Weed Wrench


Removing big weeds

THE tool for the job if you’re uprooting alien and invasive plants such as French broom and Scotch broom. Those plants, like other invasives, tend to form aggressive monoculture areas that drive out local biodiversity, and they often make dense undergrowth fire hazards. Ripping them out is a kind of joy — a fine workout, more productive in every way than a couple hours at the gym.

Built like a cast-iron frying pan, the Weed Wrench is a seriously macho tool. Its fierce jaws grip the miscreant plant or small tree by the throat (base of stem), and big leverage yanks it bodily out of the ground. If you get the smallest (mini) and the largest Weed Wrenches, you’ve got everything covered up to 2 inch diameter (beyond that, use a saw).

— Stewart Brand

Many of us who own land in coastal northern California have a constant problem eradicating (or even keeping under control) Scotch broom, that ubiquitous plant with the yellow flowers that covers more of the hills every year. After a rain it isn’t too hard to pull out if you have a strong back and the right warrior spirit. But sometimes they are just too big or the ground is too dry. That’s when you need the Weed Wrench. It’s basically a big lever with a set of jaws at ground level to grip the trunk of the plant. You pull slowly until the jaws engage then yank it out of the ground, roots and all. If broom or other woody weeds are a problem for you, get one of these things. There’s nothing else that even comes close for effective broom removal. It amazes me that they aren’t in every hardware story in northern California, but so it is. Order it from the web site. They come in four sizes. The medium is probably best for most jobs.

— John Coate