Benefits of Weed Burning

Controlled burning to improve crops has been used by farmers for centuries, but it is only recently that homeowners and garden lovers have started to use this same method in their gardening to get rid of weeds. Using a flame torch or burner to burn off unwanted weeds is an effective way to keep a garden healthy. In this blog we cover when and how to use a weed burner as well as why they are effective.

What is Weed Burning?

Weed burning, also known as flame weeding, is the use of a flame over a weed to heat the cells of the plant, causing them to burst. The idea is that the heat from the flame destroys the stem of the plant, effectively killing the weed. This method of weeding can kill some annual weeds for good, however perennial weeds will require several weed burning treatments. For these weeds, the notion is that, with the tops being killed often enough, the roots will be depleted, and the plant will eventually give up and die, much the same as any perennial weeding method.

What do I need for Weed Burning?

If you are looking to use flame to treat weeds in your garden at home, you will need the following garden equipment:

- A Torch or Burner: This is a long metal tube that carries the gas to the flaming tip
- Portable Gas or Fuel Cylinder: This is generally Propane, and is attached to your torch to fuel the weed burner
- Spark Light: This is needed to light the torch if it doesn’t have an instant start trigger
- Fire Extinguisher

How to use a Weed Burner

Weed burner torches are designed to heat the cells of the plant, causing them to burst. By destroying the weed’s stem, it leaves the plant unable to ingest water or nutrients, essentially killing the weed. This is done via a relatively easy process that involves holding the torch or burner and slowly walking between the garden rows, using the heat to kill the weeds in less than a second.

According to weed ecologist, Tom Lanine, when the weed changes from glossy to matte, then it should die within a few hours. It is recommended to allow the weed to compost naturally, therefore avoiding any disturbance to the soil. If you are concerned that the weeds aren’t dead, let them cool and then squeeze a leaf between your thumb and finger. If you see a thumbprint, then your flaming was a success.

It is also recommended to flame treat weeds two to three weeks apart. Flaming will kill annual weeds completely but does not kill the roots of perennial weeds. Often, gardeners will see new shoots a week or so after flaming and additional treatments can deplete the roots, killing the weeds.

Safety Tips for Weed Burning

Using a flame to remove weeds is obviously a little more dangerous than pulling them out by hand. However, there are a few ways to ensure safety while using the burner, including:

  • Keep away from the flame tip. This may seem obvious, but it is important to remember that the tip of the torch remains hot even after it is turned off so avoid touching this area. 
  • Keep the flame away from the hose and fuel tank. Make sure you never put the flame near these items as they can catch fire and be extremely dangerous. 
  • Don’t use the burner in dry or winder conditions. Be sure to try and keep your weed burning to wetter days.
  • Store safely. Keep your weed burner in a safe location away from pets and children. 
  • Always follow manufacturer instructions. Read the instruction manual before using the torch to ensure proper and safe use.
  • Do not use a weedburner on weeds near a house, car, garage, fence or any flammable object.
  • Make sure to check your local fire conditions, and do not use in times of high fire danger. If in doubt, check with your local Fire Brigade.
  • Do not use in bushland areas where there is chance that a fire could start and get out of control.

When to use a Weed Burner

Using a flame torch works great on killing weeds in sidewalk and pathway cracks, and it can also kill more stubborn broadleaf weeds since the grass underneath is protected by a sheath.

For the most effective weed control, you should use a weed torch to flame weeds in spring and early summer, when weeds first begin to emerge. If plants are flame torched early, you can save time and fuel as the smaller weeds will not require as much heat compared to mature weeds. Also, weed burning in this way can kill off annual weed seeds found at the top of the soil.

It is important to never use the flame during dry periods. Torches should only be used during wetter times as dry weeds and grass mixed with a flame can be dangerous. Try to keep away from dead and dried materials in the garden to avoid flames spreading. Lastly, try to do your weed burning on days that are not windy, to avoid flames spreading to unwanted areas.

Top 5 Benefits of Using a Weed Burner

Weed Burner Benefit #1 | No Need for Harsh Chemicals
Using heat to treat your weeds means not having to use harmful pesticides or herbicides to treat weeds in your garden.

Weed Burner Benefit #2 | It’s Saves You Money
Weed burning wands are affordable, and the propane tanks or cylinders to fuel the burner are affordable. It saves you money on expensive repetitive weed treatments, as you only need to invest in the wand and then pay for fuel when you need it.

Weed Burner Benefit #3 | Easy to Use & Maintain
Flame burners are relatively easy to use, are low maintenance and don’t require a lot of time invested in your weed killing.

Weed Burner Benefit #4 | No More Back Pain
Using the weed burner means you don’t have to bend down to get to the weeds – the wand does all the work for you!

Weed Burner Benefit #5 | Multi Use for Your Home & Garden
A torch or burner can also be used for other tasks in your garden or outdoor space, such as lighting fire pits or campfires, melting ice and controlling insects.

What to Look for in a Weed Burner or Flame Torch

When purchasing a torch for weed burning, you should look for a few key features. An instant start trigger is ideal, it makes it easier and safer to light your torch. Adjustable flame control is a must, you want to be able to control the intensity of the flame to suit the weed or garden space you are treating. Comfort when holding your torch is also important, look for a comfortable grip such as rubber as well as a lightweight tube so it is easy to carry and move around with.

About Bromic Plumbing & Gas

With over 40 years' experience our business draws upon a pool of technically talented engineers, experienced sales staff and friendly customer service representatives to support satisfaction with every one of our customers. We offer an Outdoor Utility Torch powered by Propane that is great for Weed Burning. You can find our range of products in leading hardware retailers across Australia and New Zealand.