Introduction: How to Flame Weed - the Beginner's Guide

About: With a background in architecture and construction, I enjoy tackling projects around the house and helping others learn in the process.

Hey everyone, welcome to Homes for Beginner where I show you how to do repairs around the house yourself. In this video, I will be showing you how to properly flame weed. This is a great natural way of controlling weeds, you don’t have to deal with any harsh chemicals and it’s a common method used in organic farming.

For my method, it takes slightly longer. However, from my experience, it does last longer and any plant with a shallower root system tends to not come back. I prefer to burn the top portion of the plant fully, this heats the ground enough where a shallow root system becomes damaged as well. It’s best to do this when the plants are still young as the root system won’t be as big, therefore they’re easier to burn. With only the top portion of the plant damaged and not completely burned, this does have the potential of killing the root system as the leaves aren’t able to absorb light to form develop the plant, this is called photosynthesis.


  • large propane torch
  • handheld propane torch
  • 20lbs propane tank
  • small propane bottle
  • wrench
  • striker
  • water supply such as a hose, watering can, or a fire extinguisher
  • spray bottle with soap and water

Step 1: Safety First

First is starting out with the safety and operation of the torch used for this. Here I have a propane torch that connects to 20lbs propane tank such as what is used on a BBQ. The end of the torch where the flame is will become very hot, as shown by the burnt off paint. This is an area you do not want to touch when the torch is off, you’ll need to allow it to cool off before it’s put away. The supply pipe goes back to the control valve, you can hold onto the valve base or the pipe as both of these areas stay cool.

There is a hose that connects the wand to the tank, always make sure it’s in good condition and no damage is present, otherwise, this can be a serious safety concern. The fitting which connects to the tank is a left-hand thread, so it’s the opposite as what you’ll see on common bolts, screws, etc.

Make sure the valve is closed on the torch, then connect the line. Being that this is a left-hand thread, to tighten it, you’ll need to turn it counterclockwise. Tighten using a wrench or adjustable wrench. If it’s an adjustable wrench, make sure it’s tight on the connection. Being that this is brass, you can damage the hex easier.

Open the valve slowly and you should see the hose move as it builds up with pressure. You can use a spray bottle with a soap and water mix to inspect for any leaks on any connections. Once the pressure builds up for a moment, then open up the valve on the tank fully.

If you listen closely, when the valve on the tank is opened up too fast, it’ll trigger a check valve that closes off the propane supply. If you wait a moment, the check valve may shut off on its own or you’ll need to turn the valve tank off, then bleed off the pressure by opening the torch valve. Close it and then open the tank valve slowly.

Once the pressure is build up in the line and the tank valve is fully opened, only open the valve a small amount on the torch, then using a torch striker, light the propane.

The flame size can be adjusted by the valve on the torch, the bigger the flame, the hotter it’ll be. However with a bigger flame, the quicker the supply of propane will be used up.

To shut off the flame, it can be turned off by the torch valve, but if you’re done with the torch, what I prefer to do is burn off the gas in the line by turning off the tank first. Allow the flame to get extremely small, then turn off the torch valve and disconnect the line.

Step 2: Burning the Vegetation

Next is moving onto burning, this can be used in large areas such as on sand, soil, clay, and even on paving stones, gravel, etc. When the torch is on, adjust the flame to your preference, hold the end about 4” away from the ground at an angle, the distance will depend on how the flame is set, then continue to burn the vegetation. This method can be used on both weeds and grass, it’s best to do this on days after a recent rain where the ground isn’t excessively dry as this can be a fire hazard. Have a watering can, hose, or fire extinguisher close by just as a safety precaution.

The style of these torches can vary between manufacturers and they usually aren’t overly expensive. I place the tank in one area, don’t over-extend the hose where it can pull over the tank and work in a radius from the tank. I prefer to work in an outward direction, pushing the flame forward. Always keep the flame away from the hose and tank. The flame only needs to be held for less than a second over the weed to kill the above-ground portion of the weed. You should nice the leaves of the plant change color and finish.

When you’ve reached the maximum length of the hose, then move the tank. The ground usually cools off fairly quickly, however, any stones or rocks can remain hot for a short period so be mindful of that. Depending on the vegetation you’re burning and what quality of burn is done, this will affect how quickly plants grow back. This torch is rated for up to 500,000 btu which makes working over a large area somewhat quick. A 10 foot by 10 foot areas usually takes about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Avoiding Vegetation You Want to Keep

If you are working around areas such as trees, shrubs, or even grass such as here. Water can be applied to the vegetation you don’t want damaged, keep in mind that heat does travel upward, so it can damage anything above the flame area. The torch can be set to a lower setting, then direct the torch away from the area you don’t want damaged, and follow through with pushing it away.

Step 4: How Long Does It Last?

The first photo is a view after three weeks, no burning was done between the first time and now. As you can see, no vegetation is popping up, the area is still clean. When done with the torch, burn off the propane in the line and wait for it to cool down before putting it away.

The second photo is a view after six weeks and there is the odd plant showing up now, so this gives you an idea of how long this form of vegetation control will last. There is some vegetation popping up and this is most likely due to the heavy rain we’ve had lately where the seeds are washing off from adjacent properties.

Step 5: Spot Burning With a Handheld Torch

For spot burning, using a small handheld torch that screws onto a tank would be my preferred method. Make sure the valve is closed before connecting. With the torch, this has a right-handed thread. Open the valve to a low setting, then using the striker, ignite the flame. This will have more of a concentrated flame that works great on individual plants and can achieve up to 1000 °C or about 1800 °F.

Step 6: Spot Burning Weeds

A shield can be used, I’d recommend using a round piece of metal tubing to contain the heat so it doesn’t damage surrounding plants. For this I have a piece of 2 1/2” diameter exhaust pipe, although the pipe I have here is too deep as it cuts off the flame, I’d only recommend a piece about 2-3” in height. The pipe will be hot after it’s been exposed to the flame, therefore use interlocking pliers to pick the pipe up and move to the next area.

Burn the center of the plant and seeds if it does have any. This can be used on any type of soil, between paving stones, gravel, etc.

If you found this video helpful, please don’t forget to give it a like and drop a comment below. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for more home diy videos, thank you for watching.

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