Spades: Spades have a flat, rather than scooped, blade with squared edges. With a spade, you can cut easily through sod and create straight edges in soil. Use a spade for digging planting holes, prying up rocks, dividing and moving perennials, cutting unwanted tree and shrub roots, tamping sod, and digging trenches. A spade handle is generally shorter than a shovel handle, usually ranging from 28 to 32 inches. Like shovels, spades should also have a turned edge or footrest on the top of the blade.