Technology in the garden - eco-friendly thermal weeders

If you’re looking for ways of avoiding polluting the environment with chemical weed killers, but find hand weeding time consuming and unreliable (it’s often hard to get the whole root out), a thermal/electric weed killer might be for you.  They’re an eco-friendly and quick way to rid your garden of weeds and are particularly useful for patios, driveways and flowerbeds - in fact anywhere where weeds try to become established.

How they work: An electric weed burner exposes weeds to an extreme temperature, up to 600 °C, burning them down to the root, killing the cell structure and causing them to completely die off a few days to a week later.  They don’t make the weeds disappear on the spot.  The idea is to kill the weed, which only takes around five seconds - or until the green leaves start to discolour, rather than burn them to a crisp.  Once dead they can then be swept away.

Things to consider: Most weeders plug into the mains electricity, so think about where your nearest power source is and the length of cable needed.  Also look out for weeders with different heat setting.  They often have two temperature settings,  60C and 65C so that you can use the lower setting for smaller weeds or working nearer precious plants, and the higher temperature for removing stubborn weeds from paving slabs and driveways as the higher heat will help penetrate the stone.  The varied heat settings means you can start the job on the higher temperatures and then work to the lower temperatures so you don’t have to wait so long for it to cool down.  Other things to consider include whether the weeder has nozzles that target larger or smaller weeds in tight spots - though lots of different attachments might be unnecessary.  And check the weight of the tool as a heavy weeder can be tiring to carry around if you have a big garden.  Finally, make sure your weeder has a guarantee and ideally buy from a trusted brand.