Is Satusteam™ A Paradigm Shift?
There’s a reason why Rachel Carson dedicated four chapters about pesticide poisoning in her influential book Silent Spring published in 1962. They affect human health in the worst ways imaginable.
Pesticides, including herbicides for weed control, continue to be used in increasing varieties and quantities. Also, the threat to human health and our whole ecosystem is a critical stage in the challenge humanity faces with the change to our climate and the relentless extinction of species. New sustainable alternatives to the use of pesticides are available. Satusteam™ is one of them.
This article will look at how traditional chemical herbicides cause serious health issues and what makes Satusteam™ a shift in the way we think of herbicides and weed control.
Traditional Methods of Weed Control
Efforts in weed control started with the use of chemicals like glyphosate and dicamba. Glyphosate belongs to a group of compounds known as organophosphates. This chemical can kill annual broadleaf weeds that compete with crops by inhibiting several plant enzymes.
On the other hand, dicamba is an aromatic compound traditionally used as a herbicide. Its primary applications include weed control for crops and pastures. Dicamba is very effective against perennial broadleaf weeds like brushes and bracken.
Read this from Department of primary industries and regional development on controlling small weeds.
Detrimental Effects of Using Chemical Herbicides
Glyphosate and dicamba still remain as the most used herbicide nowadays. However, many don’t realize the adverse effects these chemicals have on humans, plants, and animals.
Glyphosate and dicamba persist in the environment long after serving their purpose. Despite being marketed as only damaging to weeds, researchers have found that these chemicals remain in the soil and can make their way into the water table, as well as run off hard surfaces to contaminate waterways. They may also accumulate over time and cause severe health issues to any living being that consumes them.
Once digested, these chemicals disrupt the natural gut flora. When this happens, the body may find it difficult to filter out toxins, and thus, the immune system will suffer.
When the immune system is compromised, a lot of health problems will occur. For instance, it may cause what we know of as Western dietary-related diseases such as obesity, cancer, and autism. All those diseases are related to diet, and we can trace that food consumption back to weed control used in food production.
Moving Away From Chemical Herbicides
The shift from using chemical herbicides to sustainable weed controls traces back to Europe. With the high population density and water contamination, Europe initiated a move towards non-chemical weed control in the urban areas.
This European initiative spread worldwide and raised awareness that we can’t keep putting chemicals on the ground. People also started to realise the value of ‘organic’ foods and how moving away from chemical herbicides can alleviate the overwhelming problems of these dangerous chemicals.
Satusteam™ was born out of the initiative to find sustainable alternatives to chemicals such as glyphosates and dicamba used in the urban environment for weed control on footpaths, kerbs, gutters, playgrounds etc . It evolved from the idea of using steam to destroy weeds and protect people from unnecessary exposure to chemicals.
The Usage of Steam
The use of steam in weed control began during the 1920s. Back then, people used steam to control weeds in the New South Wales railways. The locomotive at the front released steam and pushed it out into a steam bar at the front of the train, insulating the heat in with a strong hessian mat across the railway to control the weeds along the tracks..
These people even patented this method, and a lot of people noticed its effectiveness. That is, of course, before the advent of using chemicals for weed control.
How Satustream Works
The idea behind Satusteam™ started when the Managing Director and CEO Jeremy Winer was running his landscaping company called Marsupial Landscapes. HIs landscaping company was at the forefront of promoting organic landscape practices in the early 1990’s, such as the use of recycled urban tree waste as mulch, which was processed by the innovative landscape supply company Australian Native Landscapes.
In 1995, Jeremy Winer turned his attention to trying to create a way to kill weeds using steam. With an engineer in a garage in Marrickville the first Steamwand was made. This allowed Marsupial Landscapes to win a non chemical weed control contract with Leichhardt Council in Sydney in 1998. Through various developments and evolutions in the technology, Jeremy and his team, Karen Muir, Dave Parkin and Phil Muston, developed the apparatus and techniques to use their non-chemical weed control, now known as Satusteam™.
Satusteam™ works by superheating the water and depressurizing it in a patented nozzle chamber. The steam gets delivered into the weeds as a mixture of saturated steam and boiling water.
The high temperature causes the weed cells to explode. This process wilts the weeds, and therefore, kills them. Satusteam™ can kill soft wooded, perennial weeds effectively. It’s effective on woody weeds as a secondary treatment to control regrowth and seed bank germination.
Under normal applications, Satusteam won’t penetrate the root system, so it’s safe for horticultural plants. To dig deeper into the root system, you must increase the exposure time to the Satusteam.
A steam spike system that heats the entire rhizosphere can be used to penetrate the root system of these weeds. The steam spike system works well for weed outbreaks or regrowths.
Aside from horticulture, Satusteam™ is also very effective for weed control in any location: footpaths, cracks, pavements, playgrounds, and even along school fences.
In addition, Satusteam™ can also be used for outdoor cleaning and sanitation. You can even remove gums stuck on walls or floors! It’s excellent in removing biofilms, mosses, algae and cleaning outdoor furniture without the abrasions caused by high pressure.
The uses of Satusteam™ don’t end with it being used for weed control. It also promotes healthy soil activity by increasing soil nutrients.
When the soft leaf vegetation cells explode, the remaining vegetation is not removed from the ground. The remnants of the weed will be left to increase the organic matter present in the soil, and that organic matter becomes humus.
When the cells explode, microorganisms present in the soil will break down the organic matter and enrich the nutrients present in the soil. Not only will Satusteam™ kill the weeds, but it also improves the quality of the soil.
Satusteam™ makes it a point not to raise the temperature of the soil more than what the microorganisms can handle. Satusteam™ works by destroying the weeds and serving a hot lunch for these microorganisms.
Satusteam™ serves as a great example of how we should change the way we think about herbicides. It’s 100% natural and safe for riparian areas, aquatic life, pollinators, herbivores, plants, and humans. You can even drink the water you use to destroy these weeds!
Indeed, Satusteam™ is a shift in the paradigm of using detrimental chemicals for weed control.
Jeremy Winer has 30 years of practical experience in implementing integrated holistic approach to weed management across urban landscapes, recreational parklands and wetlands. He currently runs Weedtechnics specialising in providing chemical reduction and non-toxic weed control programs to municipalities across Australia. He has developed, patented, manufactured, and commercialised the Steamwand method of creating saturated steam for vegetation control.
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