Grapevine Management Study

Over the course of this year, we were privileged to take part in demonstration trials funded by Wine Australia, evaluating alternative weed control measures undervine in vineyards compared to current practices.

Satusteam was applied using a Sumo (SW2800) travelling at 1km/hr, with two – three steam treatments 4 weeks apart.

Other alternative measures examined were acetic acid, pine oil, flame and mulch.

Unsurprisingly, our Satusteam treatment was one of the only options which didn’t impact soil chemistry in some way.  This is something we already knew from our own experience, and a recent study by Hort Innovation.

What was surprising, was the cost/hectare comparison chart. (all prices given are in Australian Dollars)

Now this of course doesn’t include the initial outlay of purchasing a Sumo set up.
But it does give us a great reference for how long it would take to recover the initial cost and reap savings, versus other treatment options.

Let’s say you’re currently treating a modest 10 hectares with pine oil, and your particular climate and weed species mean you’re treating three times per year. That’s $13,080 per year, versus the equivalent Satusteam running cost of $2610.  With a yearly saving of over $10,000 your Sumo set up could have paid itself off within a handful of years.  These savings of course magnify, the larger the area being treated.

We also had a really positive result in terms of the NVDI, a measure of how much live vegetation is present (the lower the better).
Repeatedly, straw mulch gave the best result.  And as every horticulturalist from any background knows, mulch is the penultimate solution to soil health and weed control.  However if we revisit the costing table above, we’ll see it’s also prohibitively expensive! Ouch!

So it was a pleasant surprise to see Satusteam coming second place, in two of three trial sites.

An added bonus, is that Satusteam and organic mulches supplement each other nicely.
Without solely relying on it to control weeds you can spread that mulch a little thinner, to still gain the soil health benefits but save some $, and any weeds that do push through can be instantly knocked back down with Satusteam – our treatment is depressurised right at the point of contact, so the mulch isn’t disturbed in any way.

Plus, any irrigation generated from the Satusteam treatment (nearly 400ml/second over approx 2.5sqm) is locked in by that mulch to provide maximum benefit to the crop.

What a win-win-win situation!

SW3800KD Set Up for Row Crops

Our largest machine, the SW3800KD is what you’ve been waiting for in terms of weed killing productivity.

These units have fast heating and high volume delivery of 30L/minute, with the power to run nearly 300cm width worth of heads.

Fully customised set ups and trailers for these machines are available to order, including single or dual axle trailers suitable for towing behind tractors.

Give your cash crop that organic competitive edge today, without harming your soil biology.

View the product information or contact us for more info.

The Green Ninja Stealth – More than a Weedkiller!

Jeremy demonstrates the full range of capabilities, of our hybrid electric Green Ninja Stealth.
Sold with a braked trolley and the ability to run direct from mains power and water, this unit can also be mounted on a trailer and draw from a small generator and water tank for ultimate accessibility.
Quieter and cheaper to run than other models, this is the ultimate tool for maintaining and cleaning those outdoor spaces!

View the product information sheet or contact us directly for more info.

Thermal weeding gets up a head of steam

Citycare Property is steaming ahead with plans to reduce its use of herbicides by adopting thermal weeding.

As one of New Zealand’s leading providers of maintenance and facilities management services across New Zealand, Citycare Property’s contracts currently include a five-year contract to maintain and manage all community-owned buildings and parks in South Auckland, as well as a range of landscape, facilities management, graffiti and water contracts in Christchurch and all around the country.

Many of Citycare Property’s contracts include maintaining reserves, cemeteries, parks and playgrounds. As every home gardener knows, weeds are a constant battle, and it’s no different for Citycare. Our open space maintenance staff work to keep the weeds down while also keeping a keen eye on the environment.

Thermal weed control involves spraying weeds with a fine jet of water at 120 degrees Celsius. After just a few seconds the weeds change colour, start to die and a couple of days later the full effect of the treatment can be seen.

Read the full story… 

 

Considerations and Advantages when Using Satusteam©

With the increasing knowledge about the health effects of repeated exposure to glyphosate, landcare groups are opting for a range of alternatives.

‘Steam’ has proven to be a valuable tool, particularly for some invasive species like Mother of Millions and Tiger Pear, but before you spend your hard fought for grant money, consider some of the features that will make huge differences in your productivity.

