How to prepare to use a hole auger

To avoid damage to yourself, garden, or tools there are 7 things you should always do before using a hole auger making the process safer, faster and neater.

What should I do before using a hole auger?

Seven things to do prior to using a hole auger to ensure the safest, neatest, fastest and most comfortable way to dig a hole.

Protect yourself

Always wear a pair of non-slip padded gloves to improve your grip on the auger handles and to avoid any potential blisters, protective footwear with a firm grip is also recommended.

Check for utilities

Always check that area that you will be digging does not have any hidden utilities such as electrical or broadband cabling, water pipework or sewerage. It is easier to change where you plan to dig than it is to repair a water or electrical supply.

Plan where to dig

When planning out fence posts or planting hedges along a straight border line use string tightened between two pegs and line marker turf paint to decide exactly where you will dig along a perfectly straight line.

Check for rocks

Pre-landscaped gardens should not need any additional preparation, but always be ready for some unexpected chunks of rocks, concrete or cement when digging fence posts in an existing border. Augers used in rocky soil will struggle, if you do discover that the area is rocky you will need to break up larger chunks using either a pickaxe, digging bar, SDS hammer drill breaker or a jack hammer.

Soften the soil

Any tough, hardened soil can be softened prior to digging by soaking the area with water to prevent the auger getting stuck in the ground.

Protect the surrounding area

Placing a tarpaulin in the surrounding area next the hole will ensure flowerbeds and grass are not inadvertently covered in chunks of surplus soil.

Remove excess soil

The contents of hole you are digging will need somewhere to go and you might wish to keep the area free from surplus soil. Tapping the auger against a hard surface will help dislodge any compacted soil from the blade. Use a wheelbarrow to collect the soil will give you a sturdy container to tap against although a lightweight gardening bucket isn’t as practical because it can easily be tipped over.