Take care of weeds in just seconds without chemicals when you use a Red Dragon propane torch. You won’t need to hoe, rake, or uproot anything by hand. Torching weeds saves time, effort, and protects the environment from herbicide contamination.Gardeners have been burning away weeds since the 1940s because it’s efficient. Propane torches burn at an intense 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and they need less than a second to destroy a plant. The extreme heat causes plant cells to rupture. The plant may not burn up noticeably in such a short amount of time, but it will droop and die by the next day. Green thumbs recommend leaving the weed to compost on the spot.
Interested in this technique? This is how it’s done.
It’s best to kill weeds when they are young because they die faster, and you’ll use less fuel to do it. Use a torch in the spring and early summer. You may need to treat weedy areas two or three times every two or three weeks. If you water the area you plan to torch, the water will transfer heat to the seeds and destroy a lot of those, too.
Walk slowly with your lit torch, passing it near the weeds you want to destroy
Each weed needs less than a second of flame—it’s not necessary to incinerate them
If weeds look shiny before, they should look matte after a pass with the torch
Leave weeds to droop and die, then compost into the soil
Like we were saying, you only need to pass near the weeds to kill them. These Red Dragon Weed Dragon flamers are plenty hot and powerful. If you want to see one in action, here is a video that shows how you can completely clear an area at the cost of a lot of fuel.
Before you purchase a propane weed burner or any kind of flamer, make sure they are legal to use in your area. Don’t use one when the weather is too hot and dry and there is a risk of wildfire. Don’t use one on dry, brown, dead plants. And please don’t burn poison ivy or poison sumac because the smoke from them can be very hazardous to your health.
The 3 Best Propane Weed Burners
We review the three best so you can decide which one is best for you.
Red Dragon VT 2-23 C Weed Dragon 100,000-BTU Propane Vapor Torch Kit
The Red Dragon VT 2-23 Weed Dragon is one of the easiest-to-use weed burners you can buy. It comes completely pre-assembled unlike the other two Red Dragon models we’ll describe below. All you need to do is attach it to a propane tank. You don’t even need any tools because it has a ¼” NPT tank fitting that tightens by hand. The Weed Dragon has the National Home Gardening Club Member Tested Seal-of-Approval, and it’s made in the USA.
Another bonus is that the Weed Dragon is very lightweight. It weighs just 2.4 pounds and comes with a 23-inch handle and 10-foot gas hose. The biggest weight you’ll have is your propane tank if you opt to use a large one. You can use any refillable propane source, from a small barbecue grill cylinder or a 20-pound tank, it’s up to you.
The bell, or flamer, at the end of the handle is 2-inches wide, perfect size for home gardeners who want to kill weeds without torching their flowers and vegetables. The torch is rated for 100,000 BTU and burns up to 2,000-degrees F.
Red Dragon suggests other uses for the Weed Dragon besides killing pesky plants. They say it can be used for the following tasks too:
Clear weeds from cracks in the driveway and sidewalk
Start charcoal or a campfire
Burn a back fire
Sterilize wire animal cages
Thaw frozen water pipes, de-ice steps
Heat asphalt, branding iron, and kettles
Remove paint, grease, plastic and other residues from nonflammable objects
The Weed Dragon comes with a pilot spark lighter and pipe thread compound. Red Dragon (also known as Flame Engineering) offers a warranty against defective products.
Red Dragon VT 2 1/2-30 SVC 400,000 BTU Propane Vapor Torch Kit with Squeeze Valve
The Red Dragon VT 2-1/2-30 SVC has a whopping 400,000 BTU of power, a 2-1/2-inch bell, 10-foot gas hose, and a 30-inch handle. As they point out, this torch is made for farms, ranches, and road and grounds crews. As a result of its size, it’s a little heavier than the Weed Dragon.
You’ll also need to assemble the Red Dragon, but it’s not very hard to do. Watch this short video to see how to put it together.
Why would you want this much more powerful weed burner? Obviously, if you have a lot more ground to cover, a bigger torch is better. The higher the BTU rating means the faster it will heat up the water inside the plants and kill them.
This Red Dragon comes with a squeeze valve. The valve helps you save fuel. Set it for a low pilot light when you aren’t attacking weeds, then squeeze it for full flame.
On average, a 20-pound propane tank will last between 1 to 2 hours. The maximum amount that the Red Dragon burns in an hour is about 16 pounds. Remember that you don’t have to open the valve and the tank all the way in order to have a flame.
