It’s crazy to think that out of all of the tools I use from the hand tools to the power tools that my absolute favorite gardening tool, the one that I am still both obsessed and impressed with, is a Roughneck mattock. I’ve been a landscape gardener for over 10 years and it’s embarrassing to admit that until last year, I didn’t even know what a mattock was!
Honestly, I was at a job cutting down and removing some hedges where the tree roots had to be removed. Due to access, we were unable to use a stump grinder but since the roots weren’t huge we figured that we would do the work with nothing but a spade, an ax and some other tools to help with the work. But you know how it is, you go and price up a job, think to yourself “Oh those roots won’t be a problem” but as soon as you start to work on them it hits you! What have I got myself into! Well, this was one of those jobs!
After about 4 hours of working hard, trying to get these roots out, we were worried about the work going onto an extra day. We hadn’t budgeted for an extra day and we had a job booked for the following day. It was at this point I called my brother Ricky to ask him for an extra pair of hands as he was working locally in the area and as luck would have it he had finished early that day and had arrived 30 minutes later with nothing but a Roughneck mattock.
There were a large number of roots to get out of the ground which was just taking too long with nothing but a spade and ax! With so many roots and the ground being so hard, time was passing by very quickly with not much being done. Anyway, here comes Ricky with his mattock, all by himself and just like that, this tool would eat into the ground tearing anything up that stands in its way (within reason of course). The mattock would digger quicker than any spade could and with a quick flip of the tool, he was chopping roots with the ax, which due to the design made our actual ax seem useless. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we were able to relax for the rest of the day and had the job completed on time.
The very next Morning, I went to Screwfix and picked up a Roughneck 5LB Mattock 36″ and have been using it ever since. I remove tree roots with it (within reason), dig trenches, loosen soil before removing earth and the list goes on! Now I’m not saying that you need to stay away from any manufactured mattock except from Roughneck as the truth is, I purchased their brand due to my brother having the exact same one which worked well. I’m sure that providing the mattock has a good weight to it then they should all do the same job.
But for anyone thinking about getting one…Don’t hesitate and go and get one today. Me and my business partner have nicknamed ours ‘the beast’ and are still more impressed with this little tool than we are of any other tool! It digs so much better than a spade, that we use the mattock to loosen the earth and then a spade to pick it up!