Ever mindful that we ought to pursue environmentally friendlier methods where at all possible, I’ve been scouring the literature on your behalf. Well, a search for a ‘greener’ method of weed control may have ended with Anne Merete Rask’s recently defended University of Copenhagen (Denmark) PhD thesis entitled ‘Non-chemical weed control on hard surfaces: an investigation of long-term effects of thermal weed control methods’. Rather than use nasty chemicals, the research proposes that hot water/steam or heat should be used to ‘deal with’ those pesky plants (aka ‘weeds’) in hard-surface situations (i.e. not your typical arable setting). But you won’t get away with a single application: you need to apply the extreme temperature treatment up to six times in a season. So, go on, dust off that flamethrower and release the inner arsonical phytocidist that lurks within us all! And don’t stint on the treatment, either – mildly scalding or merely singing the plants might actually encourage regrowth of grass weeds. As is often the way with non-UK, European PhDs some of this work has already been published by Palle Kristoffersen et al.. And if you’re now inspired to read what is effectively the thesis’ introduction, check out a review of non-chemical control of weeds on hard surfaces by Rask and Larsen.
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New in Annals of Botany