Why not Steam?
There are many steam-based weeding tools, none of which work. Why? When you think of it intuitively, steam would seem to be an ideal means for weed control – so what’s the hangup?
There are several problems with using steam to kill weeds;
- Control – steam doesn’t stay where you put it. Unless you have some kind of hood or shroud around your applicator, steam will dissipate quickly and harmlessly.
- Energy – it takes 5x as much energy to heat water to 212F as it does to heat steam to 212F. And you don’t get that energy back in killing power.
- Specific heat – or “heat content” of steam is less than half that of water. So for a given amount of steam you only have 1/2 the killing power of water.
- Heat transfer rate – water is more than 2x as efficient at transferring heat as steam. Think of holding your hand right above a pot of boiling water and then contrast that with actually dipping your hand into the boiling water (do not try this – for illustrative purposes only).
How do I know that the HotZot can kill my weeds?
Weeds can range from Canadian thistle through cockelburrs, goatheads, mullen and thousands of other unwanted plants. How can I make sure that the HotZot will be able to kill my weeds? The answer is easy – boil some water, put it in an insulated cup and then go outside and pour 1/4 cup on the crown of your weed of choice then come back over the next few days and watch the weed die. Occasionally an unusually robust, mature weed will require a 2nd application.
Note – Weeds such as blackberries, ivy, morning glory (field bindweed), etc. propagate by runners. Killing a single runner will have no effect on weeds such as these.
How does it work?
The HotZot works by shooting narrow jets of scalding 185F water at the crown of the weed. It is not necessary to spray all the leaves, just spray the crown of the plant will sever the connection between the root and the portion above ground. The water bursts the tissues of the plant down into the root. As the root begins to regenerate, the decomposing products of the dead root start to seep down the root channel and further compromise the root biome. The more damage you can do the the root biome the less likely the weed will have the energy to regenerate.
With a “kill zone” the size of a dime, the HotZot can be used in lawns and gardens to kill weeds that are directly adjacent to other plants you want to keep.
Why is citric acid necessary?
Adding citric acid occasionally is necessary to keep the HotZot working at peak efficiency by dissolving the mineral “scale” left behind when water is heated.
How much will it cost?
Initially we expect the HotZot to retail for $100 plus shipping.
Is it safe for kids and pets?
The HotZot is as safe as hot lemonade. While you must use the same precautions that you would with any hot liquid, the Garden HotZot will leave no toxic residue in your yard or clothes and children and pets can play in your yard immediately after treatment.
When will it be available?
We expect to have prototypes available for testing in early 2020.
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Where can I buy it?
We are looking to license our patent to a manufacturer and let them take it to market.
So far we have interest from;
Rainbird Golf and Contractor Divisions are interested and have followed development of the HotZot
NDA signed by Chapin Sprayers – a major Lawn and Garden tool manufacturer which shows committed interest.
Positec has submitted the HotZot to their New Product Development Committee
TTI (Milwaukie, Ryobi, Ridgid) has contacted us through their “Open Innovation” program
How effective is it?
100% effective on small to medium sized weeds. The dandelion shown in the images on HotZot.biz took about 15 seconds to kill and you can see where the root died leaving the channel. It is easy to kill up to 150 or more weeds per hour without breaking a sweat.
Large weeds that are well established can take more than one application before they give up and fold.
What limitations does it have?
Some weeds have a distributed root system – think of ivy, morning glory (field bindweed) and blackberries. If you have problem with these kind of weeds, consider using goats to clear the area and then the HotZot as the weeds attempt to recover.
Can I use it to kill slugs and snails?
Does it work on moss?
How does it compare with the competition?
Heat Lamp (NatureZap) – Cost: $100
Effectiveness: 25%, does not kill plant roots — multiple applications needed, clumsy to use and the housing becomes very hot and can cause burns, does not work in wet weather. Application area: 16 s.in., safe for the environment, people and pets, most effective on medium to small weeds.
Tertill (Franklin Robotics) – Cost – $248
Effectiveness – 100% on weeds smaller than 1 inch, does not work on larger weeds or weeds that hug the ground, only works on level ground, requires 1 Tertill per 100 sq. ft. of garden. Similar to the Roomba (vacuum cleaner), the Tertill roams your garden cutting off the tops of tiny weeds.
String Trimmer (Weed Eater) – Cost: $79 – $289
Effectiveness: 25%, does not kill plant roots, multiple applications are needed. Application area: 16 s.in. safe for the environment, people and pets.
Residential Weed Torch (Red Dragon) – Cost: $61-$310 (plus cost of tank, fuel, hand truck and fire extinguisher.)
Effectiveness: 50%, does not kill plant roots –multiple applications are needed, must wear protective clothing and store propane safely, can cause fires if misused. Application area: 144 s.in., environmental unsafe because of CO2 emissions, care must be taken for the safety of people and pets, cannot be used in very wet or very dry conditions, the heat bloom will damage nearby plants.
Residential Weed Steamer (DynaSteam) – Cost: $230
Effectiveness: 25%, does not kill plant roots — multiple applications are needed, cumbersome to use, must wear protective clothing — 300F live steam under pressure is used. Tool comes with a hood or soil penetrating spikes, Application area: 14 s.in., safe for the environment, care must taken for the safety of people and pets, requires a 10 min. warm up and cannot be used in wet conditions.
Vinegar – Cost: $5.00
Effectiveness: 25%, does not kill plant roots — multiple applications are needed, easy to use, protect eyes and skin – can cause irritation, Application area: 1 s.in., safe for the environment, people and pets, cannot use in wet conditions,
Roundup (glyphosate) – Cost: $35.00
Effectiveness: 90%, kills plant roots, easy to use. Dangerous for people and pets – must be kept out of treated are for 24-72 hrs. longer if the area is moist. All clothing worn while treating the area must be washed immediately. Do not use near waterways, Do not use when rain is expected within 24 hrs., protect eyes and skin from contact, do not inhale spray, avoid contact with treated plants, wash hands after contact and spray on a windless day to avoid drift, Minimum application area 4 s.in., Not safe for the environment, the active ingredients (glyphosate and POEA) are toxic to aquatic life, not safe for people or pets.
**See our comparison to other weeders