We. Freeze. Weeds.

Crownover Green has added a "cool" new tool called Frostbite to our organic weed killing arsenal for 2014. The Frostbite Natural Weed Control System uses a blast of dry ice to kill weeds with no residual chemicals and no adverse health effects.

The Frostbite weed control device used by Crownover Green.

The system is basically a spray gun with a rigid plastic cone on the end of it, and it is connected with a hose to a cylinder containing liquid CO2, which is carried either in a backpack or on a cart.

Frostbite was invented by Rob Howerton, who happens to be a North Carolinian, and its effectiveness has been tested at North Carolina State University. Turfgrass can withstand the freeze from the dry ice, but many weeds succumb to a one second blast at -70 degrees Fahrenheit. Fescue grass is virtually unaffected by the freeze. Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass will temporarily return to dormancy (turn brown) at the spot of the weed, but this is no more damaging than chemical herbicides.

We leased the Frostbite system during the summer of 2013 for a 30 day trial period. It is not a perfect system. It doesn't kill every weed. Plus, the entire system was cumbersome, and the 50-pound CO2 cylinders are very heavy to carry in a backpack. We will avoid this as much as possible in 2014 by using a golf bag cart to wheel the tank around clients' lawns. Additionally, the new device that we purchased is lighter and more svelte than the prototype that we tested.

New Frostbite device on left and old prototype on the right

We decided that the Frostbite system will be a good complement to our current weed killing methods--pulling and spraying--because it kills a couple of weeds that are difficult to pull and resistant to our safer herbicides.

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