Wetland reserve opts for hot water weed control

WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre has become the first reserve in the country to buy the Cardley Wave hot water weed control system.

The Cardley-Wave system at work. Image: Supplied
The Cardley-Wave system at work. Image: Supplied

Reserve manager Tom Clare said: "I am absolutely delighted that WWT are leading the way in controlling invasive species through this method. The hot water system can be applied accurately and the heat penetrates the root of the weed, killing it in a way that has no negative impact on our water, environment, staff or wildlife."

The systems are widely used across Europe but WWT Martin Mere has been the first nature reserve in England to use the product, which sprays hot water on weeds and mosses to kill them organically. The water pressure can also be adjusted to remove chewing gum and most graffiti.

Aberdeen City Council was the first UK local authority to purchase a machine outright after trial hiring the unit for just one month. The company said many more councils, contractors and utility companies have now purchased machines.

Clare added: "At Martin Mere we have to control invasive species such as crassula and rosebay willowherb as well as nettles, moss and creeping thistle. As a result of human activities and changes in climatic regimes, species are being introduced to and colonising new areas around the world more rapidly than ever before.

"These species are termed ‘Invasive Non-Native Species’, and wetlands are particularly severely affected. This new equipment will ensure we can control these with no ill-effects to the environment."

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in general had been searching for a viable alternative to conventional chemical weed controls for some time, including trialling a hot foam machine.

The Cardley-Wave Mid-Series 22/8 was eventually chosen, with a 45m hose and drain jetting attachment. A suction pump attachment allows replenishment to the water tank from surrounding water sources when required, which was particularly useful to the team.

The pump facility can also be used in and around the Wetlands Centre to help fight flooding - a 500l tank can be filled within two minutes.

The method is in line with a European Union directive which states that countries must keep
herbicide and pesticides usage to levels which "reduce or minimise the risks to human health
or the environment".

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