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What is a compost fork?

What is a compost fork?

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Its uses

A manure or mulch fork is very similar in design and have the same function. A compost fork is also known as a manure fork or a mulch fork. Compost, manure and mulch are essentially decayed organic matter used as a fertiliser for growing plants. Matter will compost (break down) in time but will compost faster if it is turned over frequently.
A compost fork (also known as a manure or mulch fork) is sued for loosening, aerating and transplanting compost or manure. Uses include:

  • Loosening, aerating and transplanting compost or manure.
  • Turning over and moving other bulk organic material such as mulch.
  • General mucking out!

The tines

This fork has four widely-spaced tines and a curved shape for easy scooping Some compost forks have four long tines with fine points allowing the fork to push through the fibres of rotting compost. Choose widely spaced tines so that chunky material does not get stuck between the tines. Look for curved tines that form a ‘basket’ shape to cup and contain material.
More tines means less space between them, which is ideal for loose material as it is unlikely to get stuck. Other compost forks will have more than four tines, sometimes as many as ten!

The head will be slightly wider and the tines more closely-spaced, which is ideal for picking up stones and loose material such as wood chips, bark and leaves. However, for coarser material such as hay or straw, choose a fork with more space between the tines, that is, fewer tines,

Solid socket means that the blade and tines are forged from one piece of steel and the shaft is held in place with rivets. The most robust tines are forged from one piece of steel.  That is, either a solid socket connection…
Two steel straps secured to a wooden shaft with rivets …or a strapped socket connection.

For more information on socket connections, please see our section: How are the tines attached to the shaft?

The shaft

Make sure that the joins on a steel fork are of a high quality A steel fork should have high quality welds (metal joins) that have no open points to allow water to enter. This will reduce the risk of internal rust and damage. There should not be any fractured seams: welds must look immaculate and as smooth as possible.
Handle fitted with a soft grip and wide angle for cushioned support The handle grip can be D- or T-shaped.  Look for soft, cushioned grips for added comfort. For those with particularly large or small hands, which don’t fit easily around a D- grip, choose the T- grip. Alternatively, look for a wider-shaped D-grip to protect your hands.
The shaft is 48 inches and ideal for additional leverage when turning over mountains of compost! The length of the shaft usually measures at:

  • A standard length of 700mm (28 inches)
  • A long length of 800mm (32 inches) plus.
  • Or extra-long at 1200mm (48 inches) plus.
For more information on choosing a shaft, please refer to our page: Is the length of the shaft important?

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