What Is Flame Weeding?
Flame weeding is the act of removing weeds from your garden using fire. It involves burning plants or other objects to kill them. There are many types of flammable materials that can be used for flame weed removal. These include: wood, paper, plastic, metal and even human hair! You may have heard stories about how some people burn their lawn with matches in order to get rid of unwanted grasses. However, these methods are not recommended because they produce toxic fumes and cause damage to the surrounding area.
The most common method of flame weed removal is to use a gas torch. A gas torch uses a small amount of oxygen (usually around one percent) to create flames which then consume the material being burned.
Gas torches are usually powered by electricity but there are also electric ones available. They work much like a regular lighter except instead of lighting up the object being lit, it ignites the fuel.
There are several different types of gas torches available. Some are designed to be used indoors while others can be operated outdoors.
All gas torches come in various sizes and shapes so you will need to choose one that fits your needs.
Gas Torch Types: Electric vs. Butane vs.
Gas torches typically fall into one of three categories: propane, butane, or electric. Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Electric Torches: These are the most common types of torch and are easy to find at most hardware and home improvement stores. They usually run on a 12V battery and can have an attached trigger or a wand which allows you to move the flame around.
These are good for small jobs and weeding in tight spots but they usually do not work as quickly as other types of torches.
Butane Torches: These torches are similar to the ones that you use to light the backyard grill. They are easy to find at stores such as Home Depot.
All you have to do is fill them up with butane, turn the knob a few times, and pull the trigger. Some of them have adjustable flames so you can choose the size of the flame. They are fairly easy to use although they can be a little on the heavy side.
Propane Torches: These are the largest and most powerful torches available. They are usually used by people who do professional welding jobs but a quick search on Google or at a store like Harbor Freight Tools will show you that most people buy them to burn weeds!
These are the best choice if you have a large area that needs flame weeding. They usually use a disposable propane tank and a little physical strength is needed to handle them.
Tips For Using A Flame Thrower:
If you decide to use a propane or butane torch then you need to be aware of a few safety tips. First and foremost, NEVER use one of these devices inside your home or garage.
Also, make sure you never use one of these devices on a windy day because the sparks and heat can easily cause a dry patch of grass to instantly catch fire.
It’s also important to keep these devices away from kids and pets. A small child or pet may think the flame is fascinating at first but they could get burned if they are too close so always be aware of your surroundings when you are using one of these devices.
Be sure to wear gloves while using a flame weeder. The heat that is produced can cause painful burns if it gets on your skin.
Long sleeve shirts and pants are recommended as well since the material will act as extra protection from the heat.
Finally, never spray chemicals or put water on a flame that is already burning. This can cause the device to explode so it is important to always let the flame burn itself out.
Flame Weeding In Action:
Here is a short video of a man using a propane torch to kill weeds in his yard. Notice how he is standing a safe distance away and wearing protective clothing:
Aerosol Flame Weeding
Some people prefer aerosol based herbicides because they are easy to use. You just take your sprayer, point, and spray.
Is it possible to make an effective weed burning tool using an aerosol can?
The Tools You’ll Need:
There are several tools you can choose from when it comes to flame weeding with an aerosol can. Some of them are extremely dangerous so try this project at your own risk.
That being said, let’s take a look at your options.
Fuel Oil Mixture:
One of the most common ways to use an aerosol can is to fill it up with a fuel oil mixture such as white gas, kerosene, or even diesel fuel. These liquids are easy to obtain and they work well when it comes to burning weeds.
The main challenge with this technique is getting the right mixture in the can so that it produces just the right amount of flame. Too much and the flame will be too hot and it could easily cause burns or even start a fire. Too little and the flame won’t be hot enough to kill the weeds. You also need to be careful when you are using a flammable liquid because if you get it on your skin it can cause burns.
You can fill an aerosol can with isopropyl alcohol instead of a flammable liquid mixture. Isopropyl alcohol is not quite as flammable as the other liquids.
In fact, you can easily light a sheet of newspaper with this liquid and it won’t even burn. However, add just a little bit of acetone to the isopropyl alcohol and it will catch on fire by itself. The acetone is what you need to kill the weeds. You can find small bottles of acetone at your local hardware store in the paint section. Just pour a little bit in with the alcohol and you will have the perfect herbicide.
Before you begin, make sure you wear protective clothing and safety goggles as a precaution. It isn’t recommended that you do this project because the mixture could explode if it isn’t prepared correctly but the demonstration should show you the idea behind this method.
Pour the isopropyl alcohol into the can first. Remember that you will need acetone so add a couple of drops at first and then mix it.
The more acetone you add, the more the mixture will burn. If you add too much though the mixture could explode.
Add a few drops of acetone to the alcohol and then cap the can. Shake it well and spray it at a piece of cardboard.
You should be able to start a fire with ease once the cardboard is drenched.
You can also try lighting a piece of newspaper with the mixture to see how easy it is to ignite.
Flame Weeding in Action:
Here is a short video of a man using an aerosol can filled with alcohol and acetone to kill weeds:
It is also possible to light weeds with a flaming newspaper. Yes, you read that right.
It may sound a little crazy but it works surprisingly well. The newspaper doesn’t actually burn the plant. Instead, it over heats and chars the dirt around the plant’s roots. After being exposed to the intense heat, the roots eventually die and then the plant follows soon after. Because this technique doesn’t actually kill the plant immediately, you need to make sure that you get all of the weeds while they are young so that they don’t have a chance to spread their seeds all over your yard.
Get a handful of old newspapers and rip them into small pieces. Soak the newspaper pieces in some diesel or kerosene until they are completely soaked.
Take a metal tin can and poke several holes in the bottom. The idea is to have the liquid drip out slowly so be sure to make lots of holes.
Pile the soaked newspaper pieces in the bottom of the can. Be sure to leave enough room at the top of the can for the liquid to flow out of the holes in the bottom.
Put the cap on the can and place it on a flat surface such as cement.
Pour a small amount of kerosene or diesel over the newspaper. Be sure not to overfill the can.
The liquid should start dripping out of the bottom of the can.
Place the tin can near your weeds and light the newspaper on fire. Be sure to be a safe distance away from the can when you do this.
The newspaper should start burning and dripping burning liquid on the weeds. It should not take long before you see the black smoke indicating that the weeds have been burnt to a crisp.
Repeat this process until all of your weeds are dead and then dump the can out on the ground to get rid of the mess.
Here is a short video of newspaper being used to kill weeds in a garden:
Flaming Newspaper Website
This website sells specially made cans with lots of little holes in the bottom. This makes it easy to drip burning liquid onto weeds without getting too close.
They also sell the fuel separately so that you don’t have to mess with the hassle of soaking newspaper and pouring fuel over it.
If you want to buy some, simply click on the link below:
Buy newspaper and fuel to kill weeds
Warning: Using these products without taking proper precautions can be dangerous. Therefore, please follow the instructions exactly and be extremely careful when using them.
If you find these articles helpful, please share them with your friends so that they can learn more about weed control techniques. Thanks!
Sources & references used in this article:
Flame weeding for vegetable crops by S Diver – National Center for Appropriate Technology. http://www …, 2002 – ucanr.edu
Invasive plants: weeds of the global garden by JM Randall, J Marinelli – 1996 – books.google.com
Energetic requirements of flame weed control. by M Mojžiš – Research in Agricultural Engineering, 2002 – cabdirect.org
Practical weed control in arable farming and outdoor vegetable cultivation without chemicals by DA Van der Schans, PO Bleeker, LPG Molendijk… – 2006 – library.wur.nl