While gardening, or landscaping, often we come across the need to dig out the soft soil in our garden to makes small holes. We need them for fencing or planting plugs or fixing some support sticks to help climbing plants, etc.
But for each purpose, the holes vary in numbers, sizes, and depths.
For instance, when we decide to put a fence around a garden, we need more holes than we will need for planting plugs.
Even the width and the depths of the holes will be larger. So, making holes for fence posts is more tedious work. This monotonous job can be made easy with Earth Auger’s use – a tool that can make holes easily.
What is an Earth Auger?
An auger is somewhat similar to the drilling machines in structure and function. And likewise, it is used for drilling holes but in the soft soil. It is either equipped with a spiral drill or a pod-type drill that spins at high speed and dig out the ground. The drill is in the shape of a helical blade that easily pulls out the drilled material while rotating.
The Auger, specifically designed to dig out the post holes, is known as Earth Augers.
They are widely used in nurseries, greenhouses, landscaping, etc. They are also used by the agricultural institutes, highway authorities, contractor fencing, etc.
Types of Earth Auger
During gardening and farming, we come across a need for digging holes of different sizes and depths. And sometimes we need too many spots. So, a single type of Earth Auger is not a solution for quick work. There are three different types of Auger, and each is designed for specific purposes. Thus, here is the list of different kinds of Earth Auger
Just in case you want a few two or three holes in your lawn to plant saplings or shrubs, a hand auger is the best option. It has the simplest structure of all augers. It doesn’t have much weight, which makes it portable and inexpensive. Thus, all these features make it ideal for small purposes of gardening and lawns.
As the name suggests, the Auger needs to be spun by hands, and the drill in the front goes into the soil to dig it out.
These hand augers have a typical cutting depth of 2 meters to 3 meters, but sometimes they can bore as deep as 5 meters. The cutting width of these holes is around 4 inches to 8 inches.
One Man Auger
When the hand auger is not enough to complete your job, a one-person auger can be useful for you. Unlike hand auger, it can either be powered by an engine or battery, which means you don’t have to toil manually to dig out the soil. So, you can conveniently dig two to twelve holes in your garden using this Auger. And its lightweight feature does not make your hand weary.
Additionally, it is designed to dig deeper holes than the hand auger driller. Hence, this Auger is ideal for making holes to plant a couple of saplings or putting up a small fence. This augers can also be used for drilling through thick ices.
Two Man Auger
As the name says, these augers require two persons to be operated. This tool is ideal if you have too many holes to dig out. The holes made by these augers are more in-depth and broader than the one-person Auger. This digging tool is large and is heavy, which is a given fact depending on the size of the holes. Usually, these augers are powered by either a 2-cycle or a 4-cycle engine.
Earth Auger – Buyer’s Guide
Here are a few tips you can check out before buying an Earth Auger for your gardening purpose.
Manual or Powered
As discussed earlier, the Auger can be either driven manually or can be powered. And choosing one over the other depends on your requirements. So, do you need an auger for rear and light digging purposes? A hand auger can be ideal because it is easy to use and inexpensive than the powered Auger.
But if you plan to do some heavy-duty gardening jobs in the future, powered augers can be more useful. It helps you to complete the tiring assignments in a more accessible manner.
Battery or Fuel
If you have a heavy-duty landscaping job and need a powered auger, you have to choose between battery or gas-powered machines. While both are efficient in their jobs, there are some advantages that you need to consider. Fuel-powered augers are prone to emit gas and noise and require high maintenance. While in the case of a battery-powered auger, you don’t have to face much hassle. But they are expensive and need battery replacement from time to time.
Power of the Engine
How efficiently the auger will run is determined by the engine power. The engine powered augers usually have a power range between 2 HP to 5 HP. The high-powered ones are specially used when you have to make holes in the harder soils.
Moreover, the engine efficiency is also determined by whether you choose to buy an engine with two strokes or a four-stroke cycle. While the former one is noisier and emits gas, the latter one produces much less noise. This feature makes the four-stroke Auger more efficient and expensive. Moreover, they do not require as high maintenance as the two-stroke ones.
The Diameter of the Hole
Holes for fence or post needs a comparatively wider diameter than the holes you need for planting saplings. So, before you buy an auger, you must determine the purpose you will use the Auger.
There is a wide range of options for the diameter of the hole. In the case of the one-person Auger, the diameter can range from 2 inches to 12 inches. While for the two-person Auger, it can be as wide as 14 inches.
