My dad absolutely loves gardening, and as the generous father he is, he never deprived us kids the opportunity to get our hands dirty by helping him weed the garden each week. Whoopie.
Late in the season I didn’t mind the chore as much, because I could reward myself with a pea pod or two to munch on while I worked, but I remember wishing I had some sort of magic words to just make the weeds disappear all at once.
Well, farmers still haven’t found those magic words, but they have just recently started using something that comes pretty close. Flamethrowing tractors.
How Flamethrowing Tractors Work
I know what you’re thinking. A flamethrowing tractor sounds like something a middle-school boy would doodle in his notes while daydreaming in class. There’s no way it can be real! Well, think again!
A flamethrowing tractor is just what it sounds like: a farm tractor equipped with a row of flamethrowers. Organic farmers use the tractor to clear any weeds and pests from their land before planting their precious crops.
While this technique makes it sound like farmers have gone crazy and started setting fire to everything in sight, the result is actually quite tame. The flames don’t actually set fire to many weeds directly. Instead, this method destroys the plant structure in the leaves of the weed. This prevents the weed from performing photosynthesis, and in turn prevents further growth.
What Are The Benefits To Flame Weeding?
Who would have thought that flamethrowing would make its way into gardening, huh? Well, this process is referred to as “flame weeding,” and it has many benefits!
1. From The Roots Up
The main benefit of flame weeding is that the weeds are destroyed all the way down to the roots. Because the flames destroy the cell structure within the leaves and prevents the weed from growing any further, the roots will eventually die because they won’t be getting necessary help from the sun.
2. Time Spent
Another benefit is that this process is rather quick. Even larger weeds of 6 inches or so can be killed within a few days of flame weeding. It’s also much quicker to drive across the field with flames than it is to till the entire field, or worse, pull up the weeds one by one!
3. No Pesticides
And, perhaps the best benefit of all, this process can replace the use of pesticides and herbicides! Pesticides and herbicides, while helpful in ridding crops of bugs and weeds, can also be harmful to the fruits and vegetables themselves. With the flame throwing method, the crops are completely free of these harmful substances!
Flamethrowing tractors may sound to you like a complete joke, but the science behind them is quite impressive, and the benefits are undeniable. The farmers love it because it saves time and effort and gets rid of weeds—roots and all. And consumers love it because their veggies can be completely free of pesticides! Who knows what crazy invention this world will come up with next to make our lives just a little better?
Written by Emilyn Gil