Tackling weeds seems to be my main focus (or is it an obsession!) in mid-summer and I keep many different specialty weeding tools at hand to attack different weed situations. One of the solutions is the Weed Dragon garden torch. The WEED DRAGON® is the perfect propane torch kit for home and garden use. They have regulated the flame and BTU down for homeowners who don`t need the power of a farm torch and we`ve even assembled it. This torch kit is still plenty powerful for lots of tough jobs all year long and generates heat up to 2,000° F. The 100,000 BTU Weed Dragon quickly hooks up to any refillable propane tank (barbeque cylinders work great) and even comes with a hand-tighten tank fitting (you don`t even need a wrench). Overall length from torch bell to back of handle is 27 1/2". For outdoor use only.
While this wasn`t really anything exciting to me, for my husband he was beyond thrilled when he saw it. I mean, he instantly knew what it was. Once he showed me, I became excited. Basically, it`s super handy to keep control over those weeds - and in our backyard, we need control since we have crazy weeds that grow over the back fence into our yard. We found this to bet is particularly useful along paved or gravel areas where other weeding tools can’t penetrate.
When you receive your Weed Dragon, the wand will be fully assembled. All you need to do is inspect it to be sure all the parts are there and connected according to the enclosed instructions. I have the model with the squeeze valve. That allows me to control the flame setting (high and low) rather than only having one continuous full flame. This feature is particularly handy for spot weeding. I only received the wand, not the cylinder dolly. Of course, you don`t have to buy that part. Just get a trolly and your own canister of propane and use a strap to hold it in place. From these, simply attach the wand and get started.
Connecting the Propane Tank
Check to be sure the O-ring is in place on the nipple fitting of the Dragon wand.
Make sure the supply cylinder valve is turned fully off and remove the protective plastic plug.
Insert the nut/nipple fitting into the propane connection by turning counter clockwise. It is a little tricky to get it lined up just right so it screws in. Once it feels snug, don’t over-tighten.
Test for leaks. I use a spray bottle with water and a few drops of dish detergent. This is sprayed onto the connection and when you slowly turn on the gas by opening the cylinder valve, you should not see any bubbling up of your soapy solution.
Take a few minutes to read the instructions very thoroughly–particularly the Safety Check List. Some of these items are obvious, but it’s good to remind yourself of all the hazards of working around an open flame. This isn’t a toy and it needs to have a good amount of planning and control before tackling any weed killing job. I want you to READ the instructions, so I’m not going to copy and paste them here. But I will list a few top safety tips.
Safety Tips When Using the Weed Dragon
Avoid loose clothing. Have sturdy shoes that give you good footing.
Have a partner standing by with a garden hose ready to spray down any areas.
Practice on a safe area like a gravel path with just a few weeds sprouting through. Get used to the squeeze valve and how the flame goes from the pilot light yellow to an almost invisible blue point.
Don’t try to burn the weed into ash, but rather just “cook” the green leaves until they wilt away.
Evergreens are extremely flammable so it’s best to avoid getting close to any conifers.
Never flame poison plants, particularly poison ivy or poison oak. Smoke from these can be dangerous if inhaled.
Mulch areas need extra caution (see the Cautionary Tale below).
Always use a flint lighter to ignite the torch. DO NOT USE MATCHES OR CIGARETTE LIGHTER TO IGNITE THE TORCH. Have an ABC fire extinguisher at hand.
Follow all the other safely tips in the instructions!
So now that you have it together and have some safety tips; let`s get started!
Hauling a dolly with a full propane tank around the yard is not difficult, although it’s a little awkward at times. I did find that it’s easy to get the long hose tangled in the wheels of the dolly if you`re not careful, though. It’s best to slow down and move the dolly into position and then burn a smaller area, then move into the next position and burn that area, rather than trying to burn and roll at the same time. That’s one reason I like the squeeze valve. It helps to not have the high flame going as you move around. Don’t try to over reach in each position. When in doubt, shut off the flame while moving the unit around any difficult areas and then relight it when you are in position.
Of course, the ultimate, number one question is - does it work?
In short, yes. But you may not notice much difference until several hours later (or sometimes days, so don’t get impatient!). The goal isn’t to fry weeds to a blackened crisp. Instead, you’ll simply heat weeds until the plant wilt. The high heat “cooks” the interior of the weeds, destroying their ability to move water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves, and vice versa. By robbing the plant of nutrition, you’ve set the stage for a steady decline and, eventually, death. Depending on the size and root structure of the plant, this could take as little as a few hours or as much as several days.
When all is said and done, be sure to properly store your Weed Dragon equipment.
Make sure the valves are tightly closed.
Don’t store your Weed Dragon next to gasoline or any other combustible materials.
Keep it dry and clean in a garage or shed.
Before each use inspect the connections and test for leaks.
The website lists other uses for this torch such as melting snow and ice from sidewalks in the winter. I haven’t tried that since I live in the South and snow is pretty rare and if we get it it`s not enough to fully cover the ground, but it seems like it might work, provided all the melt water can be removed so that it doesn’t just freeze up into a sheet of ice.
While this is a dangerous tool to use if you`re not careful, it is a powerful and effective one. It`s rather easy to use once you get the hang of it and it certainly makes a difference. At the end of the day, I`d highly recommend it to anyone considering it!
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