University of Massachusetts scientists designed a study using flame cultivation (FC) techniques for weed control in cranberry crops. The results, published in HortScience, show promise for integrating the weed control technique into “certain situations,” including organic farming. The team tested three types of handheld propane torches and varying exposure times on several species of perennial weeds. “We thought that flame cultivation would cause damage to cranberry plants and that damage would increase with increasing exposure duration and vary by flame cultivator tool used,” noted Hillary Sandler, the study’s corresponding author. Although the results showed minor response differences between the cranberry varieties tested, all varieties showed recovery from flame cultivation damage, irrespective of which tool was used or the duration of exposure.
Flame Cultivation Offers Economic Alternative to Glyphosate
“Our economic analysis showed that the time and cost of using an open flame torch for spot control of weeds was similar to that of the common practice of using a wick applicator to apply glyphosate to weeds,” the researchers noted.
This article appears in the November 2013 issue of Acres U.S.A.