1. Who is using the Steamwand Range?
Local governments and municipalities in the USA, Canada, Australia and NZ, as well as land-care contractors such as Envirosteam, Steamteam and City Care. Our machines are also used by a variety of organic farmers and specialist producers, from vineyards to orchards and lavender to aloe vera. See our gallery and map (coming soon) to see where our machines are being used.
2. Why saturated steam?
For hydro-thermal weeding to be commercially viable, temperatures need to be greater than 98° Celsius and must have rapid transfer into the plant cells. Propane flame and non-saturated steam are less efficient at transferring destructive heat into the vegetation, and hot water will do the job but is much slower and uses a lot more energy. You can rely on our SW range to superheat the water and deliver saturated steam at 98-103°C, to destroy your weeds quickly and effectively.
3. Does it work on all weeds?
We have not found any soft wooded annual or perennial weed that is resistant to a good dose of our saturated steam and boiling water, however, there are many variable factors to consider when we help you design your weed management strategy. For example, are the weeds annuals or perennials, what stage in the growth cycle is the weed, do they have deep rhizomes, bulbs or corms? Treated at the right time annuals can be eradicated after one treatment and perennials such as couch grass, kikuyu and dandelions require a programmed approach.
4. Is there an ideal time to treat weeds with saturated steam?
The best time to treat weeds with saturated steam and boiling water is soon after germination, this will give you the most bang for your buck and a thorough kill. However you can treat at any time of the life cycle, but the speed of application will vary. Check out our video for a practical demonstration: Click to view on Youtube
5. What is the cost per acre?
A cost per acre is dependent on the crop and the regularity of treatment cycles. Once you have selected the machine that is right for you, refer to its spec sheet, which provides water and fuel consumption rates and will allow you to calculate anticipated running costs.
6. How much does a steam weeder cost?
This is a complicated question as there are a number of products in our SW range, a variety of machine/mount/head combinations and a plethora of available added extras. Prices start at NZ$12,999 for an SW700 with two applicator heads and 30m of insulated hose, but can reach over $30,000 for an SW900 on a custom-built trailer with a water tank, extra hose with reel and additional heads. Have a chat with us, and we can give you an outline of the costs for a solution that’s tailored to you.
7. Will the pressure of the water destroy soil structure or leave a mess on adjacent surfaces?
No. With the SW range, the saturated steam and boiling water are delivered at just 15psi. It thoroughly coats the vegetation and does not disturb your mulch, compact your soil or spray residue onto adjacent surfaces such as walls and pathways.
8. Are surrounding plants, earthworms and other soil organisms affected?
It must be noted that the delivery of saturated steam and boiling water is non-selective on any living organisms, but does not penetrate more than about 5mm into the soil. This has a great effect on the crowns of weed species but little effect and no lasting impact on either the roots of your perennial crops, trees, vines etc or your important soil organisms. Earthworms also tend to be found lower down in the soil profile unless there are very wet surface conditions.
To kill most plant pathogens and beneficial microbes such as Rhizobium bacteria and mycorrhizal populations, the soil temperature must be “raised and held at between 60 – 80ºC for 30 minutes.” ( KA Hendreck & N. Black (1994 Revised Edition) Growing Media for Ornamental Plants and Turf. Randwick: University of NSW Press.) With our SW weed control on average only the top 5mm of the soil directly under the head is heated for a couple of minutes.
Our observation is that the destroyed weeds quickly become detritus, providing food for a rapid repopulation of soil organisms which helps builds a humus layer in your soil.
9. Does it affect black plastic and other weed membranes? How about drip irrigation?
Repeated applications have proved that our SW range does not affect any type of irrigation system, black plastic or any other weed control membranes with heat.
Mechanical damage can be caused in certain circumstances, but the incidence is rare. We can assess your situation initially, by just emailing us a photo.
10. Where are the machines manufactured?
The machines are manufactured to our specifications in California, and are quality assured. The proprietary nozzles and heads are manufactured in Australia.
11. Who services the machine and how are warranties managed?
We have a network of service agents to match our distribution. Most problems can be solved with troubleshooting guidance over the telephone. Purchasers receive a detailed 12-month warranty with their sales enquiry package.
12. How are the machines powered?
Most of the machines are powered by a petrol pump motor and diesel burner with individual consumption rates available on the respective spec sheets. Our SW500E model uses an electric water pump and power source, however the burner does still require diesel. We have ensured that the diesel burns extremely cleanly to European emissions standards, and studies have shown that emissions from these machines are lower than or equivalent to other thermal weed-control methods.
13. Does this mean they generate a lot of noise?
The machines generate noise equivalent to a household lawnmower. While the length of hose means that the operator is often some distance from the machines, we do recommend wearing ear muffs to ensure the long-term health of your ears! Our SW500E electric model is very quiet.
14. Is there a portable domestic unit, or a backpack version?
A backpack version poses some considerable design challenges, but this and a model for residential use is in development. Please click here to register for our newsletter and be the first to know when it is ready for market.
15. Is it suitable for a small backyard / residential applications?
The use of steam is suitable for many residential applications. Click here to keep updated of when we have a residential unit ready to go. In the meantime click here to visit our Weedtechnics contractors to find one may be able to provide non-chemical weeding services in your area (coming shortly).