There is more detail to follow, but first, let’s destroy a myth about steam weed control. Steam, the vapour seen rising from applicator heads, is the minute vapour droplets have no lethal temperature associated with it. It’s the large coalesced droplets of boiling water that are the treatment fluid. This fluid is a mixture of saturated steam and boiling water, which we call Satusteam©.
It is not generated in a pressure vessel, like a soil steriliser or home heating system, but in a continuous flow hot water heat exchanger. It delivers enough volume, delivered at a 98°-100°C at the weed to explode soft leaved cells on contact. Thermal shock takes just 1/10th of a second.
We have an in-depth article comparing various thermal control methods to Satusteam©, click here to read it.

To arrange a demonstration or find out more, call 0800 112 890.

When fighting weeds with steam – volume matters

In landcare situations, you need serious killing power to fight difficult weeds. Our machines were first developed to treat weeds in municipal areas such as crack and crevices in footpaths and paving. 5 litres a minute works well in that situation, but in landcare and regeneration environments you will want a machine that delivers 10 litres.

Vegetation in soil and mulch grows more vigorously than in the harsh pedestrian environment.

The roots are more established and often the vegetation being controlled may be a ground cover or established grass. A 5L/min machine such as the SW800 can be used but productivity will increase dramatically, as well as your satisfaction level, with double the volume. Our contracting customers, who have their choice of machines, will choose the SW900 for controlling weeds in the soil every time.

The SW900 can be set up with dual reels and have 2 operators, adding to its versatility.

Temperature up close is key

Back in the early 2000s, I learnt a valuable lesson. Hot water of 97°C makes progress/work much slower than using boiling water when the aim is to explode plant cells. Weedtechnics SW machines superheat the water as it passes through the steel pipe inside the burner chamber. Because it is pressurised, the water can be heated up to 115°-120°C without boiling. Pressurisation raises the physical boiling temperature of water to over 300°C. We maintain this pressure through our delivery hose and lance, right up until it passes through our unique nozzle system. What this means is that your superheated water doesn’t flash into saturated steam and boiling water (Satusteam©) until it is within 5cm of the target. There is no time for it to cool in the atmosphere, therefore transferring maximum heat into the target vegetation.

The depressurisation advantages

The Satusteam© system pressurises the water for two reasons. Firstly, it raises the physical boiling point of the water allowing superheating. Secondly, it allows delivery of the super-heated water over any distance up to 100m from the boiler and still delivers Satusteam© at 100°C.

Our patented nozzle system depressurises the superheated water; to give a safe and controlled delivery. The maximum-heat Satusteam coats the vegetation rapidly, which gives you great productivity. Depressurised Satusteam© does not displace mulch, compact soils, inject into desirable roots or damage soil structure. This feature also allows the machines to be used for cleaning of lichen, moss, algae and more without damaging the surface beneath, unlike a high pressure waterblaster (alternatively pressure nozzles can be used with the machines for pressurised cleaning).

Reach and rewind makes work easy

Landcare and revegetation works are rarely in compact areas. So, look for a unit that can deliver the volume and temperature over a long distance. Because of our depressurisation advantage, the Weedtechnics Satusteam© system can deliver Satusteam© at 100°C up to 100m from the boiler. Our standard landcare reels can house 60m of covered hose on a rewind reel. This gives incredible reach and versatility to your work.

Water carrying capacity

We have established that 10L/minute is going to give you the most productivity when dealing with weeds in broad landcare environments.
A 400L water tank will give less than 40 minutes of work. A 1000L tank will give you 90 minutes. Consider the effect on productivity with having a limited water supply.

Variety is the spice of life

Mother of millions, kikuyu, couch, hydrocotyl and similar ground covering vegetation is best treated using a 35cm or 60cm wide covered head.  The covered environment encapsulates the heat ensuring there is the maximum transfer of heat to the plant material. Covered heads also allow application under the foliage of desirable plants without fear of off-target damage.

Tiger pear is best treated using an open head, that can be used to coat the entire above ground portion of the plant. With the same head, tussock grasses are managed well having a good dose of 10L/minute of Satusteam© delivered into their crown. When you are done with the work on site and want to sanitise your vehicle tyres and remove any seed from plant and equipment, you will want to be able to use a pressure nozzle in your Satusteam© weeding machine. Weedtechnics have developed the threaded quick coupling system that allows you to change between nozzles within 90 seconds.

In most cases, following safe work methods, you may not need to turn off the machine or cool it down. This can be followed up with a steam spike injection.

Technical support 

Use of burners and boilers by landcare practitioners is new, so you want to know that there is support just a call away and that they know how to troubleshoot. Weedtechnics have developed this system over the last 20 years and have been using our US made, clean burning, fuel efficient boilers for the past 10 years.

We know intimately how to troubleshoot and have assisted many customers get up and running with phone support, without them having to leave their sites.

