I am thinking about purchasing a flame weeder for pathways, young seedlings, etc and am wondering if anyone has experience with these and if they are worth it? They cost around $70.
Hi Katipoo - I have one! I love it, but as with all tools, it doesn't fit every scenario! I have not tried it in newly planted beds, usually because I'm behind in testing my seed germination and don't want to burn seedlings. We used it on edges, over the tulip beds (after everything died back and then replanted cosmos there). We also use it after an initial tilling with the tractor for areas we haven't planted yet. I recommend a backpack. I don't have a backpack and wish I did. We pull the 10 gal. propane tank in my kids' little tykes wagon (wide wheels!).
I also recommend the "valve control" thing...it helps regulate the propane and "flame". But, I still am glad we have it.
I had a somewhat bigger one, attached to a small propane tank in a back harness, with a hand wand, with the valve control attachment (I think it's essential). It worked well, in some situations, but I didn't like it. Our weed problem was ferocious. Even after four or five initial tillings, quackgrass roots weren't affected much by flaming - maybe if you flamed every single tiny blade of it once a week, for a year, it might finally exhaust the roots. I was growing crops side-by-side with my sister's veggie crops then, so there was a lot of area to cover, way too much area to do that. And, of course, you can't flame very close to desirable plants. Since I direct-seeded almost nothing, due to our short, cold season, flaming over seeds just planted wasn't a useful idea. Tilling was a lot better for us, in our situation. If I were treating a much smaller area, perhaps brick or stone walkways, that had been kept weed-free for several years, flaming might be useful, but even then I couldn't get close to the plants on the edge of the walkway. Since it doesn't kill the roots, it has to be done repeatedly and often to work. My sister found it somewhat useful in her corn beds. I sold it to her when she left our farm and don't regret it.
Wow. That is a good price for a flame weeder. I have seen them for $200 plus $57 for the squeeze handle.
Quackgrass roots cannot be controlled with a flame weeder. This unit isn't intended for tough mature weeds, or perennial weeds. It is used most effectively on newly germinated weed seedlings. When you use it, what you will be watching for is the leaves changing from matte to shiny. This will be your indication that the weed has been killed. It isn't necessary for the weed to turn black and turn to a crisp.
IÂ´m looking for efective weeding control systems.
Do anybody know farmers using these systems?.
We have tree fruit cultivars. Do anybody know farmers working with flame weeders in tree fruit lines?.
Thank you very much.