8 Types of Forks for Garden and Outdoor Needs and Their Function

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Most gardeners agree that a garden fork is a must-have equipment. Do you have any doubts? How will you dig the garden? What about turning the hay or barley without ignoring harvesting the potatoes? Due to these multiple applications, forks have different designs.

As a result, you are likely to purchase the wrong equipment as an amateur if not confusing it for a different tool. Reading this piece can solve such unpleasant predicaments. It highlights the parts of a garden fork without holding highlights of their types. But first, let us know what a garden fork is and then types of forks with their function.

What are the garden forks?

 A garden fork is also known as a spading fork, ‘graip,’ or a digging fork. It is a piece of gardening equipment that has teeth like structures known as tines and a relatively long handle which is usually of wood construction. This tool is useful when loosening, turning, or lifting the garden soil.

Most householders confuse this tool for a spade. The difference comes in on the head structure. For a fork, it has the teeth-like structures, while a shovel has an attached surface that scoops and holds the soil. Also, for a spade handle is usually shorter in comparison to a garden fork handle.

Parts of a fork

By now, you can quickly identify a garden fork. However, that is not enough. It is vital to be aware also of its parts crafting. You would ask why this is important. It will help you not only maintain the tool easily but also get a well-constructed fork from the market. With that said, let’s get to the key matter.


The fork handle is the part that the user holds on while using the tool. It is usually wooden, but recently, there have been plastic handles. Also, some shafts are likely to have a rubber cushioning to prevent palms strains.

Handles also come in different sizes, which make getting the right size easy. Thus all you should ensure is the comfort with the handle length. Still check on the durability of the handle, especially when dealing with tedious tasks.


The ferrule is the round-like part that attaches the head to the handle. It is mostly of a metallic part which is also the tines and tangs (you will read this in the next section) construction


Tang is usually confused for the ferrule. Here is the difference; the tang part is the elongation of the ferrule that extends up to the tines. It is slightly thin but relatively long. On its lower end is the tines while on the upper end is the ferrule


This is the most functional part of a garden fork. On the head or else the lower part of the fork, you will get to see teeth like structures which are likely to be four in number. That part is the tines.

Tines have different sizes and shapes. For the shapes, they can be flat usually used for weeding or transplanting or round, which are excellent while aerating the soil.

Different types of forks for garden and lawn purpose with their function

The type of fork is likely to be determined by the tines structure, which by now you can identify. But before purchasing, put into consideration the following details;

  • Weight-  the fork needs to be of lightweight to reduce strains
  • Length of the handle- the handle length depends on the user’s height. While purchasing, you can try raising it. Or else place it near your feet, it should be slightly above your waist
  • Shape and number of tines- most forks have up to four tines. But as you will discover n the forks types some of them can have only two tines. All you should consider is the use of the fork.
  • The tang and ferrule- these parts need to be sturdy and well attached to the handle.

This section highlights the fork type, its construction, and uses.

Standard-garden fork

The garden fork is used for breaking or sifting soil, digging, slight weeding, and turning the organic matter. Simply, the garden fork can replace all other forks, though it is not advisable.

It has a mid-length handle that might a rubberized grip. The head comes in different sizes, but the tines are commonly length giving a reason for its many uses.  Ideally, the handle is wooden but needs to be firm, especially when penetrating the hard grounds.

Border fork

Also, it is known as ‘ladies’ or a shrubbery fork.  It is a mini-version of a digging fork, which is used in raised beds or small-sized gardens. The head is narrower while the tines are quite sharp for fast penetration to the ground.

Potato fork

This garden fork is specifically designed to help in extracting the potatoes from the soil. It can also be used for tuber vegetables such as carrots. Traditionally, these forks had many tines approximately up to 10, which have been reducing with time.

Additionally, the tines are thin but have blunt tips. This construction ensures that they can get deep in the ground but yet not damage the vegetables or potatoes. Their handles are slightly shorter compared to a digging fork.

Digging fork

It is also known as a spading fork. The digging fork is reliable when weeding for plants or loosening the soil. This type of fork has four tines, while the handle does not have any cushioning. To add, the tines are lengthy and pointed to penetrate the ground. Consequently, it can also be used when digging hard grounds.

Compost fork

Do you have manure that needs to be aerated? The construction of the compost fork will give the best results. Besides, turning the organic materials, the compost fork is quite handy when transplanting.

How is the tines structure? They are long with round tips and beyond four in number.  The handle is long and might have an extension at its tail.

Ergonomic fork

If you are likely to suffer backaches while using a fork, then the ergonomic fork might give you a more relaxed working session. It adopts its name from its ergonomic design, which has a slightly bent handle to minimize the strain on the back muscles.

Addedly, the length of the handle is flexible to provide more comfort. However, the tines structure is dynamic. Hence you will need to consider the job type first.

Hay or pitchfork

This garden fork is usually used when turning light but the bulk of materials such as hay, straw, or barley. However, other gardeners find it useful when moving organic materials of high density.

How is the construction of the pitchfork? Let’s begin with the tines. They are two or three with very elongated lengths. The tines are quite thin, unlike other fork types. Further, the shaft also imitates the lengthy construction. However, it commonly lacks a rubberized handle.

When purchasing this fork, pay much attention to the head. At least it should be of a sturdy material while the spacing of the tines should be large but still reliable to turn the hay.

Trenching fork

The trenching fork has almost the same construction as the digging fork. Though it is firmer to handle the more cumbersome tasks such as digging stony or hard-to-penetrate grounds. Also, it is safer when working on areas that have wires. How is it armed to perform such tasks?

Its handle has an insulated and greatly cushioned for two reasons. First is for safety when digging near the live wires. Secondly, it gives a firm grip, especially when handling the enormous tasks. Lastly, the tines are four in number.


The tines construction critically determines the type and the use of the garden fork. Consequently, tines come in different sizes and shapes. But first, what are tines? These are the teeth-like structures on the head of a fork. The can be maximally four in number or two minimally.

Further, the garden fork is the most common garden equipment which can dig or weed among many other users.  More importantly, after knowing the type of the fork to purchase is checking its weight and height, which should assure comfort. Read through to get more details on the types of garden forks.

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