a hard object will drop the plug of dirt, leaving the roots and stems loosely engaged in the coil.  The  tapping object can be a nearby tree, rock, wagon, landscaping surfaces, or the wooden handle of a large hoe, broom or shovel.   If no hard object is available, you can also bounce the coils on the soil or lawn surface with the same effect, but perhaps requiring a little more effort.  If a trash container or wagon is nearby, you can tap the coils over the container and the entire contents will drop right in.  Quick and easy!  Once the plug is released, you can use a "wanding" (circular waving) motion in a counter-clockwise direction and the debris will fall out by gravity.  That's why we call this the Magic Wand of Weeding!  Smaller Weeds and Seedlings that are hoed or scooped up by the Weed Twister require no lifting, tapping or collecting and can be harmlessly allowed to dry and die on the surface of the soil. 

Switching Tools

You can stand the Weed Twister near your work area by twisting the coils one-turn into the soil.  This is a convenient way of resting the Weed Twister while you reach for another tool or simply take a break.  You can also hang your gloves or other small objects on the "T" handle when not in use.  The "T" handle also securely holds itself on a fence, peg or ledge when you want to put it away.

Lean on Me

Lean on your Weed Twister to help you in your yard work as described above and also to support your upper torso when stooping down.  Lean on your Weed Twister as a walking stick around your garden.  Lean on your Weed Twister to clear your path and also as a potential defense weapon when you hike the trails in remote areas or venture into new paths. 

Tool Maintenance

The Weed Twister needs very little maintenance and should last for a number of years under normal use. 

Tines Sharpening:  The sharpened tines may become dull over a period of years, depending on use.  Sharper points make it easier to penetrate tough soil; however the points do not have to be as sharp as a knife to be used effectively.  A bench grinder or a file may be used to sharpen the points on the tines any time you feel this may be helpful. Sharpened tines are capable of penetrating aluminum cans and other materials for the purpose of cleaning an area of both weeds and trash, for example. A video file on YouTube shows one way to sharpen the tines using a bench grinder:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcKFUUtKhkU 

Shaft Design:  The shaft is a strong steel tube, but not as strong and springy as the tines.  Using the tool as a lever is not recommended as the design of the shaft is not intended to support excessive lateral pressure. The coil tines are made of strong spring steel and will almost always spring back to their normal shape even with extreme stress.  Sometimes the shaft gets bent when the tool is used as a lever to pry out stubborn roots with excessive force.   If a slight bend in the shaft occurs, the tool will probably work just as well. You can also straighten the shaft yourself by placing the ends of the tool on the seats of two chairs separated by most of the length of the shaft and pressing down with your bare hands on the highest point of the bend.  The longer the shaft, more leverage can be applied when prying, and the greater risk of bending the shaft should be expected.  Remember that the tool is designed to be used for twisting and lifting up or pressing straight down into the soil, not for prying out roots with excessive force and extreme angles.

If you can bend the shaft, you can also straighten it.  If you can dull the tines, you can also sharpen them.  It’s in your hands.  We encourage our customers to be ambitious and go for bigger weeds.  If you go for too much, the tool will probably survive maybe with a little tweaking that you should be able to fix yourself.  Go for it!

Learn with Me

Your Weed Twister will help you learn more about weeds, plant roots, soil conditions and how to become independent from harmful herbicides.  By using this tool, you will soon become an expert on the shape and strength of whatever plants you probe in the Fourth Dimension, the space we usually take for granted: underground.  In a way, you will be able to sense and see the shapes of plant fibers in the soil.  You will also learn a little about the dynamic interaction of different shapes of tools against the shapes and fibers of plant roots and underground stems.  Although your Weed Twister has an intelligent (but simple) design, to use it intelligently requires a learning process for every person.  This learning occurs not only in your brain, but in your fingers, hands, arms and total being, as well.  This learning, by the way, never ends.

Agricultural Applications

See the Agriculture page for more information on using the Industrial Weed Twister for agricultural applications.

Other Weed Twister Applications

See the Advanced Tips page for several other Weed Twister applications and techniques.

The Ergonica Weed Twister is an essential tool for every garden and farm where plants are selectively managed or cultivated.

Click here to View or Print WEED TWISTER Quick Tips in PDF Format.

Musings of Dr. Yucca: Weeds are Great for hiding Easter Eggs!8230;

If you don't own a WEED TWISTER, see the WEED TWISTER page for more information. 

12 - Step Herbicide Detoxification Program 

The direct link to this page is www.weedtwister.com/weed_twister_tips.htm.

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Revised: April 5, 2015 .