How can flame weeding be used to control weeds?

Question:

How can flame weeding be used to control weeds?

Answer:

Flame weeding is the use of intense heat, usually produced by a propane torch or other fuel-burning device, to kill weeds.  This organic option for weeding causes the water and sap inside the plant cell to boil and expand rupturing the cell walls and causing the plant to wilt and die.  

Flame weeding is most effective on small, young plants.  Broadleaf weeds are more completely controlled with this method than grasses.  Flame weeding is a particularly effective form of weed control in areas where desirable plants are not nearby, such as in the cracks of driveways and patios or when utilizing the stale seedbed technique for weed management. 

For home gardeners, commercially available flame weeder devices can be used, as can handheld propane torches.  When utilizing propane torches, be sure to use those that can be operated upside down, such as those designed for use in plumbing, to make the application easier.

Safety is of the utmost importance with flame weeding.  Always use equipment as directed and do not flame weed on windy days.  Never use torches around dry grasses or other materials that could easily ignite.  Wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself from the heat and flames.  

More information on flame weeding can be found in this article: How to Utilize Flame Weeding for Weed Control

Answered by
  • Specialist
  • Consumer Horticulture Extension
Last updated on
March 19, 2024