TOP TEN MOST FEARSOME GARDENING TOOLS

Blogging for Dummies tells me that readers love Top 10 Lists.  So here goes.

After doing a bit of insta-research, I discovered a list of the TOP TEN MOST DANGEROUS GARDEN TOOLS.  This information was gleaned (er, copied) from a UK website posted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. I couldn’t find a comparable list for the US, but I figure American gardeners are victims of the same kinds of gardening accidents as our friends across the pond:

 1. Lawnmowers

I guess this one’s no surprise, though I don’t really know if I’d consider a lawnmower a “gardening tool”.  Anyway, they are scary, that’s for sure.  When most of us imagine a lawnmower mishap, blood and dismemberment are the first things to come to mind, but lawnmowers can harm you in other ways, too.  Stones and debris flung toward the eyes at high velocity, engines that get hot enough to cause first degree burns, and then there’s the the noxious fumes. 

This summer my next-door neighbor nearly died of lawnmower-induced carbon monoxide poisoning.  He was mowing his grass when an afternoon rain shower sprung up, and he took refuge in his shed to wait it out – with his running lawnmower.  It only took a couple of minutes in the cramped space for him to succumb to the fumes and he passed out.  Luckily his wife found him, but he was in the hospital for five days. 

Don’t screw around with lawnmowers.

2. Flowerpots

This one had me scratching my head at first.  How can a flowerpot hurt you?  Are people in the UK doing something unusual with their flowerpots, like hurling them at their neighbors?  But then I realized, oh yeah, big containers weigh a ton, people are lifting them up and moving them around by themselves (like I was yesterday) instead of finding somebody to help them like they really should, only there’s nobody around to help and you don’t want to go ask your spouse or your kids because then you’ll have to track dirt into the house and they’ll roll their eyes and groan because you’re interrupting their TV show to go out and help move a stupid pot.  Anyway, it’s really hard on your back.  I’m sure the injuries are things like torn muscles, slipped discs, and the like.

3. Secateurs and pruners

The word secateurs just sounds dangerous.  Maybe because it’s French and reminds me of words like guillotine.  It sounds like something the Three Musketeers definitely would have carried around with them.  

4. Spades

When digging holes, don’t look up to admire a bluebird on a distant tree branch while plunging the spade down.  Especially don’t do this while wearing flip-flops. 

5. Electric hedgetrimmers

My electric hedge trimmer has a safety feature whereby letting go of the trimmer shuts the motor off.  This is a good feature for me since the trimmer is fairly heavy and my arms start to ache after about 15 minutes of using it, so there is always the danger of suddenly dropping it.  Honestly, I don’t find many situations where the electric hedge trimmer is easier to use than regular hedge-clipping shears.

6. Plant tubs and troughs

See #2 — Flowerpots

7. Shears

I actually think shears are safer than pruners since they require two hands on the handles while in use.  This reduces the chances of pruning your own thumb off, as I nearly did a couple of years ago. 

 8. Garden forks

See #4

9. Hoses and sprinklers

I don’t get this one.  Tripping on a hose is all I can think of.  Are people peering down the ends of their hoses, wondering why they’re not working, and then getting blasted in the eye with a gush of water, like in a Tom and Jerry cartoon?  I don’t own a sprinkler so I’m not familiar with the dangers they pose. I suppose barefooted children frolicking in the spray could be at risk. Frolicking children are always at risk, it seems.

10. Garden canes and sticks

Again, this was a UK study, so I’m not familiar with “garden canes” and “sticks.”  Probably they’re stakes and supports of various kinds. They sound so quaint and Beatrix Potter-ish, but in a fearsome way: “And then, Farmer McGregor picked up his garden cane and started to swing it furiously at Peter Rabbit’s head.”  Anyway, try not to skewer yourself on these while tying up your tomatoes.

Comments

  1. Mary,
    I love the tone and wry commentary of this, especially on the British terms. It’s a dangerous world out there, isn’t it?
    I could nominate a few tools in general that are dangerous: one is the power planer (planed the end of my thumb off last summer), the manual post hold digger (I just hate using one) and the power post hole auger. My day and I found out what happens when one of those big dogs hits a rock. The bit stops but the head with the motor and two operators clinging on for grim life continues to operate, hurllng the operators into the distance.

    Thanks for a good read.

  2. I’ve never done it, but post-hole digging sounds just AWFUL to me. When there is any danger of being “hurled” by a piece of equipment, that’s when I break down and hire somebody. :o)

  3. Slightly amazed that ladders/steps are not on the list and in part must be at the cause of some of the shear/hedge trimming incidents.

  4. In my experience, window boxes are still quite popular in the UK… that could be another reason flowerpots, plant tubs and troughs are perceived as being dangerous enough to fill both #2 and #6 “Most Fearsome Gardening Tools”

  5. I have cut my left hand badly when plunged deep into a perennial and the right hand was doing the pruning, blind so to speak.

    And gopher and ground squirrel traps! I’ve had some instant karma with those.

    And a fence pounder once smashed me badly.

    And . . . this is making me re-think my day. I think I’ll go lie down.

    • Deva,
      I have an identical injury on my left hand from the exact sort of “blind pruning” you describe. Boy I learned my lesson with that one.

      I’m lucky that I don’t have gopher and squirrel problems, but yeah, the traps sound treacherous.

      And what in the heck is a “fence pounder”????

      Mary

  6. Your neighbor waited in his shed with the lawnmower running?!

    • Alas, he did. The interesting thing is, he and his family moved right after he got out of the hospital. I don’t know if the moved was already planned, but it looked suspiciously like the move was motivated by embarassement. I think in general he was a bright guy, and it was just a momentary judgment lapse.

  7. Ahh… What a nice way to begin a day! From the safety of my desk I ‘learn’ from other people’s mishaps and accidents.
    And what a fun way to look at our profession, too.
    Thanks!
    Christiane

  8. I am terrified of lawnmowers! My husband Mulch Boy has one, but I refuse to use it because I know somehow I’ll hurt myself or others. So instead, I bought myself a little rotary mower (Moe), and now I can take my turn cutting the grass, not worry about doing anyone an injury, AND feel smug for not polluting!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Ten Most Annoying Garden Buzzwords and Catchphrases of 2011, Top Ten Gardening Gifts from Hell, and Top Ten Most Fearsome Gardening Tools. But don’t let the humor fool you; there is a lot of serious substance in this blog, including […]

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