Flame weeding is often used for weed control in organic production and other situations where use of herbicides is prohibited or undesirable. Response to cross-flaming was evaluated on five common weed species: common lambsquarters, redroot pigweed, shepherd's-purse, barnyardgrass, and yellow foxtail. Dose-response curves were generated according to species and growth stage. Dicot species were more effectively controlled than monocot species. Common lambsquarters was susceptible to flame treatment with doses required for 95% control (LD95) ranging from 0.9 to 3.3 kg/km with increasing maturity stage. Comparable levels of control in redroot pigweed required higher doses than common lambsquarters, but adequate control was still achieved. Flaming effectively controlled shepherd's-purse at the cotyledon stage (LD95 = 1.2 kg/km). However, the LD95 for weeds with two to five leaves increased to 2.5 kg/km, likely due to the rosette stage of growth, which allowed treated weeds to avoid thermal injury. Control of barnyardgrass and yellow foxtail was poor, with weed survival > 50% for all maturity stages and flaming doses tested. Flame weeding can be an effective and labor-saving weed control method, the extent of which is partially dependent on the weed flora present. Knowledge of the local weed flora and their susceptibility to flame weeding is vital for the effective use of this method.
Nomenclature: Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv. ECHCG; common lambsquarters, Chenopodium album L. CHEAL; redroot pigweed, Amaranthus retroflexus L. AMARE; shepherd's-purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. CAPBP; yellow foxtail, Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roemer and J.A. Schultes SETLU.