As chemical weed control in cities, on traffic routes and particularly on hard surfaces is practically banned since 2017, currently the only remaining approaches are thermic and mechanical methods. For all their diversity, both have in common that they hardly ever penetrate the soil and ultimately only kill off the plant leaves. Their aim is to starve the roots more or less quickly, depending on the plant species, and this way cause die-off. Contrary to the chemical approach, this non-systemic and hardly selective effect demands a relatively high frequency of treatment, particularly if the plants were able to collect solar energy in subterranean organs over a longer period of time which would enable them to regrow.
In contrast, the Electroherb system, tried and tested in Brazil and now introduced in Europe by zasso, offers yet again a systemic approach, by entering the leaves of the plant and then destructively spreading right down into the roots, similar to for example Glyphosate. The difference being that there is no chemistry involved at all, because the Electroherb method employs electric high energy instead.
Fig. from l. to r.: 1. Dark-green, damaged leaves 5 minutes after treatment. 2. Grass turned brown and dry after 24 hours. 3. Recolonization after eight weeks only in areas where invasive grass can enter. 4. Establishment of herbaceous flowering plants as there is no competition from grass, creating a superior food supply for insects.
The electroweeding process works as follows: If (and only if!) an electric applicator touches a plant, many cells in the leave are already destroyed straight away, like blanching, but without a lot of heat; the leaves then initially discolor to dark-green (so-called “wet clothes effect”) and all released cell sap is quickly drying out. At the same time the electrical field destroys the electronically charged chlorophyll molecules, which turns the plants yellow-brown. The current spreads through the water and nutrition transport system within the stems and roots and destroys these systems within seconds. As the dried-out plants remain in place and shades the soil. New plants will have a hard time settling in, just like with chemical herbicide treatment, and depending on soil and climate conditions this will take between 30 and 120 days. If necessary, the plant material can be removed and disposed off mechanically right after extermination. In contrast to chemical treatments this is possible without losing any effectiveness on the root system.
With the energy generated from 1 liter of diesel, around 15 000 to 150 000 plants can be eradicated, depending on their size and the soil conditions.