London: It could be what gardeners have long wished for -- a gadget that kills weeds in a jiffy without requiring noxious pesticides.
But this zapper comes with a shocker -- firing a 2,500-volt charge enough to execute prisoners in electric chairs. The concentrated energy penetrates weed`s vascular systems, boiling the water in the plant cells and breaking down the cell walls.
Weeds wilt immediately in a cloud of steam like overcooked vegetables, then dry out and within days disintegrate into the soil.
The device can annihilate garden invaders such as nettles, bindweed and dandelions, and even obliterate the dreaded Japanese knotweed. But if used on a human, the current would stop the heart by raising the body temperature to 284F (140C), the Daily Mail reports.
Electrical engineer Mike Diprose, who invented the zapper, believes it will revolutionise gardening and curb the use of potentially dangerous chemical sprays.
`It could clear overgrown plots in hours and tackle weeds more than six feet high,` says Diprose, 64. He has been testing it at his house in Calver, Derbyshire, with a warning: Danger of Death: High Voltage.
The zapper is a square blue box, similar in size to a vacuum cleaner mounted on a trolley. Leading from the box is a cable attached to a long plastic probe with a handle and a 3in metal spike on the end.
However, the apparatus is so dangerous that use by amateur gardeners has been ruled out. Instead, he proposes a scheme to license and train operators who could be called out by householders to exterminate weeds. "It would be lethal in the wrong hands, like a shotgun," said Diprose.