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Annual Weed Control Using The Atarus Ranger Propane
Flamer in a Non-Cropland Environment

Dr. Thaddeus Gourd, Extension Agent (Agriculture), Colorado State University Extension in Adams County. 9755 Henderson Road, Brighton, CO 80601. Phone: 303-637-8117 FAX: 303-637-8125

Tim Ferrell, Producer, Berry Patch Farms Certified Organic Pick Your Own Farm Market, 13785 Potomac Street, Brighton, CO 80601 Phone: 303-659-5050. E-mail:


Altarus Ranger Thermal Weed Control Device

Altarus Ranger
Uses propane as a fuel source.

Weighs about 40 pounds.
Provides about 45 minutes of use per 3 kg tank of propane when used at high flame setting.

Annual weeds commonly infest non-cropland areas such as ditch banks and fencerows along the Front Range of Colorado. The annual weed examined in this study was (Kochia scoparia). A trend towards sustainable agriculture and organic products has encouraged efforts towards identifying effective, economical alternatives to herbicides.

Two Flame Applications

Altarus Ranger

First flame application was applied on April 8, 2002

Second flame application was applied on 4/17/2002

The purpose of this study was to examine whether propane flaming treatments of non-cropland (ditch banks) in the early spring could effectively reduce kochia populations. Weeds were flamed using the handheld Atarus Ranger Thermal Weed Control Device. This device uses propane as the fuel source and provides about 45 minutes of flaming per 3 kg tank of propane when used at high flame setting. Two flame applications were used during this experiment, with the first applied on April 8 and the second on April 17, 2002.

Kochia Size at Treatment

Kochia size

Kochia was ¼ to ¾ inches tall.
About the size of a penny.
16 square feet covered in 30 seconds.

Flaming occurred when kochia was ¼ to ¾ inch tall or about the size of a penny in diameter. Kochia populations averaged about one plant per square inch. Each plot was 16 square feet and required 30 seconds of flaming to treat all weeds.

Instant Results

Flame is applied to sear the kochia.

Kochia changes color to a light yellow green color just after treated with flame.

Successful flaming requires only a blanching of weed tissue without allowing the fire point to be reached (The fire point is the temperature at which the flame becomes self-sustained so as to continue burning). Eight days after the first flame application, 93.5% kochia control was achieved. A 93% level of kochia control was achieved 68 days following the 2nd application. The lack of rainfall during this test helped prevent new seedlings from emerging and helps to explain the long period of weed control achieved with the flame. Flaming weeds using the Atarus Ranger effectively controlled the annual weed kochia after just two applications.

Days After Treatment Flame Application

% Control

% Control Untreated

2 DAT of 1st Application



8 DAT of 1st Application



5 DAT of 2nd Application



7 DAT of 2nd Application



13 DAT of 2nd Application



17 DAT of 2nd Application



27 DAT of 2nd Application



43 DAT of 2nd Application



52 DAT of 2nd Application



68 DAT of 2nd Application






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