A revolutionary weapon has appeared when it comes to attacking weeds. Its name: Foamstream. The manufacturer Weedingtech has had the need for non-chemical weed control on its radar since the 1990s, pre-empting the ever-increasing legislation surrounding this debate.
Foamstream is not new – it won the award for Best New Product or Innovation at LAMMA* 2012 and the award for Design & Supply of Amenities at Edge** 2012. However, its groundbreaking design is spreading internationally, gaining renown in the UK, and looks like it could break into the horticultural market one day. Now really is Foamstream’s time to shine, thanks to the twin swords of the Plant Protection Products (Sustainable Use) Regulations of 2012 and growing public pressure to “go green”.
The theory behind Foamstream
What’s so revolutionary about this new weedkiller then? Weedingtech have developed a balanced combination of hot water and patented, biodegradable foam which hits weeds hard.
Some of you may be shouting out Right, but hot water weed eradication has existed for years! This is true, but Foamstream undercuts them both in efficiency and cost effectiveness.
The product works in three distinctive ways:
- The foam acts as a “thermal blanket”, preserving the high temperatures of the hot water it flows alongside. What’s more, this blanket is too heavy to blow away in the wind, and proves harmless around waterways
- This foam also contains a “wetting agent”, allowing heat to pass through the waxy exterior of plants more readily. More cell walls rupture as a result
- Weedingtech’s lance ensures precise application of Foamstream, dramatically limiting damage to surrounding vegetation
Thanks to the foam’s heat-retaining properties, Foamstream is 50% more effective than hot water treatments. You only need to apply it 2-3 times, compared to the standard 4-5 treatments. Canadian company TurfCare say Foamstream has a 95% average kill rate, in comparison to just 60% from the most effective alternative methods. The product also succeeds in eradicating moss and algae after just one application – apparently the best treatment out there!
Even invasive species such as Crassula have been successfully removed through Foamstream use.
The fact that the product requires half the usual number of treatments renders it more time and cost effective. In addition, the MW-series equipment needed consumes less fuel. The foam doesn’t need pressurised storage – both money- and space-saving. And if these points didn’t convince you enough, how about the fact it can be applied in any weather condition, so no delay in scalding your weeds away! If it’s raining, the product won’t simply wash away
Is it really environmentally-friendly?
The European Commission waxes lyrical about Foamstream’s eco warrior status here. Furthermore, the Chemicals Regulation Directorate has cleared the product as organic and safe.
Weedingtech makes it clear in text and infographic where their product comes from. It consists of ‘natural and sustainable…oils and sugars’. They derive from plants such as potatoes and wheat. A small quantity of palm oil goes into it at present, but this is sustainably sourced.
Clearing the way into the future?
Despite these remarkable qualities, one huge problem seems to stand in the way of Foamstream’s dominance of the weedkiller market.
You can only apply Foamstream via Weedingtech’s MW-Series equipment. The lance is a vital component and shouldn’t be undervalued. It allows for the accurate employment of the treatment, ensuring prized plants don’t wilt away in the process. Additionally, Weedingtech offers half-day training with experts, and after that, you’re fully competent. Even if purchasing the equipment were a problem, local distributors offer rental.
No, the real issue is the sheer size of the equipment. It must be fitted to the back of a vehicle such as a transit van. When the tanks are full, they weigh 650kg, plus they measure almost 1.5m in height! You see, we won’t be heading out into our gardens with our handheld or even backpack-mounted applicators, at least not yet.
While Weedingtech has provided a real, “green” lifeline to the water and amenity industries, it can’t yet do the same for garden owners, designers or maintenance crews. Foamstream may be useful for clearing motorways, schoolyards and sewerage works of unwanted weeds. Unfortunately for now, the rest of us must rely on our hand trowels and forks.
*’The UK’s leading farm machinery, equipment and services show’
**Expo Demo Green Europe
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