Quick questions and answers on Satusteam™ [FAQ]

Welcome

to our hippodrome of frequently answered questions

We have assisted hundreds of customers move away from weed control chemicals. They include local government organisations and municipalities, unified schools districts, schools, campuses, airports, hospitals, child care centers and water utilities in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. We are trusted by many horticultural producers who are either organic or just choosing to minimise chemical inputs on their soil. These include lavender, peonies, alstroemeria, dahlias, truffles, hops, blueberries and other specialist organic producers.

Yes, the best time to treat weeds with Satusteam© is as soon as you take delivery of your machine. Once you are up and running and can plan a seasonal program commence the first treatment of the season soon after germination. This will give you the most bang for your buck and a thorough kill.

Put simply, for hydro-thermal weeding to be commercially viable, temperatures need to be greater than 98° Celsius, (205°F) and must have rapid transfer into the plant cells. Propane flame and non-saturated steam is less efficient at transferring destructive heat into the vegetation. Hot water will do the job; but is much slower and uses a lot more energy. Foaming agents add effect to hot water but also increase costs unnecessarily.


Satusteam© gets the job done at lower cost than other thermal weed control methods. That’s what we want for our clients.

No damage to soil structure. No mess. Satusteam©, our unique mixture of saturated steam and boiling water is delivered at just 60 psi. It thoroughly coats the vegetation and does not disturb your mulch; compact your soil or spray residue onto adjacent surfaces, such as walls and pathways.

With Satusteam©, you can commence vegetation management earlier in spring, at first germination.  The unique combination of saturated steam and boiling water, that we call Satusteam©, destroys young weeds on contact. There is a noticeable control of the seed bank. Seeds will be denatured and die; or be germinated and sprout to be destroyed in the next treatment, this season.  You’ll experience the satisfaction of less weed pressure from 1 year to the next.


The combination of adding heat and water to the soil surface germinates some species in the seed bank.


Seeds react differently. Some species of seeds can’t tolerate the heat and are denatured, they die and decay in the soil, whilst others love it, as it splits the hard seed coat and allows their first embryonic roots and shoots to emerge. Either way, it’s a bonus. The bonus is that we can now deplete the seed bank. We can control the next generation of weeds without harsh pre-emergent toxins.

During the usual weed control operation with Satusteam© there is not a great deal of penetration into the soil root zone, which makes it safe to use around the plants you are trying to protect. The treatments do ultimately affect the weed roots though.


Our Satusteam delivery is at a volume which achieves penetration into the meristematic growth point of the weeds, the crown, which is usually just a few mm below the surface. Penetration into the crown will either kill the weed outright or delay its regrowth response.


Destroying the above-ground portion of the plant forces the biological process of the weed to use the store of energy in its roots to regenerate the above-ground portion of the plant starting from the crown. The root system diminishes until the plant has enough leaf growth to photosynthesise and generate enough sugars, starches, proteins etc to regrow leaf, stem and roots. Subsequent treatments of Satusteam™, delivered before the plant has regenerated its root system, will eliminate the weed.


For situations where we want to achieve a cooking of the deeper root system, such as with bulbous, corm or large tap rooted weeds, we have developed a Satusteam™ spike. This allows for the operator to inject Satusteam™ into the soil profile. The initial heat starts the cooking process of the thicker roots, bulbs and corms and then the residual heat retained by the soil will continue the cooking process for some time after treatment.


The Satusteam™ spike process allows for the control of tenacious weeds in selected areas. As it heats the soil up 100C to 20cm deep, any other life and plant roots in the treated zone will also be cooked. This cooked organic matter will become food for soil life which will migrate into the area as soon as the temperature returns to normal.


Independent research on effects of steam for weed control in prepared vegetable beds, showed that populations of beneficial fungi and bacteria returned within 48 hours. The only thing that Satusteam Treatment leaves in the soil is moisture and cooked organic matter.


Areas we recommend the use of the Satusteam spike include garden beds invaded with nutsedge or onion weed, tap rooted weeds in grass and lawns, bulbous weeds such as gladioli and canna lilly. Caution should be used when working in the root zone of desirable trees and shrubs, as they can tolerate only partial damage to their roots. In these situations, only treat portions of the area at a time.

