Propane weed burner... Rookie mistake

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Smallaxe, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I have my propane torch now and we have even had a few days w/out dangerous winds. However, I have a problem with the smaller nozzles in that the flame goes out when turned to the ground.

    This is because the new 20# grill tanks were all manufactured with a highly restictive control valve in it. I need to buy a different kind of tank and probably a 40 pounder is better than a 20. [this is what I was told]

    I was also told that to actually get the 500,000 btus out of a torch you would need the pressure and volume supplied by 2 - 100# tanks, in tandem.
  2. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    Are you sure you want 500,000 BTU's? Don't get caught in a Tim Allen "more power" moment. I bought the 100,000 BTU Weed Dragon a few weeks ago, and I am struggling with not blasting desirable plants that are relatively close to my target. It is amazing how little heat it takes to kill something. For the little price difference, I was tempted to get the 500,000 BTU torch, but the guy I talked to at Flame Engineering pointed out the control issue.
  3. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    dang I'd like to see you hall that around with you.:weightlifter:;)
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    :laugh: I was just making the point about volume control being a bigger factor than the claims made by the wand manufacturers. I have no interest in using 500,000 btus on dandelion. :)

    I'm just hoping that I can get those smaller nozzles to work with a different tank.
  5. Lawn-Sharks

    Lawn-Sharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    Ive been thinking about buying a weed tourch, are they worth it? and wheres the best place to get them? Thanks
  6. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,115

    At almost any hardware store, they are great for driveway and walkways. I believe the one that smallaxe is using is different than mine it has a very small torch end on it so that you can torch one weed at a time
  7. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    you wouldn't use it on your lawn? or is the flame to large?
  8. jeffinsgf

    jeffinsgf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    I recently purchased the torch in the following link:

    Prior to that, I used a "cane" style torch. For anything other than occasionally burning out the weeds in sidewalk cracks, I think the cane torches (where you thread on a portable tank the size a plumber would use for his torch) are a waste of effort. After you use about half the tank of gas, the torch won't stay lit. I asked Bernz-A-Matic (the torch manufacturer) about this, and they said, yes they were aware of that behavior, and that I should save the last half of the tank for something else and switch to a new full tank when the torch starts blowing out. :dizzy: What the heck am I supposed to do with dozens of half filled cylinders? I wouldn't use that much for plumbing repairs in the next 50 years!

    So far with the Weed Dragon, I'll say my results are mixed. I am trying to get control of clover and broadleaf weeds in a zoysia lawn without using chemicals. We have had an extremely wet spring, and the weeds got a roaring start before the zoysia broke dormancy. The Weed Dragon will kill the weeds with a very limited exposure, but the immediately surrounding grass is killed, too. If you've ever spot treated with glysophate, you know what that looks like, well, that's what a torch treated lawn looks like, too. The grass will fill back in, but only slightly faster than the weed roots recover. The clover patches are smaller every time I treat them, but the gain is somewhat marginal.

    I created some new bed areas, and used the torch to knock down the existing vegetation before adding mulch. It worked, but now I'm getting some pretty significant regrowth through the mulch.

    Even with using a piece of 6" SCH 40 to protect desirable plants, I've singed some plants I did not intend to. I haven't killed anything that I didn't want dead -- yet -- but I've disfigured a couple of ornamental grasses and a coneflower that was just beginning to bloom (the later of which I don't even think I got the torch within 6 feet and it was never in the direct path of the flame).

    The siren song of 2-4D is calling my name, but I'm trying to stick with the Weed Dragon and resist.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Jeff, that is what I think this fellow was trying to tell me. The half empty tanks may have to do with the pressure/volume of gas available to the flame. The narrower nozzles for hitting smaller areas [w/out singinging neighboring grasses] evidently need to have adequate supply of gas.

    The new improved internal regulators may be too restrictive for a weed dragon. But that is just what I have learned from others so far. My experience still falls in the category of rookie error.

    What kind of tank, are you using for the Weed Dragon?
  10. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,643

    One of my customers bought a torch over the winter to burn her thistle. I go for the early spring fert, and her pachysandra is torched. I go back for a Gree Guardian app, and one of her yews is black. She said she's had a few "flare ups". Needless to say, I'm nervous about using a torch.

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