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Perennial 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
E-mail: tgourd@adcogov.org

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: berrypatchfarms@qwest.net

Four Flame Applications

Altarus Ranger
First flame application was applied on April 8, 2002. Each plot was flamed for 60 seconds.

Second flame application was applied on April 17, 2002. Each plot was flamed for 45 seconds.

Third flame application was applied on May 5, 2002. Each plot was flamed for 45 seconds.

Fourth flame application was applied on May 20, 2002. Each plot was flamed for 45 seconds.

Plot size was 4 feet by 5 feet (20 square feet).

Perennial weeds are common pests of non-cropland areas such as ditch banks, fencerows and irrigation canals along the Front Range of Colorado. The perennial weeds encountered in this study were stinging nettle (Urtica dioica); scouringrush (Equisetum hyemale); and poison hemlock (Conium maculatum).

Perennial Weeds at Treatment

Altarus Ranger
Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica was 1 to 3 inches tall.

Scouringrush Equisetum hyemale was 1 to 4 inches tall

Poison Hemlock Conium maculatum was 2 to 4 inches in size

The use of thermal weed control systems addresses a growing trend towards identifying effective, economical alternatives to herbicides for controlling weeds. The purpose of this study was to examine whether propane flaming treatments of non-cropland (ditch banks) in the early spring could reduce perennial weed populations. Weeds were flamed using the handheld Atarus Ranger Thermal Weed Control Device. The Atarus Ranger uses propane as the fuel source and provides about 45 minutes of flaming per 3 kg tank of propane when used at the high flame setting. Flame treatments were applied on April 8, April 17, May 5 and May 20, 2002.

Flame treatments

Chart

Flame treatments occurred when the stinging nettle, scouringrush and poison hemlock were 1 to 4 inches tall. All weed species plant densities averaged about 5 plants per square foot. Each plot was 16 square feet and required 60 seconds of flaming to treat all weeds during the first treatment and 45 seconds for all subsequent treatments. Successful flaming requires only a blanching of weed tissue without reaching the fire point (the temperature at which the flame becomes self-sustained). Two days after the first flame application, 73.75% control of nettle and 87.5% control of hemlock were achieved. Five days after the second application of flame revealed an average of 80% control of nettle and hemlock. Nine days after the third flame application, 87.5% control of nettle, 99.5% control of hemlock and 87.5% control of scouringrush were observed. Nine days after the fourth and final flame application, 97.25% control of nettle, 100% control of hemlock and 97.5% control of scouringrush was achieved. Twenty-five days following the fourth and final flame application, 93.75% control of nettle, 100% control of hemlock and 85% control of scouringrush was observed.

Conclusion

Flaming Results

Four applications of flame gave good to excellent control of stinging nettle, poison hemlock and scouringrush for 25 days following the fourth flame application.

When used to sear weeds, little if any smoke was produced.

The Atarus Ranger Thermal Weed Control Device was very effective in flaming weeds in a non-cropland environment.

A statewide burning ban prevented further flame treatments. Flaming weeds using the Atarus Ranger effectively managed the perennial weeds stinging nettle, poison hemlock and scouringrush after four flame applications.

 

 


 

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