The cost of our SW Satusteam© range varies depending on operational output and the type and quantity of applicator heads required. Prices start at $17,000 and can range up to $48,000.

Our saturated steam provides rapid penetration and transfer of heat to any vegetation, which the applicator heads pass over. It is non-selective on any organisms. A benefit of our economical use of saturated steam and boiling water is that it does not penetrate more than about a ¼”, 5mm, into the soil. This has a great effect on the crowns of weed species but the little effect and no lasting impact on either the roots of your perennial crops, trees, vines etc or your important soil organisms. Earthworms tend to be found lower down in the soil profile unless there are very wet surface conditions. Our observation is that the destroyed weeds quickly become detritus providing food for a rapid repopulation of soil organisms which helps builds a humus layer in your soil.


To kill most plant pathogens and beneficial microbes such as Rhizobium bacteria and mycorrhizal populations the soil temperature must be “raised and held at between 60 – 80ºC for 30 minutes.” ( KA Hendreck & N. Black (1994 Revised Edition) Growing Media for Ornamental Plants and Turf. Randwick: University of NSW Press.) With our SW Satusteam©, weed control on average only the top ¼”, 5mm of the soil directly under the head is heated for only a couple of minutes.

The machines are manufactured to our specifications in California. The proprietary nozzles and heads are manufactured in Australia.

We have a network of service agents to match our distribution. Most problems can be solved with troubleshooting guidance over the telephone. Purchasers receive a detailed 12-month warranty with their Sales enquiry package.

The Green Ninja Stealth- electric and diesel model is the smallest machine. It’s 160kg and measures 101cm wide x 104cm high x 69cm deep – (352.7 lbs - 39.5” x 41” x 27”)  so it’s not tiny, but it’s deadly to weeds. It is on wheels, though we suggest keeping your Ninja in it’s chariot and making use of a 90-100 metre hose – so about an 180m radius around your ute or trailer.


Technology would have to change dramatically for us to be able to pack a similar punch into a much smaller machine. Maybe one day.

A backpack version poses some considerable design challenges. Technology would have to change dramatically for us to be able to pack a similar punch into a much smaller machine. Maybe one day

Satusteam© is suitable for many residential applications. Our machines are professional machines, built to last and designed for constant use by contractors. The work that a Satusteam contractor can achieve in weeding is 3-5 times faster than hand weeding.


Increasingly across Australia, NZ and some states of the USA and Canada contractors are operating; so there may be a contractor near you. Click here to visit our Weedtechnics contractors list.

Repeated applications have proved that our SW Satusteam© range does not affect black plastic or any other weed control membranes.

Repeated applications have proved that our Satusteam© range does not affect any type of irrigation system with heat. Mechanical damage can be caused in certain circumstances, but the incidence is rare. We can assess your situation initially, by just emailing us a photo. Need more advice? Please contact us by email or call our office.

We have not found any soft wooded annual or perennial weed that is resistant to a good dose of our saturated steam and boiling water; however there are many variable factors to consider when we help you design your weed management strategy.


For example, are the weeds annuals or perennials? What stage in the growth cycle is the weed? Do they have deep rhizomes, bulbs or corms?


Treated at the right time, annuals can be eradicated after one treatment; though perennials such as Bermuda grass (couch) kikuyu and dandelions require a programmed approach

We have assisted hundreds of customers move away from weed control chemicals. They include local government organisations and municipalities, unified schools districts, schools, campuses, airports, hospitals, child care centers and water utilities in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. We are trusted by many horticultural producers who are either organic or just choosing to minimise chemical inputs on their soil. These include lavender, peonies, alstroemeria, dahlias, truffles, hops, blueberries and other specialist organic producers.

