I used a flamer just last week… on a pre-plant vegetable/small grain research 
project. 8 foot wide behind the tractor. Method is called a stale seed bed.

Have seen several fruit tree flamers in use in North Central Washington in the 
My recollections:
All were one big nozzle mounted on the front of the tractor with a trailered 
propane tank.
All the tractors had melted front end plastic body parts, not from escaped 
fires but from prolonged heat.
The flamers wouldn’t damage plastic irrigation components at all but would melt 
plastic tree guards.
The flamers worked excellent on broadleaf weeds, annual grasses so-so, 
perennial  grasses barely.
After a couple years of use the in row vegetation evolved into 100% perennial 
grasses, in the case here, quack grass.
Organic growers had to resort to in row tillage eventually.
I personally could see using a flamer in combination with tillage as an viable 
in row weed control alternative.

Bill Fleming
Montana State University
Western Ag Research Center
580 Quast Lane
Corvallis, MT 59828

From: apple-crop-boun...@virtualorchard.net 
[mailto:apple-crop-boun...@virtualorchard.net] On Behalf Of David A. Rosenberger
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2015 8:02 PM
To: Apple-crop discussion list
Subject: Re: [apple-crop] Weed Flamer

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