Red Dragon BP 2512 SVC 400,000 BTU Weed Dragon Backpack Propane Vapor Torch Kit with Squeeze Valve
The Red Dragon VT 2-1/2-30 SVC also comes in this kit to make it very convenient for people with a lot of ground to cover. Yes, it’s the same 400,000 BTU Red Dragon weed torch as the one we just described. The difference is that this one has a padded backpack frame for your propane tank, and it has a shorter gas hose.
If you needed to set backfires or clear a large area of weeds or ice, this would be the kit for you. It holds a 10-pound cylinder on a sturdy frame and gives you 5-feet of hose to maneuver the torch. It comes with a squeeze valve so you don’t have to walk around with the torch at full flame all the time.
The kit also contains a flame-adjusting needle valve, a spark lighter, and pipe thread compound.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I light my new torch?
A: Put the matches down. You won’t need them. Instead, hook up your tank to the torch and make sure everything is tight. Slowly open the knob on the propane tank just one-quarter to one-half of a turn. Wait 5 seconds for the propane to flow through the gas hose. Now slowly open the adjusting needle valve about ½ of a turn. Make sure the torch bell is pointed away from you and anything flammable. Take the spark lighter and squeeze it so that it sparks near the torch bell. You’ll hear the roar of the gas igniting. If it’s dark outside, you’ll see the flame better.
Q: What if it scares the bejeebers out of me to light this torch?
A: Good, be a little scared. That will keep you careful. Practice with the spark lighter a few times to see how it works.
Q: Why does the flame on my torch looks really small?
A: If you try to light the torch too quickly, you might trip the safety valve. It’s in the P.O.L. fitting that attaches the hose to the propane cylinder. You’ll need to turn everything off, wait a full minute, and start over.
Q: Why does the torch flame go out while I’m burning weeds?
A: You might be out of fuel, or else you might be holding the torch bell too close to the ground. If the bell is too close to the ground, there isn’t enough oxygen flow to keep the flame going.
Q: Why won’t my torch light up?
A: Check to see if there are any blockages in any of the connections. Clean them with a blast of compressed air, a brush, or a piece of thin wire. Check with your owner’s manual for more advice.
Q: Should I test for leaks?
A: Yes, you should test for leaks before you light the torch. Mix up a solution of dish detergent and water and try not to agitate it so there aren’t a lot of bubbles. Spray or pour it on all connections (hose to cylinder, etc.). Once you’ve opened the tank valve just one-quarter of a turn, see if bubbles appear in the soapy water. You may be able to correct a leak if you use the kit’s included pipe thread tape.
Danger, danger, danger!
One more time let’s review the dos and don’ts of propane weed burners:
Even if you can’t see the flame, your torch stays lit until it’s turned off or out of fuel
Protect your flowers and vegetables with a shovel or spade if you burn weeds near them
Don’t burn evergreens and pine trees (conifers) because they are flammable
Keep a fire extinguisher or garden hose close by (or one of these portable showers)
Burn when the ground is damp, not on hot, dry days
DON’T BURN POISON IVY—you don’t want to breathe in the smoke or have the residue on your skin—this is what it looks like:
Accessories for the best weed burning experience
Red Dragon V-880 PH-1 Squeeze Valve with Adjustable Pilot and Torch Handle Kit
If you already have a Red Dragon without a squeeze valve, or plan to buy one, this little tool makes a big difference. It allows you to control your flame so you use less fuel. It makes it easy to do spot burns.
The valve is made of all brass and tested to withstand up to 350 pounds of pressure, way more than you’ll need.
Flame King YSN011 Steel Propane Cylinder with Type 1 Overflow Protection Device Valve, 10-Pound
Of course, you need fuel to burn those weeds. Who knew that you could have propane delivered to your house? We did! Don’t kill your back lugging a cylinder home from the store. Order online to make it easy on yourself.
Flame King’s cylinder comes with 10 pounds of propane and a overflow protection valve. Use it for your weed burner, then hook it up to your barbecue at night.
Propane Tank Carrier Cylinder Dolly Easy Cart for Tanks, Heaters, Torches and BBQ Grills (Tank Not Included)
Along with the theme of making it easy on yourself, here is a propane cylinder tank dolly that holds 20 or 30 pound tanks. It holds them nice and snug so you can roll them through your garden and burn those weeds dead.
The dolly comes with straps that clip securely and brakes to stop it from rolling away without you.