By Diane Del Toro
Last fall, I pulled out a row of oleanders in my backyard. When I was finished, there was a wide swath of empty ground. “It’s perfect for a small flower garden in the spring,” I thought. But within no time at all, weeds had overwhelmed and completely filled the empty patch of land. I had not planned on removing one eyesore only to have another spring up to take its place. Weeds have no boundaries when new territory opens up, and if given the chance, they will grow where they are not wanted, competing with cultivated plants for water, air, and sunlight. Isn’t this what designates them as weeds? They are nothing if not opportunistic!
Of course, a chemical herbicide could have taken down the weeds in no time at all. These types of products, used to control and kill weeds in flower beds, crops, gardens, and lawns, were considered a godsend when they were first introduced in the 1940s, almost doing away with the backbreaking chore of pulling weeds by hand. Recently, however, the use of chemical herbicides for both commercial and private use has been harshly criticized. Herbicide manufacturers are now embroiled in controversy (and lawsuits) as both the public and the private sectors begin to understand the negative and long-lasting effects these products have on people, animals, and the environment.
In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that glyphosate (the active ingredient in a popular chemical herbicide) was a probable cause of cancer in humans. In 2017, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment added glyphosate to its list of chemicals known to cause cancer. And in 2016, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers, analyzing samples from a prospective study, determined that human exposure to glyphosate has increased approximately 500 percent since the introduction of genetically modified crops; seventy of the one hundred people participating in the study had detectable levels of glyphosate in their urine.
Average consumers are left perplexed and confused as to whether they should continue using glyphosate and other chemical herbicides or find an alternative method of weed control. However, before using chemical herbicides for personal or public use, consider the following risks of chemical weed control:
- Resistance to herbicides. Repeated applications of herbicides over time causes the evolution of many resistant weed species. This results in an increase in the number of applications necessary to kill weeds.
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals. All chemical herbicides are toxins. Repeated exposure can lead to a buildup of glyphosate or other chemicals in the body.
- Damage to surrounding foliage and plants by overspraying. Chemical weed killers sprayed in even a slight breeze can damage or kill desirable vegetation and horticultural crops. Over-spraying can also contaminate nearby waterways.
- Disregard for public safety. Freshly-sprayed herbicides create a hazard to people and animals who access a newly-sprayed area. Vapours released while spraying the herbicide can cause sickness in chemically-sensitive people and animals.
- Contamination of storm and potable water. Chemical weed killers translocate easily from paved surfaces and other chemically-treated areas and can contaminate groundwater, streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes. Removing these chemicals from drinking water can be expensive.
- Contamination of the ecosystem. Most commonly used weed killers have the potential to damage the habitats of sensitive populations. Bees and butterflies, essential to pollination, are especially susceptible to the negative effects of herbicides.
- Contamination of the soil. Chemicals from herbicides have been shown to kill soil microbes and bind nutrients creating additional costs in soil remediation and fertilization.
- Deterioration of public trust. The use of chemical herbicides by organizations and municipalities undermines their environmental, safety, and sustainability commitments to the public.
It is clear the chemical herbicides can pose a risk to people and to the environment, but nobody wants to go back to the days when keeping gardens, farms, sidewalks, and streets weed free meant long hours of manual labor. Thankfully, there is a safer, more effective alternative to chemical herbicides that has been used very successfully in Australia and Europe for over twenty years but is relatively new in the United States: hydro-thermal technology.
What is hydro-thermal technology?
It is the use of saturated steam heated to a temperature of 200–250 degrees fahrenheit and delivered through a specialized machine and wand to kill weeds effectively and safely without the use of chemicals. Home owners, hospitals, schools, local governments, and municipalities in the United States and across the world are using hydro-thermal technology to diminish weed growth while eliminating the harm to the environment, animals, and people by the use of chemical herbicides. Even large-scale organic vegetable and fruit farmers, vineyards, and orchards have had success using this method. Luckily, the southern Utah area has access to this environmentally-friendly hydro-thermal technology for killing weeds. Weedsteam St. George, owned by Mike Feuerstein and Nick Mckinlay, is offering this organic weed control service to municipalities, businesses, and residents in southern Utah and the surrounding communities.
Who is Weedsteam and what services do they provide? Weedsteam is a non-toxic, chemical-free organic weed control company that uses satusteam technology to control and eliminate weeds. Founded in 2018 and currently operating in Colorado, northern Utah, Hawaii, and southern Utah, it is a long-term weed control solution that protects the environment and helps ecosystems return to their proper state, eliminating super-weeds that become chemically resistant. “I wanted to feel good about providing a service to the community that would also have a positive impact on the environment,” said Feuerstein. “Weedsteam fulfills both of these goals by delivering a lethal temperature of steam to weeds that is perfectly safe.”
Weedsteam is the perfect solution for municipalities, government agencies, HOAs, water reserve systems, and businesses who are trying to preserve and protect the environment, ensure a safe work environment for their employees and patrons, and maintain chemical-free and weed-free recreational facilities and landscapes for public use. Weedsteam’s hydro-technology method for killing weeds can be used on commercial and public building sites, public playgrounds, parking lots, city and government flood and fire restoration sites, and more.
Weedsteam also serves private homeowners who want to reduce their impact on the environment, keep pastures and yards safe for children and animals, and create a more healthy environment for their families. “I’m thrilled to find a natural alternative to herbicides,” said Weedsteam customer, Helen Parker. “I don’t have to worry about my dogs on the grass anymore.” Marci Tipper, another Weedsteam customer, also voiced her enthusiasm. “I have been concerned about having my horse pasture sprayed with RoundUp® to control the thistle and hounds tongue. Now I don’t have to (worry),” she said. “The WeedSteam technology targets undesirable weeds and plants but does not harm desirable plants,” explained Feuerstein. “It destroys weeds quickly and effectively, exploding the plant cells right down to the root. It can be used year round in any weather condition without the fear of contaminating the air or nearby areas.”
“Our vision is to be an instrument for good and positive change,” said Weedsteam Inc. co-founder, Robin Proctor. “We are passionate about reducing the use of dangerous chemicals in the world, and we have a revolutionary way of doing this. Killing weeds with steam is so exciting to us; we hope it moves others to want to join us.” Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” With the current heightened awareness of environmental safety, governments, leaders, groups, and individuals are searching for—and finding— strategies that will help them do their part in maintaining environmental sustainability. WeedSteam offers an innovative and beneficial way for everyone to do just that.
What are the advantages of using WeedSteam?
- It is eco-friendly and uses no toxic or harmful chemicals.
- It does not destroy the soil structure or leave a mess.
- It kills most root systems and seeds.
- It depletes the seedbank; next-year’s seeds are destroyed this year.
- It is significantly faster than hand weeding and other environmentally-safe methods for killing or removing weeds.
- It poses no threat to humans, animals, waterways, or vegetation.
- It helps businesses and government leaders improve public perception and creates positive media exposure.
- It provides safe accessibility to treated areas immediately.
For more information, to get a quote, or to schedule an appointment with Weedsteam St. George, call (435) 817-8326 or go to weedsteamstgeorge.com.