Mel Limon

1. What are the advantages of flame-based weeding compared to manual weed removal or herbicides?
ML: Most people, when it comes to weed removal, have two choices; dig and pull them out or use chemicals. Digging or pulling is a very tedious task spent kneeling or bent over to get at the weeds, and most of the time the root system is not entirely removed. Chemicals are somewhat effective but must be used carefully to not damage wanted plants and make sure no animals or humans are contaminated. Chemicals are also becoming less effective on some weeds because a chemical resistance has occurred in an ever-increasing number of weeds. Flame weeding is a “slow kill.” Essentially, you are destroying cell structure in the plant leaf. The weed will no longer put energy toward growth, taking the kill through the root system. Even on big weeds (over 6 inches), you will see a stunting effect and even a kill within a few days, depending on how established the root system is and how long the plant was exposed to heat. Multiple flames may be required.

2. What other functions can Flame Engineering torches serve?
ML: Propane torches can be used in the winter time to thaw a thin layer of snow or ice. After a sidewalk or driveway is cleared by shoveling or a snow blower, a thin layer of snow remains. This can cause safety issues as the sun thaws the thin layer and then it freezes when the temperature drops or sun sets, creating an ice layer. Utilizing our torches can eliminate the freeze/thaw effect.

3. Which type of torch seems to be most popular with customers?
ML: It all depends on how quickly the consumer wants to get the job done and how large of an area is being treated. Our Red Dragon 500K BTU torch kit with a 3-inch bell can produce a flame from 18 to 24 inches in length, and when pointed toward the target area, creates a large flame lick covering about a 12-inch wide area. Our Weed Dragon® 100K BTU torch kit with a 2-inch bell can produce a flame from 12 to 16 inches in length, and when pointed toward the target area, creates a medium flame lick covering about an 8-inch wide area. Our mini Dragon™ 25K BTU cane style torch kit with a 1-inch bell can produce a focused flame about 2 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches in length. It’s perfect for smaller areas like spot weeding in yards, cracks in sidewalks or pavers.

4. What advice do you give retailers on how to better market, merchandise and sell Flame Engineering products?
ML: Consumers now more than ever have increased awareness of protecting our environment and are looking for alternatives to chemicals. If torches are placed in the chemical aisle, the consumer will see that choices are available.

5. Do you encourage your IGC customers to educate customers about the safe handling procedures of these products, and if so, how?
ML: As a U.S.-based manufacturer, Flame Engineering takes safety very seriously. Our instruction manuals and online videos explain the safe usage of our open flame torch kits. Our U.S.-based customer service is available to answer any questions at 800-255-2469 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.