A few days before I went on holiday, I ordered the Weed Wand to help tackle the weed problem on my driveway. I have lived in this house now for 3 months and the previous owner decided on having a very large all-gravel driveway (which could have been used for better things in my opinion, who wants space to park 6 cars in a tiny cottage!).
Now I am back from holiday, and my Weed Wand is waiting for me. We are going through the hottest spell of weather at the moment for a very long time and my lawn appears to be 90% brown. So, I find it incredibly frustrating to find that all the weeds on the driveway and on the lawn appear to be flourishing! I even have grass patches on the driveway in between the gravel that are 100% green, but my all grass lawn is struggling... Oh well!
I have spent probably around 5 hours weeding my driveway the past 2 days (the weeds were the equivalent of filling up 2 Green Wheelie bins just so you know what I am dealing with!). I pulled a large number up by hand, hoed some other ones, but many were left - small patches of tough grass, tiny little thistles and dandelions and other small difficult to pull up weeds - this is where the weed wand came in.
I bought this for £25 from Amazon and it came supplied with 6 canisters of gas. After reading the instructions and setting it up, I was burning away within 3 minutes.
You simply screw one of the gas cans onto the wand (a metal pole shaped like a walking stick). Then there is a small black plastic knob with a +/- symbol on it - turning towards the + makes it open, and to close turn it the other way. You open the valve and can hear the hissing sound of gas coming from the gas can, then all you do is press the ignition button towards the end of the pole and it will self-ignite. The flame that emerges is about 8-10cm in size.
The wand makes quick work of grass and other small patches of weeds but the tougher the weed seems to be, the longer it takes to burn away (thistles especially). Definitely use this for those tricky awkward to get, smaller weeds located in between cracks in pathways or on gravel, but if you have a large weed that can easily be pulled up, I would suggest just doing that and not burning for the sake of it.
Dandelions are very awkward to pull up and are also very wet weeds so do not burn easily - What I ended up doing was weeding a small patch by hand, getting whatever I could, then using the weed wand to finish off the job - especially effective on that large dandelion root that remains after having yanked off the leaves.
I have successfully done my large driveway and areas of a pathway and have only used one can (I would estimate you get about 1 hour constant use from one can of gas).
Does the weed wand leave marks on the gravel on the driveway and on the pavement - no, not unless you subject the area to far too much exposure - when you have burned away the weed, the gravel around it does change colour but this is just moisture, if you kick the surface a bit afterwards then you can't even see where you have used it.
Weather conditions - it is immensely dry at the moment, as you can see from when I wrote this review we are in the midst of a heat wave - I would suggest that you rake up any loose leaves or debris on the driveway (I did this first anyway to expose the weeds). A few dry old leaves and bits of twig that were around a weed I burned caught fire very quickly, nothing crazy and out of control - in fact they put themselves out after having burned out in the end, but it is worth having water to hand just in case something happens in dry conditions.
You don't have to burn the whole weed away, you can simply hit the centre of it going down to the root and the rest will disappear in a few days - but I wanted the job done there and then and was quite impatient! So like I mentioned above, I did a lot of work by hand on the larger weeds then used the Weed Wand to finish the job off on the remaining parts.
Don't use this whilst barefoot or wearing sandals if it is nice weather! Common sense I know, but I could feel the heat from this through my socks and shoes.
Why not use weed killer? Because chemicals are bad! Yes it's cheaper, it's a quicker and lazier option but it is coating your driveway with chemicals that can be harmful to wildlife - I also grow a lot of veg and plants in the garden and wouldn't want any of them to get accidentally sprayed with killer. A 5 litre bottle of roundup also costs the same as this product.
The looks from neighbours and passers by as I used this were funny - yes I am destroying my weeds with what appears to be a Bunsen burner on the end of a walking stick. There is also something immensely satisfying about burning weeds to ash with a thousand degree flame; you feel the weed cannot possibly return after seeing what you are subjecting it to.
I believe now that I am firmly "on top of" my weeding on the driveway, the Weed Wand will prove immensely useful in nullifying any emerging baby weeds - these are the most difficult to remove by hand and they burn away very easily using the weed wand. I am hoping that by spending 10-15 minutes a week with it on the driveway, I can keep on top of it and not let the weed situation get so out of hand again that it looks like I may have abandoned my home!
I'd recommend this to anyone with awkward and hard to get weeds that they need to keep on top of. It is also great for people with back problems who cannot bend down - all the work can be done standing.
It is probably also great for starting bonfires, barbecues and toasting marshmallows!
I sleep easy now knowing that any weeds that even think about popping up amongst my gravel will be burned away with my Weed Wand!
We have a block paved driveway. It replaced a mixed tarmac and crazy paving surface some six years ago. Block paving is "Good For The Planet" because the bricks maintain a gap between them, through which rainwater can drain into the sub-soil and, as we now all know, this is a "Good Thing"! It's the type of driveway surface that is impermeable, such as concrete or tarmac, and so causes water to run off into the drains that is one of the prime causes of the floods that so affect our landscape these days.
