I want to experiment with using a weed flamer in the garden. There are basically two scenarios I'm imagining using this thing:

  1. quickly weeding wide areas like walkways & unused beds
  2. as a supplement to hand weeding among living plants (obviously a potentially risky task)

What should I look for in a weed flamer?

This is a small-scale venture for me. I have a moderately-sized home veggie garden (~50x30') and a couple perineal beds. Something tells me the BTU rating won't matter much for my smaller needs - my larger concern is something so large that I won't be able to use it safely within a foot of any plants I want to survive.


I use a hand held propane bottle that is cheap and easy. I would never do this around plants or tight areas. In gravel walkways, driveways and patios...sure. I dump decomposed organic matter between my plants on top of the soil. That kills or reduces vigor of any weed. The cool thing is that decomposed organic matter also feeds the soil, enhancing the bio-ta of your soil...which is eating the decomposed organic matter taking it back into the soil profile (4 -6") pooping it out and mixing organic matter aerating the soil FOR YOU.

This 'weed worry thing' in my mind and experience a waste of energy. In my gardens weeding is like...well like less than one percent of all my efforts. I happen to be the laziest gardener. If more energy is required then I must be doing something wrong to create more work.

Flame works well on those large areas but a gas powered blower does even better. To go over those areas once per week at the most blows out the seeds that have been imported by birds or wind. I've never had to 'pull weeds' as a chore. I pull a weed here and there, how could one not? I never allow a weed (plant out of place) go to seed. I weed wack or cover tiny germinated weeds ASAP.

Putting decomposed organic matter ON TOP of weeds, even large weeds, is probably the most effective thing I do then it is starving them out by weed wacking the photosynthetic growth off.

Maybe I am weird but I LOVE pulling out weeds, making piles of them to put in my compost piles. Always before they go to seed.

  • Sigh. Well having spent hours digging up 5" deep chunks of weed-sod today in order to shake out the soil, this is officially the most demoralizing thing I've read this week. I understand that weeds are just one aspect of a larger system, and that my current system sucks. I'd love to hear all the details of your no-weed gardening strategy (where do you get all that soil? how do you combat shoulder season weeds? etc). But this doesn't help answer the original question a whole lot : / – doub1ejack Apr 30 '17 at 22:51
  • If this is the most demoralizing thing for your whole week, I feel badly. I am just trying to say that weeds are the least of my worries and there are more important things to put your energy to use. Yes, I use a hand held propane torch, a little over $10 bucks. Great for large areas but I would never use it among plants. What are 'shoulder season weeds'? All I said is that weeds are not a big deal. Why do you think weeds are bad? You aren't the only one worried about weeds, I am interested to understand what has caused others to worry about weeds? – stormy May 1 '17 at 0:12
  • When I remove sod I always keep that stuff to use for making new beds or to smother existing areas of weeds. Certainly not on gravel walkways or driveways. Great stuff for new beds. Don't shake the soil out. Just turn over the clumps and cover them with 2-4" of soil, or sod. When I make plant beds out of this stuff, I plant right in that turned over sod, cover with 2 -4" of soil/mulch. Not ONCE have I ever had a problem with grass growing from beneath. NOT ONCE. All my soil comes from right where I found it. I never bring in soil other than commercial or weird projects. – stormy May 1 '17 at 0:18

I would recommend one of two things based on what I do and the size of your garden. You can hand pull weeds but I don't particularly like this approach since it exposes dormant seeds under the soil and you will have more weeds next year. If you were doing it manually, I prefer getting a loop hoe that will make it easier for you and won't dig out the dormant seeds. Another approach is to spray the weeds with a weed killer but that involves chemicals and I am not a big fan of spraying that around vegetable and fruit trees. If this is for other areas of the garden that are farther away, the weed killer works well.

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