I affectionately call my mattock the “Mad Axe” because of its incredible strength. It has a sturdy fiberglass handle and a stout steel head with a horizontal adze on one side and a pick on the other. This is my go-to tool for breaking up thick clay soil, digging trenches, and chopping through roots. I use it to score the sides of planting holes to encourage root penetration and to pry well-established plants from the ground. The heavy head takes advantage of gravity to add more force to every swing, making this one powerful tool. I plan on replacing my older mattock soon with the 5-pound fiberglass-handle steel pick mattock currently available from Kobalt (pictured).
—Kimberly Toscano is a horticulturist based in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She is the previous host of Oklahoma Gardening, a weekly PBS television program.