FreedomWeeder: Product Review
A novel new idea for dispensing herbicides and fertilizers.
Ever wish you had a weed remover/killer that can use both organic and synthetic weed killers, requires no bending over, is safer to use on windy days, is non-pressurized, and requires no lugging around of heavy bottles or tanks? Well, FreedomWeeder has developed just such a product and asked us to give it a try.
The FreedomWeeder arrived in a sturdy cardboard box that was a little beat up from the shipping process. But the products inside (the FreedomWeeder and a 16oz bottle of specially formulated organic weed killer) came though without a scratch or a leak.
About the FreedomWeeder
At first glance, the FreedomWeeder just looks like a long plastic tube with some PVC parts screwed on the ends. But looks can be deceiving.
What makes this device unique is that it has:
- a push-tip spot applicator on the bottom to target individual weeds,
- a hand pump sprayer for broader multi-weed killing, and
- a dispenser “drizzle cap” for pouring herbicide on a line of weeds.
Also available as a separately purchased item is an adaptor to convert a backpack tank to fit the FreedomWeeder (we did not review this).
At 44 inches in length, the 1-1/4″ tube can hold 20 oz. of liquid herbicide (or any other liquid, including fertilizer). And at around 3 lbs (empty), it’s a fairly lightweight item to carry around your yard.
Herbicide Application Methods
Spot Application – The most interesting feature of this product is the spot applicator. By pushing down on the pin at the bottom of the tube, organic or synthetic herbicide is metered out in a small or large puddle (depending on how long the pin is depressed).
Spray Application – For areas of larger weed coverage, there is a handy pump sprayer that snaps onto the top of the FreedomWeeder tube. Just pull the pump off, turn the nozzle cap to the ON position, and you’re ready to start spraying those large nasty weeds.
Before using the sprayer, make sure you read the entire Owner User Guide from start to finish as it talks about safety while using the FreedomWeeder in “wind drift” conditions, and the hazards of both organic and synthetic herbicides becoming airborne in this type of weather.
A screw pour cap is located at the top of the tube where the liquid herbicide is poured in.
Drizzle/Pour Application – The FreedomWeeder also has the capacity to “drizzle” the herbicide through a hole in the top of the fill cap (the hole also acts to prevent a vacuum build-up in the tube while using the pump sprayer or a spot applicator).
The problem with this method is that I found small amounts of herbicide would collect in the fill cap and run down the side of the tube. Granted, you should be wearing the appropriate safety gloves (preferably chemical resistant), but I personally don’t like the idea that I can come in contact with the weed killer (either organic or synthetic). Plus, the leaking herbicide is just one more thing to clean up.
I would eliminate this hole and use the pump sprayer instead. If there is a vacuum build-up without having a hole, I’d try to engineer a check valve system where the air can flow into the tube but the chemical cannot run out.
Handy Storage Clip
Also included in the kit is a ‘PUSH-N-SNAP’ wall storage clip. It is mounted to a wall with two sheet rock screws (provided – they come attached to the FreedomWeeder with masking tape). This is a split cylinder of plastic that the unit is snapped into so that it can be hung vertically off the ground (without the spot applicator tip touching the ground).
FOR THE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS
FreedomWeeder sells an organic recipe that includes vinegar, organic liquid soap, salt and some other proprietary ingredients (all of which are explained when you buy a unit). For those who are more environmentally conscious and don’t want to use synthetic herbicides, the FreedomWeeder formula may be a nice solution (but the folks at the company also recognize that there are those who prefer the synthetics and the FreedomWeeder can be successfully used in these instances too).
FreedomWeeder also sells 30% horticultural vinegar so customers can make their own organic weed killer. The company provides a recommended formula in the Owner User Guide. The “recipes” are geared toward making 10% and 15% herbicide. FreedomWeeder does not recommend making a 30% recipe as it is “way overkill” and caution should be taken when using a straight 30% concentrate. At this percentage, it is very acidic and needs to be handled with extreme care.
SOME SCIENCE BEHIND KILLING WEEDS
Scientific evidence shows that homemade, organic, vinegar-based herbicides take a longer time to kill a weed than a synthetic like Glyphosate (Roundup® – a product of Monsanto). This research shows that vinegar-based herbicides do not directly affect the plant’s root system. What kills the weed is repeated applications of the vinegar solution each time the weed starts to put out new foliage.
Vinegar will kill the leaves (which create food for the weed). But often the weed will re-sprout and produce new leaves – that’s when another application of the vinegar-based weed killer must be applied. Eventually, the weed will run out of stored energy in the root system and will essentially starve to death. So be prepared for multiple applications of the formula that FreedomWeeder provides.
