Herbicides can remain in the environment long after application and contaminate soil and water, creating a toxic environment. They can also have undesirable effects on nontarget plants. Extreme heat, however, is a quick and effective way to eradicate weeds without chemicals. To control weeds in this manner, all you need is a quality propane weed torch.
The Flame King Heavy-Duty 500,000 BTU Propane Weed Torch is a heavy-duty option that can handle even the toughest weed problems.
Believe it or not, a weed torch doesn’t work by burning weeds to a crisp. Instead, the intense heat causes the water in the plant’s cells to boil away. You know you are using the tool correctly when the plant withers, but doesn’t char. A weed torch is most effective on immature weeds that aren’t as hardy as fully mature ones.
A propane weed torch uses heat to control the weed population on your property. Unlike chemical weed control, it requires individual treatment for each plant and can destroy beneficial vegetation if you are not careful, so it takes a little more care and precision to accomplish the task. While it can be dangerous or illegal to use a weed torch in certain situations, there is no known lasting harm to the environment, like there is with herbicides.
Besides being effective at controlling the weed population on your property, a weed torch can melt ice, repair blacktop, ignite a fire, melt roofing asphalt and more. However, caution and safety must always come first when using a weed torch. Never use a weed torch irresponsibly and always keep a fully charged fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.
One BTU can raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree. The higher the BTUs are, the more heating power a weed torch has. A light-duty weed torch only needs between 20,000-100,000 BTUs to be sufficient for home use. If you are considering a model with higher BTUs, make sure you really need that much power before purchasing.
It is very important to always maintain a firm, comfortable grip on your weed torch. A model that features an ergonomic, non-slip handle is best.
The bell is where the flame comes out. Some models have a small bell that is only three-quarters of an inch wide, while others have a bell that may be as wide as 3 inches. If you have large patches of only weeds, a large bell is okay. However, if you need to do detailed work, a smaller bell is better.
The hose runs from the propane tank to the weed torch. If you have a long hose, it lets you set the tank down, so you can reduce fatigue and have a longer reach.
A push-button ignition is the safest way to light a weed torch; you ignite the gas at the press of a button, staying clear of the flame at all times. Not all models offer this, and some of the ones that do are not reliable. Be sure to read user reviews that focus on this feature to determine the igniter performance before purchasing.
You need a way to control the gas pressure on a weed torch. Some models have a convenient dial, while others use a trigger method — the further you squeeze the trigger, the greater the flow of gas. Some models, however, do not have the flame control in a safe or convenient location. When shopping for a weed torch, always consider where the flame control is positioned and how it operates.
If you need a propane weed torch for your home, plan on spending between $25-$100.
A. The maximum temperature that an air-fed propane torch can reach is 3,600 degrees. However, most weed torches will have a primary flame that only reaches around 2,000 degrees, which is still plenty hot — about the temperature of lava.
A. Before using a propane weed torch, you must check with your local fire department to learn if a burn permit is needed.
A. The best time to torch weeds is in the late spring when young weeds are just beginning to emerge. Move slowly but pass the torch quickly over the weeds — they should wilt, not burn, and this only takes about one-tenth of a second to happen. Repeat as needed, roughly every two to three weeks until the first frost.
A. A weed torch only works on annual weeds because it does not kill the root. If you are persistent, however, repeated treatments may deplete the roots and eventually kill the weed. Also, it is important to remember to never burn poisonous plants, as their toxins will become airborne and pose a greater threat than when they were merely on the plant.
What you need to know: If you need the highest intensity heat torch, this is the only model that you should consider.
What you’ll love: This torch delivers 500,000 BTUs. It has an ergonomic, molded handle for comfort and control. The 10-foot hose gives you an extended reach, and the no-tool assembly and operation is appreciated. Each purchase includes a 12-month warranty protecting you from manufacturer’s defects.
What you should consider: If too much gas pressure is flowing through the torch, it may flame out.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This lighter-duty model is powerful enough to accomplish a wide variety of home weed-removing tasks.
What you’ll love: This model features a non-slip handle for added safety and control. The tool arrives fully assembled, and it is compatible with a standard 1-pound camping propane tank. The variable flame control lets you effortlessly control flame size.
What you should consider: The self-lighter isn’t always reliable, which can be frustrating.
What you need to know: This versatile weed torch can handle everything from weed control to blacktop repair.
What you’ll love: This model is lightweight and easy to use. Extra care was taken to ensure the torch has a comfortable balance point. The unit will burn up to an hour on a single 14.1-ounce canister, while the push-button ignition makes lighting up safe and easy.
What you should consider: Although the product’s photo might cause you to think otherwise, this model, like all other weed torches, does not come with a propane tank.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.