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SPUMA prevailed over hot water

With a mission not to use chemicals, the Norwegian landscape gardening company Svein Boasson AS had to admit that nothing works quite as well as SPUMA, if you still want to get completely rid of the weeds.

By Anne Vegeberg Hansen

It is not without importance what type of thermal weed treatment you resort to when you want to avoid pesticides. That was the conclusion, which Svein Boasson AS had to acknowledge after the Norwegian landscape gardener back in 2018 had only achieved mediocre results with hot water treatment of the unwanted sprouts.

But then the bought a SPUMA:

“We tried different machines, and I think we had SPUMA for a week or two – and it worked perfectly,” says Christer Andersen, project engineer at Svein Boasson AS.

In the name of sustainability

For years, the landscape gardener has had a goal of being sustainable and avoiding the use of chemicals. The company had thus tried more traditional hot water treatments of weeds for a number of years. But all too often, the results varied.

The hot water was rapidly cooled when it hit the ground, and the ambient temperature also had too great an impact on the result and the time spent controlling the temperature.

Portrait of Christer Andersen from Svein Boasson A/S
“It (SPUMA, ed.) works even against invasive species and in many cases at least as well and quickly as chemicals. In addition, with SPUMA you can be sure that what you kill is only what you see. There are no hidden particles or sprouts that risk being damaged besides the unwanted seeds from the weeds in the upper soil layer, “says Christer Andersen from the landscape gardener Svein Boasson AS. Credit: Svein Boasson AS

“Cold water runoff also served as food for existing weeds and seed capsules. During dry periods, we discovered that shortly after treatment, it began to sprout again around the treated area,” adds Crister Andersen.

However, this has not been the case with SPUMA as Svein Boasson AS not only experienced better results, but also more lasting results with a need for fewer treatments of an area the year after the first round of SPUMA.

A higher level

Christer Andersen thus considers SPUMA to be a system that takes thermal weed control with the use of hot water a step further from the traditional suppliers of hot water solutions.

“I think it is especially the combination of the foam and then the correct hot water temperature that makes the difference. The foam ensures that the temperature in the water is maintained longer. The precise high temperature causes the cell structure in the weeds to die or weaken immediately. The weed seeds also lose the ability to grow. It gives very satisfactory results,” says the project engineer at Svein Boasson AS.

Grass has grown up between the cobblestones, where one half is treated with SPUMA, while the other half is treated with traditional hot water. The grass is completely gone between the cobblestones where SPUMA has been used.
Svein Boasson AS first tried more traditional hot water treatments of a cobblestone coating, where grass and weeds had grown up between the stones. Then they tried SPUMA on part of the coating (upper part of the image). The result speaks for itself. Credit: Svein Boasson AS

The foam also has the added benefit of being more easy to see. Hence, making is easier to see how far one has come with a treatment of SPUMA, explains Christer Andersen. Unlike traditional hot water methods, where they could often have doubts about whether an area had been treated:

“When it came to treating larger areas, it was difficult for our operators to see which parts had been treated, because it is often wet on the ground here in the north of Bergen,” explains Christer Andersen.

A female employee from the landscape gardener Svein Boasson A / S spreads the thermal pesticide SPUMA over some cobblestones.
The Norwegian landscape gardening company Svein Boasson AS uses SPUMA to control weeds at private landowners as well as public authorities. Especially on concrete, gravel roads, and stone pavements, it works well, the company concludes. Credit: Svein Boasson AS

A very useful machine

Christer Andersen also estimates that SPUMA in general is easier to operate, as the machine is built together in such a way that you only have to switch it on and use 3-4 buttons to ensure optimal treatment. In addition, it should be mentioned that the machine can be used for other purposes than laying out SPUMA.

Svein Boasson AS also uses it for cleaning ports during the winter:

“We use the machine most of the year, and it is every day for typically up to 16 hours a day. And we use it on all kinds of surfaces – not just to get rid of weeds. Even on rooftops where it manages to keep the pressure, even though we reached 10 meters up. I think that is pretty cool,” says Christer Andersen.

Want to learn more about SPUMA?

SPUMA is a thermal method within weed control developed in a collaboration between NCC Roads and Aquila Triventek more than 20 years ago.

Hot water with a very precise temperature control combined with an insulating layer of foam – consisting of plant sugar and starch – is laid over the weeds, which are affected by the heat for up to five minutes. The precise and high temperature destroys the cell structure of the plant, while the root and the plant dry out immediately.

At the same time, the long-term effect of the foam helps prevent seeds in the upper soil layers from germinating and spreading. The insulating layer of foam also manages to cover all surfaces of the weeds, making it easier to control the treatment compared to other thermal control methods.

SPUMA is 100 percent free of pesticides, without fire hazard and ensures up to 100 weed-free days after one treatment.


Torben Andreasen

CEO T: +45 20 48 86 90 M: ta@aquila.dk