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Weed Burners

 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
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Location: France
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What are your thoughts on these very powerful weed burner things for paths etc?  Has anyone used one?
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I owned one and used one and ....  I ended up thinking that there are better ways.

First, you can only use it during certain times of the year that won't start a big fire. 

Second, if you have something growing there and you would rather that that something was not growing there, then shouldn't you really be growing something there that you want?  Otherwise, you burn the plant and then it will just come back - now you have a chore that you have to do every couple of weeks. 

The mission is to eliminate chores!
 
Alison Thomas
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Well the chore in question is keeping a gravel drive looking decent.
 
paul wheaton
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To keep a gravel drive looking decent, the key is to have a good crown - no part should ever be level.  Once you have that, hardly anything can grow in it.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Fig_Opuntia

Apparently they can be used to remove spines from prickly-pear cactus for cattle feed.  Sounds pretty clever.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I just read that a wheel hoe (if the blade is spring steel, rather than some softer metal) is a good way to clear weeds from gravel.

I tested that prototype all spring and summer in my garden. I also used it to slice through weeds that were encroaching into my gravel driveway. The stone in my driveway is hard-packed crusher run. I forced my hoe blade through the densly-packed stone and it sliced through the weeds about 1/2” down. This kind of work was, essentially, wheel hoe abuse, and I abused that prototype repeatedly all summer long. I can report that the tool took such abuse without complaint or ill effect.


from: http://thedeliberateagrarian.blogspot.com/2009/03/introducing-planet-whizbang-wheel-hoe.html

Presumably a non-wheeled hula (aka "stirrup" hoe would also work.
 
Ken Peavey
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I used a weed burner once.  I found it cumbersome and ineffectual.  While it did the job of killing off the growth quickly, the roots remained from which the plants sprang back up in a couple weeks.  The black dead plants were unsightly and tracked into the house.  Taller thicker growth presented a fire hazard.  The things are an accident waiting to happen.  The fuel would be better served boiling water to wash dishes.

For a road, I would use salt if the weed growth is widespread and must be removed, vinegar if the area is limited, or my hands if just a few weeds.  Another useful method is a sheet of plywood or a tarp over the affected area for a week or so.
 
jeremiah bailey
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I've read the idea with the weed burners is merely to damage the flesh of the plant, not to burn it completely by setting fire to it. If you burn it completely the reaction of the plant will be as if you merely cut off its top. It will grow back. However, if you merely burst the surface layer of plant cells, it sets off a chain reaction, killing the plant, roots and all. The desired look is more like boiled veggies, not veggie ala charcoal.

Caveat, I have never used a weed burner. This is a result of the research I did when I was considering buying one. No personal experience here.
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 176
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
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I have been using them along my wire fence lines for years. Wouldn't be without one.
 
Ken Peavey
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I just got a message from samiam.  He's having some problem posting.
He offers boiling water as a weed control solution. 
 
charles c. johnson
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in my rock only drive way/ rock bed i use ice cream salt  last about 4 months for 5 dollars . just watch for leaching
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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