Of course, the drawback of block paving is that weeds and grass just love to try to take a hold in the gaps, where their roots reach down into the soil that inevitably squeezes up between the blocks. This can make the whole driveway look unsightly so, how do you get rid of them?
In the past I have used the usual chemical cocktail, such as Pathclear. True it is effective but I have become less and less satisfied by it and its competitors. No matter what the claims they all always seem to take a substantial length of time to take effect. The first signs do appear within days but it seems that it can take weeks for the weeds to entirely disappear. Until they do, it's a moot point whether dying weeds look any better than thriving ones!
In any case, using these chemicals close to plants that you don't want to lose, such as along a path border, can be a challenge. How do you ensure that the spray only covers the weeds? What about chemical spread through the soil as well? In any case, should we be spraying the World with noxious chemicals. OK, the manufacturers claim that they are bio-degradable but wouldn't it be better not to use them in the first place? After all, I'm sure that they thought that DDT was safe when they originally started using it.
I saw an advert for the Parasene Weed Wand and immediately thought that this would be the perfect solution to the problem. The Weed Wand burns weeds and so is pretty well guaranteed to produce immediate results. OK, so it uses gas to burn off the weeds and so there is the CO2 effect but all things considered I would rather that than the alternative. I'm sure it doesn't amount to that much anyway, probably no more than your average barbecue.
The Weed Wand is a very simple device. It looks just like a metal walking stick, with the handle covered in a green plastic grip and with a gas canister screwed to the end of the handle so that it hangs down below your hand. Immediately above the canister is the gas control, a simple screw valve that regulates the flow of the gas. Parasene supply their own brand of gas but the canister fitting is standard and so just about any equivalent could probably be used.
Halfway down the underside of the stem is the lighter button. Opening the gas valve and pressing the lighter button once lights the flame at the end of the stem, where the flame emerges from a cowl slightly bigger in diameter than the rest of the stem. The flame lights immediately and produces a strong flame that extends maybe 15 centimetres from the end. The instructions state that it burns at 1,000C!
Using it is simplicity itself. However, unlike my first trial, it's probably best not to try to use it immediately after a period of sustained rainfall. At these time the weeds are lush and juicy and so getting rid of them can take substantially longer. Better to wait until we've experienced a dry spell when the weeds are naturally running out of water. I have proved that myself; the weeds under where my daughter usually parks her car were much easier to destroy than those on the rest of the driveway. The dry weeds took only seconds, the rest could take as much as a minute to reduce to ash.
Not that you actually need to reduce them to ash. You actually only need to "cook" the centre of the weed, above the root. The weed will dry out and should soon disappear. I, however, am not that patient and wanted to see immediate results so I blasted them. The results were very effective though time-consuming. In future I'll try to pick my time, British Summers permitting!
Of course, using flames is always a potentially risky affair. Great care does need to be taken to ensure that the burning doesn't get out of control, especially during particularly dry periods. I would suggest a bucket of water nearby whenever you are using the Weed Wand, just in case. It is intended only to be used on driveways and pathways. I suppose it could be used in borders but I wouldn't recommend it. That's what your fork is for!
I have been impressed with the results produced by the Weed Wand and I will be keen to see how much quicker I can dispose of weeds in more suitable conditions. Most of all it is very cost effective. The cheapest I have found the Weed Wand for sale was at £19.99, including a canister of gas. That was at Argos. The closest I found to this was at the same price at our local Longacres, but that was without a canister of gas. 275grm propane/butane gas canisters cost around £4, or less bought in bulk. I haven't yet determined how long a canister lasts.
There is also a 552 model. The only difference appears to be that the stem has a bend in it about 20cms from the end, which points it more downwards. This version does seem to be a bit more expensive but I really can't see that it gives any significant benefit, certainly not enough to justify the additional expense.
I would definitely recommend the Weed Wand, even after the relatively brief trial I have given it so far. For my part I have found it the best solution for unsightly weeds. It's probably also pretty good for lighting barbecues!
Oh, and it also works well on ants!
Parasene 550 Weed Wand (Without Gas Cartridge) The Parasene Weed-wand Is A Walking-stick Shaped Device Which Is Light Weight A Convenient Size And Of A Well-balanced Construction Making It Comfortable And Easy To Handle Operated From A Standing Position. Just A Touch From Its High Temperature Flame Disrupts The Cell Structure Of Weeds Causing Them To Wither And Die Within A Day Or Two Without Using Expensive Toxic Chemicals. Ideal For Clearing Patios Block Paving Paths Gravel Driveways Rockeries And Walls The Weed-wand Has Many Other Useful Applications including De-icing Frozen Drives And Pavements Melting Pond Ice Thawing Pipes Etc. - Features A Push Button Automatic Ignition