I’ve never used a flame weeder, but I’ve been on a number of tours where they 
were either demonstrated or discussed.  Folks who have actually worked with 
them are probably either retired or too busy to comment, so I’ve summarized my 
recollections from those tours below.  If my memory is faulty, then hopefully 
someone submit corrections and some additional info.
  1.  Flame weeders seem to work well only on very small weeds/grasses (e.g., 
up to 3-6 inches tall) and therefore the flaming must be done frequently (about 
every 2 or 3 weeks?) in warm wet climates if no herbicides are used to inhibit 
seed germination.
  2.  As I recall, one group indicated that flame weeders actually work best if 
there is a bit of dew or moisture on the weeds: the flames heated the surface 
water to destroy the plants.  Although the weeds didn’t look “burned” after the 
flamer passed, they were actually “cooked” and died rapidly thereafter.
  3. At one very large apple and cherry operation in WA state where a 
significant portion of the acreage committed to organic production, the farm 
manager told our tour group that flame weeding “involved a significant learning 
curve.” In their case, as I recall, the learning curve included incineration of 
several tractors when flames got out of control.  Seems that would be less 
likely under eastern conditions where we are unlikely to accumulate a lot of 
dry debris under trees, but then anything is possible.
  4. Finally one warning that my Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother gave to me and 
my cousins when we were small:  Boys who play with fire will wet their beds!

Dave Rosenberger, Plant Pathologist,
Hudson Valley Lab, P.O. Box 727, Highland, NY 12528
    Cell:     845-594-3060

On Monday, June 1, 2015, Matt Pellerin 
<m...@treworgyorchards.com<mailto:m...@treworgyorchards.com>> wrote:
I am interested in the concept of using a weed flamer as a burndown option in 
my apple orchard.  Has anyone had experience using these with fruit trees?  
What would be the pros/cons?

Matthew Pellerin
Agricultural Manager
Treworgy Family Orchards
3876 Union St
Levant, ME 04456
apple-crop mailing list

apple-crop mailing list

Reply via email to