At the end of April, Crystalyn and Amber treated shiny geranium near a county park in Scappoose using a pyroweeder, an agricultural tool for flame weeding. This innovative method of weed control is mainly intended for use in agriculture for row burning. However, it works best on relatively flat terrain and can be awkward to maneuver in areas that are uneven or have really soft soil.
Flame weeding disrupts the cell structure of the weed, causing it to no longer put energy toeard growth and taking the kill through the root system. It is also more effective than hand weeding for large areas however, it is important to use flame weeding carefully and appropriately to avoid damaging surrounding plants and structures.
(It is recommended to use this method during the early growth stages of the weeds, and to avoid using it on dry or windy days, which can increase the risk of fires.)
While flame weeding is not only effective, it is considered an eco-friendly method of weed control for many reasons:
1. Chemical-free: Flame weeding avoids the use of chemical herbicides, which can be harmful to the environment, including soil, water, and non-target organisms such as pollinators and beneficial insects.
2. Reduces soil disturbance: Traditional weed control methods such as tilling or plowing can cause soil erosion, which can lead to nutrient loss and reduced soil fertility. Flame weeding avoids soil disturbance, which helps to maintain soil health.
3. Energy-efficient: Flame weeding requires only a propane tank and a torch, making it an energy-efficient method of weed control. It does not require the use of heavy machinery or fossil fuels, which can have a negative impact on the environment.
4. Targeted weed control: Flame weeding can be applied directly to the weed, avoiding the need to spray large areas of land with herbicides. This targeted approach reduces the risk of collateral damage to non-target plants and animals.
Though it is not without some potential environmental impacts.
Firstly, the use of propane gas for the torch can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, which can have a negative impact on the environment. However, the overall carbon footprint of flame weeding is still considered to be relatively low compared to other methods of weed control.
Secondly, if the flame is not applied properly, it can cause damage to non-target plants or even start a fire, which can have negative ecological consequences. This risk can be minimized through proper training and application techniques.
Despite these potential environmental impacts, flame weeding is generally considered to be a more eco-friendly alternative to chemical herbicides, which can have serious environmental and health implications.
If you are interested in utilizing flame weeding on your property, you will need to consult with the Oregon Department of Forestry and obtain a burn permit.