The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Flame weeder followup

Flame weeding

They say you can't really tell the effects of a flame weeder until the next day, so I went back twenty-four hours later to see how Mark's test plot fared. This was a moderate-level request of the tool --- trying to kill perennial weeds, but low-lying, unvigorous ones that had popped up on a fallow bed through the course of the winter.

Did the Weed Dragon do the trick? No. Chickweed didn't even appear singed while the other weeds looked no worse than they might after a very hard freeze.

I'd be curious to hear from those of you who have already experimented with these devices. Are they really just for tender new seedlings, or have you used a flame weeder to knock out more heavy duty weeds?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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In my backyard town gardens, flowers and veggies, I have too much goldenrod, Star of Bethlehem, other "weedy" flowers, and maybe too much lemon balm, celandine poppies, ground ivy and, of course, violets, esp in the "vegetable" garden. But the ground ivy is for the bees, and I can pull it up, which loosens the soil. Pulling up goldenrod I sort of look forward to! But dealing with poison ivy without getting rash from it, I have to use all my ingenuity. Not sure if the flame eater wd work on that, tho, since it might just inspire the roots, underground, to work harder. The flame eater might also kick in other weed regeneration, the way some burn-offs do...

I feel that some weeds do act as ground covers, esp when it gets too dry (next month).

Comment by adrianne Thu Mar 9 09:03:20 2017

I have found that any weeds that have a foothold in the garden are tough to eliminate with a flame weeder. Sometimes an extended burn will solve the problem but more often the old fashioned hoe is needed. The flame weeded is great once the bed is prepared and seeded. For three weeks after seeding the bed I use the flame weeder once a week to keep weed from getting a foothold. Use care not to burn newly emerging garden plants with the flame bouncing off the ground.

My first year owning a flame weeder I thought I wasted my money, after three years I am happy I own the tool. Flame the garden beds often and while weeds at just emerging, you will get ahead of the problem.

Comment by YellowFin Thu Mar 9 09:38:28 2017
Comment by Terry Thu Mar 9 10:12:45 2017

It's my understanding that flame weeders work a lot better if the flame is contained within a hood, or open-bottom metal box. And they are also only useful in killing just-emerged weeds, which is why they are used mostly to prepare stale seedbeds.

JM Fortier uses a flame weeder with a box the width of his beds, equipped with several flame nozzles.

Comment by Ray A Thu Mar 9 13:49:56 2017
Adrianne, I'd be very concerned about using a flame on poison ivy. I know that you should NEVER burn poison ivy (as in a brush pile) because the smoke will carry the urushiol into your lungs and it can be extremely dangerous (if not fatal).
Comment by Rhonda from Baddeck Sat Mar 11 13:14:14 2017

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