As a blogger, I often receive pitches from a variety of brands to review different products. I don’t participate in every campaign pitched to me — not everything that lands in my inbox fits the theme of my blog, and I also take into consideration whether or not something I review would be of interest to my readers too. However, when the public relations team at BernzOmatic asked if I would be interested in reviewing a propane lawn and garden torch, I couldn’t respond with a “YES” quickly enough.
Every year, our family plants a vegetable garden, and every year, despite my best intentions, there comes a point in time when the garden becomes more than a little overrun with weeds. While I love to garden, I do not enjoy weeding at all. (Does anyone? Be honest. No. You do not.)
The BernzOMatic Self-Igniting Lawn and Garden Torch combines two things that appeal to me immensely:
- Not having to pull weeds.
- Playing with fire.
You have no idea how enjoyable it is to wave this torch flamethrower! in the direction of a weed. A tiny puff of steam hisses out of the plant, and its leaves immediately wilt.
Using this torch to obliterate weeds is deeply satisfying. It’s turned my once-hated task of weeding into a pleasant fire-walk through our vegetable garden. I actually look forward to weeding our garden now, because fire-enabled weeding is ridiculously fun.
Merely touching a small weed with the torch’s 20,000 BTU flame is enough to kill it. The intense heat immediately boils the water inside the plant’s cells, which means that it doesn’t take long at all to walk up and down the rows of my garden, magical fire wand in hand, sizzling all the weeds in my path.
Benefits: No need to use chemical weed-prevention products in your garden, especially if you’re growing food. This helps keep our garden all-organic. This weed torch takes either the traditional tall or shorter, 14.1-ounce camping-style propane tanks that you can pick up on sale for around $1.50-$2 each. With the regulator fully open, you’ll get a 4″ flame and a full hour of weed annihilation. Turn that down to a more reasonable level, and you’ll get even more mileage out of that little tank, but either way, it’s pretty economical to use. It’s about 3′ long, which means you don’t have to stoop over to fry unwanted plants.
Caveats: It’s a torch, and my earlier “flamethrower” description isn’t far from the truth. Your new fire-enabled gardening companion will ignite any dry or dead organic material in its path, and if you use it to burn weeds in blacktop driveway cracks, you’ll want to keep the torch moving or you’ll melt the blacktop too. Obviously, you don’t want to use this torch when it’s windy outside for multiple reasons: You don’t want to catch surrounding things on fire (vinyl siding, landscape timbers, mulch, grass clippings) and it’s also difficult to keep the torch lit and to control the flame when it’s windy. You also don’t want to get too close to any of the plants you wish to keep, as it’s just as easy to sizzle them.
This BernzOMatic torch is most effective on small weeds. If a weed gets large, it not only takes longer to fry all of its leaves with the torch, but torching the top doesn’t necessarily kill an established root system. Small weeds turn bright green when hit with the torch, then shrivel up and die within minutes. I’ve successfully killed dandelions with this torch by standing in one place and continually scorching the center of the plant until it turns black.
I have flirted with the idea of a weed torch before. Years ago, I attempted to use my small BernzOMatic upright torch (the kind you use for sweating plumbing pipes) to burn weeds. Those torches don’t work well when the propane tank is inverted, and their small size also requires you to kneel down until you’re mere inches from the weed. Trust me — this method simply didn’t work well at all.
Then, a few years ago, I purchased this Improvements garden torch (shown above) that I thought would be the solution to my garden weed issues. Unfortunately, despite its $40 price tag, I found this torch’s performance disappointing at best. I ordered it online, and when it arrived, my first impression was that it was cheaply made. It never seemed to mix the air and propane well and had trouble staying lit. It also has a metal cage around the torch, which I think was designed to prevent you from touching other plants with it, but I found cumbersome to use. This Improvements torch also is not self-igniting, so every time it would go out, I’d have to manually re-light it. I gave up using it a few years ago and resigned myself to weeding the garden again.
My old Improvements torch is still hanging in my garage, but it will soon be on its way to the Goodwill donation bin because it’s been replaced by something far more effective. I like the design of this BernzOMatic torch better too — it’s about the size of a walking cane, but its curved, padded foam handle is comfortable to hold and is also well-balanced weight-wise when the propane tank is attached. The self-igniting button is located midway down the handle, and it’s convenient to just press the button and watch the flame spring to life.
I’ve been using my new BernzOMatic torch once a week since we planted our garden, and that’s really all my garden needs to stay weed-free. Over the course of a week, more tiny weeds do spring up, but wiping them out each weekend is my new favorite “chore!”
My last tip: Burn weeds at sundown when you can fully appreciate the gorgeous blue flame shooting out of the end of this torch.
You can purchase the BernzOMatic Lawn and Garden Torch for under $50 at these stores. Price varies on Amazon.