 

If you’d like to discuss how we can make the Satusteam© technology work for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks to our team in Australia for this content.

Go Green on Weed Control

What new service could you offer that would generate referrals and more business?

Consumers are preferring ‘green’, ‘eco’ and ‘organic’ and it’s no longer acceptable for much of the community to see chemicals being sprayed for weed control.

THE FACTS

The public is concerned about safety.
Application of chemical weed killers, according to label, requires restriction of access to treated areas for a number of hours. Failure to restrict access can expose the public to ‘probable carcinogens’.

Glyphosate negatively impacts soil biology.
The most commonly used weed killers are Glyphosate based. Glyphosate is a patented antibiotic and chelator which has been shown to kill soil microbes, bind nutrients and favour pathogens.

Weedkillers threaten habitat, ecosystem & pet health.
Most commonly used weed killers have the potential to contaminate habitats of sensitive populations of endangered species such as frogs, bees and butterflies which are essential to healthy ecosystems.

Stormwater becomes contaminated with herbicides applied to landscapes.
Chemical weed killers translocate easily from paved surfaces, through soil profiles and contaminate ground waters, streams, creeks and estuaries.

These problems have created the next great opportunity for differentiating your business and standing out from the crowd.

Residential Consumers are favouring ‘eco’, organic and bee, child and pet-friendly products.

School and Dog Steam Weeders

Commercial clients want Eco
Companies, councils and schools report to their stakeholders on their eco-initiatives. You can assist them to achieve their eco-outcomes. Offer organic Satusteam weed control from Weedtechnics.

Be a leader
Add Satusteam™ to your tool kit offer as a new service. Weedtechnics has a range of machines to suit your needs. The new SW500E is versatile and easy to use. It plugs into water and power wherever you go; or can be used with a generator. The SW900 is a more serious workhorse. It can run all day with one or two technicians on 60m hoses.

Use SatusteamTM weeding machines to kill weeds in cracks and crevices in driveways, carparks, along fence lines and in gardens. The machine can also clean and sanitise slippery paths, rubber surfaces, artificial grass, play equipment, as well as remove chewing gum and some graffiti.

Sydney Inner West Council has had a SatusteamTM weeding program outside every school and pre-school in Marrickville for many years.

With Weedtechnics SatusteamTM, you can be a step ahead of the rest

36 councils across Australia use Satusteam to weed and clean playgrounds and civic areas. Much of this work is contracted.

Thanks to our team in Australia for this content.

Christchurch and Wairarapa Councils Explore Organic Alternatives

Since mid-2016, Christchurch City Council has been reducing its use of chemical weedkillers by exploring organic alternatives and saturated steam.

They have bought a truck fitted with a 2000 litre water tank and a boiler unit and are using it the eastern suburbs to blast weeds growing by the roadside with jetted super-heated water.

“The boiler unit heats the water under pressure to a temperature of 120 degrees. The super-heated water is then jet blasted onto the weeds. It essentially cooks the weeds and kills them,’’ says Council Transport Operations Manager Steffan Thomas.

“We’re still in the early stages of analysing the benefits of this new methodology but so far it does seem to be pretty effective.’’

Citycare has recently rolled out a second truck that can thermally kill weeds.

source: Newsline


Wairarapa councils have been considering the issue for even longer, since 2015.

Read the article at the Wairarapa Times-Age.

Brendan Tait is the owner/operator of Wellington-based Envirosteam, a contracting business which uses Weedtechnics’ machines to kill weeds, was approached for comment by the Times-Age;

He said New Zealand should lead the pack in finding alternatives to poison. “We’re all about the clean and green – but we’ve also got this old boy mentality of ‘spray it, she’ll be right’.”

Tait said steam killing of weeds was possible at a council level, but it took more commitment.

Four to six weeks after steaming, remaining seeds and taproots would sprout again, “but once you give it a second dose – then a third, its gone, its dead, there’s nothing coming back”.

However, the process was slower than using chemical spray applicators. “It can take twice as long – because I’m targeting, not blanket spraying.”

In terms of protective gear, Tait had no worries of carcinogens when steaming. He said steam could be applied in shorts and a T-shirt if you wanted to, with leather gloves to guard yourself when handling the hot applicator.
Tait was interested to see where New Zealand’s chemical conversation would lead after the Monsanto case. “It depends on what you read and by who. Sixty years ago, cigarette smoking wasn’t [considered] bad for your health.”

We’re interested to see where New Zealand’s chemical conversation is going as well, we know what we have to say about it! How about you?