Weed control and crop tolerance to propane flaming as influenced by the time of day

Santiago M. Ulloa, Avishek Datta, Chris Bruening, George Gogos, Timothy J. Arkebauer, Stevan Z. Knezevic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Time of day has been observed to affect flaming efficacy. The basis for the differential plant response is not well understood; however, daily variation in leaf relative water content (RWC) is thought to contribute to the response. Leaf RWC is the ratio of the amount of water in the leaf tissue compared to when fully turgid. To determine the influence of leaf RWC in plant response to propane flaming, greenhouse experiments were conducted during April and repeated in September of 2009. Two crops [4-leaf maize (Zea mays) and second trifoliate soybean (Glycine max)] and two weed species [5-leaf velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) and 6-leaf green foxtail (Setaria viridis)] were flamed with four propane doses of 0, 29, 43 and 87 kg ha-1 at 0, 4, 8 and 12 h after sunrise-HAS. Leaf RWC was measured before treatment application. Flaming treatment was conducted utilizing a hand flamer with one VT 2-23 C vapor phase burner positioned 20 cm above soil surface and angled horizontally at 30°. The propane pressure was 120 kPa and the application speeds were 1.6, 3.2 and 4.8 km h-1. The plant responses evaluated were plant injury and fresh weight at 7 days after treatment (DAT). All plant species were more susceptible to flaming during the afternoon when they had lower leaf RWC at 8 HAS; however, the response of these plants did not differ with the plants flamed at 12 HAS. Green foxtail flamed at 87 kg ha-1 at 0, 8 and 12 HAS had injury of 62, 76 and 82%, respectively. The same response was observed in velvetleaf which had 80% injury when flamed with 87 kg ha-1 at 0 HAS and 93% injury when flamed at 12 HAS with the same propane dose at 7 DAT. Similar trends occurred for maize and soybean suggesting that leaf RWC could be one of the factors affecting plant response to flaming. Practical implication is that flaming operation should be conducted in the afternoon in order to improve efficacy of weed control and reduce propane consumption rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalCrop Protection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Dose-response curves
  • Non-chemical weed control
  • Organic weed control
  • Relative leaf water content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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