Please bear in mind that this approach is not a bad one. On the contrary, it is an environmentally conscious method, but in virtually all cases will take longer to produce results than synthetic means.
HOW DID IT WORK?
As noted above, a single shot of the FreedomWeeder herbicide is not enough to kill most weeds on the first pass. It took multiple applications for the organic herbicide to work completely, although when first applied, the weeds seemed to be completely dead.
I live in Tucson, AZ where there are not a lot of dandelions, clover or crabgrass, so my only tests were conducted on weeds native to this area of the country. But weeds are weeds and I expect that I did get the same results as you would see in other parts of the country.
WHAT I LIKED
- I didn’t have to bend over to apply the herbicide. The tube is long enough for me to stand straight up (as a point of reference, I’m 6 feet tall).
- The spot applicator gave me great accuracy. I tried it in on gravel to no avail (the pin wouldn’t depress), but I did try it between the cracks in a brick patio and on my driveway to see how much I could meter out. A single push produced a nice small circle of herbicide. When I held it in place for several seconds, a stream started running down my driveway or soaked the area around the weed in the brick patio. Basically, you have complete flexibility to determine how much or how little herbicide to apply.
- The hand pump sprayer is a nice addition to douse large patches of weeds or hard-to-penetrate crevices.
- The spot applicator virtually eliminates wind drift.
- The Owner User Guide is well-written, with lots of safety guidelines, recommendations, setup/operation details, maintenance tips, and instructions for how to mix your own organic herbicide.
WHERE I THINK IT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT
Here is what I would suggest to the manufacturer of Freedom Weeder to make their product even better:
- Make a cap that goes over the spot applicator tip. As it is, there’s no way to set down the unit when you want to take a break. Lying it on its side causes the herbicide to leak out of the cap, while standing it on end dispenses herbicide from the applicator tip.
- Eliminate the dispenser hole in the top of the unit (used to “drizzle” herbicide) and replace it with a one-way check valve so that the liquid cannot leak out of the cap if it falls over or you want to lay it on the ground to take a break. While using the “drizzle” applicator, I found that herbicide ran over the cap and down the side of the tube. As the Owner User Guide states, it’s important to use protective gloves while using the FreedomWeeder, and for good reason. With the potential of leakage onto the cap or down the side of the tube, it’s even more important to wear gloves.
I really liked the Owner User Guide. It’s well-written and full of safety advice and warnings.
Here are the basics from the Guide:
- Do not allow children to play with the FreedomWeeder.
- Do not apply herbicides without wearing protective gear (gloves, eyewear, skin protective clothing, proper shoes, and vapor mask) when dispensing herbicide.
- Do not use the sprayer in windy conditions.
- NEVER SPRAY in the EYES
There are other recommendations and cautions as well, so make sure you read the Owner User Guide from cover to cover.
MADE IN THE USA
The FreedomWeeder is proudly made in the USA
The FreedomWeeder has a one-year limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. The company will repair or replace the unit (their option). And the company will issue refunds if you’re not satisfied with the product within 30 days of purchase, as long as you have proof of purchase. This does not include shipping costs (to and from FreedomWeeder); that’s the customer’s responsibility.
I like the concept of the FreedomWeeder. The spot applicator tip is a nice way to cut down on the use of herbicides by targeting just a small area. The tube is long enough that I didn’t have to bend over to apply the weed killer. And I love the option to have a hand pump sprayer when the spot applicator doesn’t work (such as for weeds growing in gravel) or I need to douse a large patch of weeds (where the spot applicator would be too time-consuming or just not effective).
I do feel it needs some improvements, particularly to the top cap. The existing hole may let you drizzle herbicide on plants, but it also lets herbicide dribble down the side of the tube where it can easily get on your hands.
And finally, I think an end cap for the spot applicator is worth exploring. That way, the contents wouldn’t completely run out the end of the tube if it were leaned against a wall or fence.
I do recommend the FreedomWeeder – but with the warning to be careful and mindful not to let the spot applicator hit the ground unintentionally and to be very careful with the dispenser drizzle cap so as not to get herbicide on yourself.
WHERE TO BUY
The FreedomWeeder is available exclusively through the company’s website for $36.99 (sprayer, spot applicator, dispenser). At the website you can also find, for $24.99 each (the sale price at the time this review was published), a FreedomFertilizer (2-in-1), FreedomWeeder (2-in-1), and Freedom Terminator (2-in-1). All three of these (2-in-1) products only include the spot applicator and dispenser (drizzle cap) and not the sprayer.
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