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A hoe is an ancient and versatile agricultural and horticultural hand tool used to shape soil, remove weeds, clear soil, and harvest root crops. Shaping the soil includes piling soil around the base of plants (hilling), digging narrow furrows (drills) and shallow trenches for planting seeds or bulbs. Weeding with a hoe includes agitating the surface of the soil or cutting foliage from roots, and clearing soil of old roots and crop residues. Hoes for digging and moving soil are used to harvest root crops such as potatoes.
A draw hoe has a blade set at approximately a right angle to the shaft. The user chops into the ground and then pulls (draws) the blade towards them. Altering the angle of the handle can cause the hoe to dig deeper or more shallowly as the hoe is pulled. A draw hoe can easily be used to cultivate soil to a depth of several centimetres. A typical design of draw hoe, the "eye hoe", has a ring in the head through which the handle is fitted.or "swivel hoe") has a double-edge blade that bends around to form a rectangle attached to the shaft. Weeds are cut just below the surface of the soil as the blade is pushed and pulled. The back and forth motion is highly effective at cutting weeds in loose or friable soil. The width of the blade typically ranges between 8 and 18 cm (3 and 7 in). The head is a loop of flat, sharpened strap metal. However, it is not as efficient as a draw hoe for moving soil.
The human damage caused by long-term use of short-handled hoes, which required the user to bend over from the waist to reach the ground, and caused permanent, crippling lower back pain to farm workers, resulted, after struggle led by César Chávez with political help from Governor Jerry Brown in the California Supreme Court declaring the short-handled hoe to be an unsafe hand tool that was banned under California law in 1975.Over the past fifteen or twenty years, hoes have become increasingly popular tools for professional archaeologists. While not as accurate as the traditional trowel, the hoe is an ideal tool for cleaning relatively large open areas of archaeological interest. It is faster to use than a trowel, and produces a much cleaner surface than an excavator bucket or shovel-scrape, and consequently on many open-area excavations the once-common line of kneeling archaeologists trowelling backwards has been replaced with a line of stooping archaeologists with hoes. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)