Weeding the garden is not something I would say we enjoy doing. We spread wood chips in the garden for a number of reasons, but one of the most important is weed control. The wood chips make it easier to pull the weeds up, but it is backbreaking and dirty work.
This year we wanted to try something different. The way we have been weeding the garden requires pulling up the weed and as much of the root as possible. This is slow and causes two problems in the garden. The first problem is the piles of weeds that end up laying in the rows and the second are the holes where the weeds use to be. This fall we decided to skip weeding by hand and try using a flame weeder.
We ordered a Red Dragon Flame Weeder from Amazon. The flame weeder is not much more than a valve with a pipe. The weeder comes completely disassembled and required about fifteen minutes to put together. The parts are sturdy and the fittings are all brass. The kit came with everything needed to assemble the weeder including a small pouch of liquid pipe sealant for sealing all the connections. All you need is a wrench or two to put it all together.
The weeder went together really easily. It comes with a good length hose and connects to any standard propane tank. The theory behind a flame weeder is not to burn the weeds to the ground, but to cook them just enough that the leaves can no longer perform photosynthesis. I will admit going all scorched earth on the weeds growing in the cracks of the driveway was overly satisfying. Heating concrete can be dangerous so do it at your own risk. The theory with a flame weeder is once you cook the leaves the plant cannot feed itself and will wither and die. Multiple applications could be needed to kill the tougher weeds.
The final hurdle is lugging around the propane tank. They make a backpack so you can wear it, but we did not really feel comfortable with that. Our solution was simple and free. We simply sat the tank on our two-wheeled dolly and strapped it down with a bungee cord. This works fine for the time being. The hose is long enough that you can weed a good sized area before having to move the tank. I don’t know why but I just feel better with the tank a few feet away instead of strapped to my back.
Our final opinion of the Red Dragon Flame Weeder is very positive. It is easy to light, it even comes with a lighter, and easy to use. We have used this weeder a few times over the past few weeks and it works great. I can see flame weeding becoming less of a chore and more of a break from other tasks. Not to mention I see this being a great way to get a younger generation to help in the garden, once the kids are old enough . I see a time where the boys argue about who gets to use the flamethrower!
Please remember to read all instructions and warnings provided by the manufacturer and follow them accordingly.