The best garden forks for every job in your garden
If you're struggling in the garden then the chances are you're not using the right tool for the job. Think you know the humble garden fork? Think again and browse our selection of the very best for every purpose.
Garden forks come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, each fine-tuned over the years to be perfect for every garden need.
So while it's tempting to stick with your old favourite, perhaps handed down from generation to generation, or long-overdue a return to your neighbour, the fact is that there's most likely something better (stronger, faster and easier) waiting for you out there.
We've got something for every occasion below. Take a look and then treat yourself. And once you've made the switch we guarantee you won't go back.
The classic long-handled fork. Four long, sharp, stainless steel tines and an extra-long shaft to deliver extra leverage when digging to save your back and get the job done faster. Wondered why you've struggled when digging with your usual fork? (Or thought about getting stuck in only to find something a little more lightweight to do instead?) It's because your old fork isn't made for digging and lifting.
This special RHS-approved model from Burgon and Ball is extra strong too, with a breaking strain of 100Kg – i.e. More than you can actually lift and 82% stronger than British standard. If want a fork that'll last then you just found it.
- Buy now from Suttons (£29.99)
If you've been busy with your compost recently odds are that you've been aimlessly lifting and dropping as much as you've moved and turned. The secret is in the tines and a proper manure fork has extra tines to give better lifting of fine and flaky substrates. So ditch your three or four pronged model and go for a proper manure fork especially designed for turning manure or compost and get the job done right.
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This selection from Suttons is wide with those vital extra tines and is especially balanced for lifting. Plus the T-handle is ideal for hanging when the job's done. And – in bright red – it's not easily forgotten and left to the elements.
Yes. There's a fork for that. A potato fork features scooped tines toward the centre that make it easier to collect the potatoes as you dig them up. No more rolling around and dropping them, meaning that you get that heavyweight harvest done faster with less damage to their outer skins – essential if you're planning Masterchef-style presentation of skin-on recipes and potato salads.
It's spoon-shaped head and ten narrow tines are tailor made for your spuds and the strong, knotless ash shaft means that it won't flex or distort as you take on heavy loads.
- Buy now from Great Dixter (£85.85)
Stop giggling at the back. Yes. We said tickling fork. A tickling fork is perfect for targeting weeds and works soil in tight spaces, getting between your delicate border plants to root out invaders and keep things perfect without causing more mischief than the effort is worth. And our selection has fabulous heritage that just proves it's perfect for the job.
Designed by the staff of Great Dixter and especially made by Sneeboer it's perfect for tending Great Dixter's packed borders, with its three spacious prongs being ideal for getting in and doing good. Plus this beauty's long handle lets you reach to where you need it and saves your back too.
- Buy now from Implementations (£180)
If you're having difficulty with hard ground when using a spade and your fork is just puncturing the surface then you need a border fork. A border fork is chunkier than a fork – so it'll make an impact and make a difference – but not as solid as a spade – so it'll get into tough ground and break it up before you break your back. It's perfect for severing soil without tiring yourself out moving around huge clods of earth. The perfect all-rounder, therefore, meaning that most of the time you can leave your spade AND your usual fork hung in the shed.
This Antares model has a bronze head that'll stay clean and sharp with a steam-bent ash shaft and T-handle. It's a bit special. Treat yourself.
Long-handled weeding fork
- Buy now from Sneeboer (£49.50)
Why crawl around in the dirt when you can take care of your weeding from an altogether more refined upright disposition? Get more weeding done quicker with a long-handled weeding fork such as this one from the mighty Sneeboer. Most weeding forks are hand-tools but this hybrid combines the wide, sharp flat tines you need (for getting between plants before cutting and slicing) with a long shaft with a rounded end for easier pushing and turning.
It's just the job for plucking out the uninvited from your flowerbeds and banishing gatecrashers from your borders.
Got roses? Good news. Yes, there's a fork for them too. Your rose fork is a curious-looking and rare shed dweller, made distinctive through it's two long, flat, sharp, bevelled tines with a dagger-like tips. Push into the soil between your rose's roots – perhaps adding a little pressure if needed via the fork's wide foot stands – and you can loosen and aerate the soil exactly where you need it without causing undue disturbance to your delicates.
In fact, while ideal for roses, you can use it anywhere where you need to increase drainage or for digging long-rooted weeds out from heavy soil. Double bonus.
Broad Fork by Dewit
- Buy now from Waitrose Garden (£104.99)
If you've got a tough gardening gig ahead of you then you need to bring out the big guns. This double-take-inducing broad fork is the closest thing you're going to get to having JCB-style powered assistance in your hands. Firstly it's extra wide at 35cm – hence broad fork – with five sharp, long, circular tines designed to enter the soil vertically. Secondly it has a double handle, with a curve halfway along, allowing your upper body to get to work with maximum leverage.
And finally there's that distinctive 'standing plate' allowing you to – rather than push with one foot – actually mount the fork and push down with your entire bodyweight. Perfect for breaking up compacted soil before going in with something more refined. Job = done.
Daniel Griffiths is a veteran journalist who has worked on some of the biggest home and entertainment brands in the world. He is a serial house-renovator and home improvement expert, taking on everything from interior design and DIY to landscape gardening and garden design.