Yes, the best time to treat weeds with saturated steam and boiling water is soon after germination. This will give you the most bang for your buck and a thorough kill, however you can treat at any time of the life cycle but the speed of application will vary. Check out our video for a practical demonstration (and yes, it was uploaded to YouTube by a client in 2010):

Put simply, for hydro-thermal weeding to be commercial viable, temperatures need to be greater than 98° Celsius, (205°F) and must have rapid transfer into the plant cells. Propane flame and non-saturated steam is less efficient at transferring destructive heat into the vegetation and hot water will do the job but is much slower and uses a lot more energy. You can rely on our SW range to superheat the water and deliver saturated steam at 98-103°C, 205-218°F to destroy your weeds quickly and effectively.

Satusteam™ does not heat the soil during normal weed control application. It cooks the surface vegetation of the weeds. Penetration is about 5mm into the soil. Repeat treatments are required to contain invasive weeds - usually at 4-6 weeks intervals. We do have different kinds of applicator heads, designed and developed to solve specific weeding challenges.

Studies have shown that Satusteam™ is actually beneficial for microbial activity - in fact, it increases because of the decay of the freshly cooked vegetation!

With Satusteam, you can commence vegetation management earlier in spring, at first germination. The heat and water destroy young weeds on contact. There is a noticeable control of the seed bank. Seeds will be denatured and die, or be germinated and sprout to be killed this year – not next.

Weeding with boiling water is that the combination of adding heat and water to the soil surface germinates some species in a seed bank. Some species of seeds can’t tolerate the heat and are de-natured, they die and decay in the soil, whilst others love it, as it splits the hard seed coat and allows their first embryonic roots and shoots to emerge. Either way, it’s a bonus. It’s a bonus because we can now deplete the seed bank which means that we can control next year’s weeds this year.

Subsequent treatments of Satusteam™, delivered before the plant has regenerated its root zone, will eliminate the weed.

With enough volume, there is some penetration into the meristematic growth points, where the root zone becomes stem, which will either kill the weed outright or delay its regrowth response.

Destroying the above-ground portion of the plant forces the biological process of the weed to use the store of energy in its roots to regenerate the above-ground portion of the plant. The root zone diminishes until the plant has enough leaf growth to photosynthesise and generate enough sugars, starches, proteins etc to regrow leaf, stem and roots.

Local governments and municipalities in the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, as well as a variety of organic farmers, varying from vineyards, orchards to aloe vera and other specialist organic producers. Equestrian and properties with other animals also love our toxin-free weeding solutions.

Our saturated steam provides rapid penetration and transfer of heat to any vegetation which the applicator heads pass over. It is non-selective on any organisms. A benefit of our economical use of saturated steam and boiling water is that it does not penetrate more than about a ¼”, 5mm, into the soil. This has a great effect on the crowns of weed species but the little effect and no lasting impact on either the roots of your perennial crops, trees, vines etc or your important soil organisms. Earthworms tend to be found lower down in the soil profile unless there are very wet surface conditions. Our observation is that the destroyed weeds quickly become detritus providing food for a rapid repopulation of soil organisms which helps builds a humus layer in your soil.

To kill most plant pathogens and beneficial microbes such as Rhizobium bacteria and mycorrhizal populations the soil temperature must be “raised and held at between 60 – 80ºC for 30 minutes.” ( KA Hendreck & N. Black (1994 Revised Edition) Growing Media for Ornamental Plants and Turf. Randwick: University of NSW Press.) With our SW weed control on average only the top ¼”, 5mm of the soil directly under the head is heated for a couple of minutes.

The Weedtechnics Satusteam™ machines are manufactured to our specifications in California, USA. The proprietary nozzles and heads are manufactured in Australia.

We have not found any soft wooded annual or perennial weed that is resistant to a good dose of our Satusteam™. However, there are many variable factors to consider when we help you design your weed management strategy. For example, are the weeds annuals or perennials, what stage in the growth cycle is the weed, do they have deep rhizomes, bulbs or corms? Treated at the right time annuals can be eradicated after one treatment and perennials such as, Bermuda grass (couch) Kikuyu, Dandelions require a programmed approach.

Satusteam™ started hepling people transition into holistic weed control from mechanical (whipper snippers), manual (nad weeding), thermal (flaming) or chemical weed control since 2004. Satusteam™ is our patented organic weed control technology.