[NAFEX] purchase flamer and my experience with it

Heron Breen breen at fedcoseeds.com
Thu Nov 4 21:44:26 EST 2004

Yes, many landscape/supply places carry this contraption, which is really a grill 
size gas dealy-whopper, a regulator, and the fun end, the flame wand. I have used 
it to pop weed seeds/sterilize raised beds for direct seeding and seedling 
transplant, general weeding around farm buildings and the edges of raised beds once 
planted. The other use that I think is unique and really what this idea was meant 
to do in the first place: Weeding potato rows throughout the season, as well as 
incidental pest control, and actually vice versa. The larger, original contraptions 
were front mounted dual tanked multi-burner, at least the ones I've seen, and you 
drive yo tracta down them rows with a good hum of torch going, as the older folks 
would say. The potato plant can withstand 20% foliage damage before root production 
is affected or slowed, so only the very top few leaves are sizzled and popped, 
cooking the buggies too as well as severely knocking back the weeds. Lots of folks 
used them to kill back the potato plants a few weeks before harvest too.  The type 
we're talking about straps to the back, wear a thick flannel as that tank can get 
cold even on the hottest day. Heavy too. I guess I just wanted to see if it could 
get where a sycthe or a mower couldn't. 
Del, have you tried one of the solid bladed jobbies? They seem awful effective at 
taking out large stuff. Does your Stihl allow interchange with a solid blade?
Also, third hand information, probably proving what a lot of you all do already, a 
friend of mine was speaking with one of the Cummins, I assume the son of the father 
and son duo at Cummins Nursery of Geneva NY, and was told about a observation made 
about rabbit and possibly smaller rodent winter protection. Seems they had tried 
painting with white latex ONLY as the rodent/rabbit protection in a recent winter. 
As a trial, I hope I am getting this right, some trees were left unpainted, next to 
an relatively equal number of painted trees. All of the unpainted were eaten, none 
of the painted. I guess their main problem was rabbits, which I do not have a 
problem with, but any easier solution to girdling I haven't heard. What methods do 
the rest of you use? What have you tried that has failed?
Heron Breen
Maine zone 4      

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