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Flame weeding

Flame weeding is the use of an open flame, usually propane fueled, to kill or damage weeds. The objective of flame weeding is not to burn up the weeds, but rather to vaporize the water in the surface cells. This causes the weeds to dry up within a few hours to a day. Flame treatment does not kill perennial weeds, and usually grasses and larger broadleaf weeds will recover as well. Nevertheless, flame weeding is quick and relatively easy, and it is a highly effective way to remove small broadleaf weeds.

Most crops are damaged by flaming, but it can be used to remove weeds just prior to emergence of a crop, and to control weeds in the cracks between pavers and along fences. Crops like corn and onions in which the bud is protected inside a whorl of leaves can tolerate a light touch by the flame after they have established. Thus, flame weeding can be used to remove small weeds from within the rows for these crops.

Flame weeding works best when the weeds are dry. To kill small weeds, the flame should pass over the weeds at about a normal walking speed. Hand held flame weeders are available for about the price of a string trimmer.