Finally, it would be best if you determined the required depth of the holes. Just for instance, if you are buying an auger to makes holes for your plants and shrubs or the stakes, a 2.5 feet length is justified. But what if you need to plant a fence around your garden?
To make the fence standing stable at its place, they need to be planted deeper than the saplings. So, you need deeper holes, which can be obtained by adding extensions. By this method, you can dig a hole as deep as 7.5 feet.
How to use an Earth Auger?
Earth Augers are very simple to use and are the most efficient machines that can be used to dig out holes. So, here are some simple guidelines that you can follow while using Earth Auger.
- Before you start digging holes for fence posts, estimate the dimensions (widths and depth) carefully. It is because after digging, un-digging a spot is difficult.
- Before you start digging with the Auger, make a small hole at the ground’s required spot with a shovel. It prevents the drill’s bit from wandering.
- Keep the Auger vertically downwards as you press it against the ground (don’t let it tilt)
While you start the Auger, rotate it in the clockwise direction.
- Unlike power drills, augers have no reverse. So, while digging, pull it up frequently so that you can remove the loose dirt from the hole.
You can use a drain spade or a trenching spade for this purpose.
- After digging, use a digging bar to fine-tune the drilled holes and remove the remaining loose dirt spade.
Safety Measures for Power Auger
Before using any machine, one must always take safety precautions to prevent any unexpected situations. So, here are some actions you must consider before you start working with an Earth Auger.
- Before you start with augers, take all the safety precautions. Wear safety goggles and hearing protection. Additionally, put on sturdy shoes and long pants, which will prevent you from getting soiled.
- Make sure to turn the Auger off when you move from one hole to another.
- If you have a weed barrier under your soil, it can easily get wrapped around the auger bit and cause unexpected accidents. So, before you start digging, know what is under the ground.
- If you are digging close to a tree, you may encounter tree roots. Or the Auger may also sometimes run into rocks, which will result in an unexpected jolt. So, be prepared beforehand.
- If you decide not to plant the fence post on the same day of digging, cover the holes with some fabric or wood. It will prevent the debris from flying into it.
- After using the Auger, clean, and store it in some cool place. You can follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for its maintenance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here we have listed the most common doubts people have regarding augers.
What is an Earth Auger used for?
An earth auger is a farming or gardening tool used to dig out holes in the soft earth. These can be used for various purposes, like fixing a fence post or plant shrubs. Sometimes, these augurs are also used to make holes in the ice.
What size Auger do I need?
The size of the Auger depends on whether you want it for planting plugs or small fence posts. An auger of size 2 inches to 3 inches will do the job for the pant purpose. But when you want it for fencing purposes, you might want a 4 inches auger or anything more extensive than that.
How deep should I bury a 10-foot post?
To make the post stand stable on the ground, they must be buried ⅓ or ½ deep of its total height. That means if you have a 10-foot fence post, you need to bury it at least 3 or 4 feet deep.
How wide should be a hole for burying a fence post?
The diameter of the hole should be at least three times the width of the fence post. That means if you need to fix a post of 4 inches, you need to dig out a hole of a minimum of 12 inches width.
How deep can a one-man / two-person Auger dig?
There is a wide range of variety when it comes to the drilling depths of the Auger. Usually, the one-person Auger has a digging depth of 3 feet.
Four feet to five feet is a mandatory depth for the house deck’s footing or other structure if you live in a cold place where frost depths exceed 3 feet. To dig deeper holes, you can add extensions in the driller socket (usually, extensions require no extra cost). It helps you to dig out a spot of 4 to 5 feet deep for a small price.
What is the difference between an Auger and a post hole digger?
Both an Auger and a post hole digger has a similar job, but the latter runs on gas, propane, or battery. The pro side is they can dig a hole faster and more conveniently than a hand Auger. So, if you need to make more than two holes, a post hole digger would be a better investment.
Will a hand Auger go through tree roots?
As said earlier, a user needs to operate a hand auger manually. So, it is a very challenging task to make the auger go through tree roots. And simultaneously, it is time-consuming to try and chop the root manually.
For this purpose, you can use powered augers. This power-driven tool can drill through the tree roots, allowing you to fix a fence post right where you want it.
How deep can a hand Auger go?
It is the most straightforward tool one can use to dig the soft earth. Since the operation is entirely manual, these borings are generally limited to 2 meters to 3 meters. You can use extensions to make borings to a depth of 5 meters or more on certain occasions.