Weed control

Problem: “My customers want to control weeds without using chemical herbicides.”

Solution: Weed removal torches from Flame Engineering

Removing unsightly weeds from lawns and gardens is a typical chore for many homeowners, but the repetitive task of removing the root system from the soil can be tedious and stressful. As a result, many gardeners turn to “weed killer” sprays to speed the process along.

However, your customers might be looking for a way to battle the weeds on their property without relying on chemical-based herbicides. One solution is to recommend the flame-based weed removal capabilities of Flame Engineering torches as an alternative.

Flame Engineering provides a variety of torches, each built for different situations, so your customers can find the right torch for them. For customers with large properties who need to project a large-diameter flame, suggest the heavy-duty Red Dragon® Vapor Torch Kit. Customers in need of a lighter, more portable flaming solution can turn to the Weed Dragon® and Mini Dragon™ torch kits.

Whichever torch your customers choose, education is crucial to ensuring that they use these weed removal solutions safely and efficiently. For best results, users should apply the torch to invasive plants early in their growth cycle, while they’re between 1-4 inches tall. At this small stage, flaming is nearly 100% effective at killing weeds, whereas weeds over 4 inches are more difficult to kill without multiple flamings.

Small doses of flame from the gas torches is usually all that’s needed to remove an unwanted weed. Just a split second of heat should kill unwanted weeds and grasses completely — they don’t need to be burned to a crisp. Some weeds and grasses will return following a flaming and require repeat applications. Flame Engineering suggests users increase heat exposure if weeds are wet from dew — water on the leaves acts as insulation and decreases cell damage unless exposure time is increased.

Flame Engineering torches are safe to use after a rain or in other wet outdoor conditions, as the moisture will lessen the threat of ignition of dry debris. In fact, these products can even be used as snow removal tools during the winter.

For more information, visit www.flameengineering.com

Red Dragon®
Mini Dragon
Weed Dragon®

Plant Health

Problem: “I want to make sure my plants look healthy when my customers buy them, without the use of harsh chemicals.”

Solution: Organic disease control products from Sarasota Green Group

When you’re in the business of selling plants, presentation matters. Various diseases can rob your green goods of their life and luster — even if you’re not growing them yourself — and rob your customers of a quality plant.

Keeping plants healthy is a key job for any grower or retailer, but many horticultural businesses are looking to embrace organic solutions. One way for garden center retailers to ensure a healthy, eye-catching plant for their clients without harsh chemicals is by turning to Sarasota Green Group’s Procidic® line of fungicide and bactericide.

“Our organic product line provides an alternative choice to harsh, toxic and dangerous chemicals,” says Rod Thompson, key account executive with Sarasota Green Group. “It provides retailers with an effective tool for preventative and curative management programs against pests and plant diseases, all while promoting crop nutrition, plant health and, ultimately, the consumer’s health season after season.”

The organic formulation of the Procidic® product line introduces minimal stress to the treated plants, allowing for disease prevention and treatment without stalling development of the plants themselves.

“What sets Procidic® apart is that it’s a safe organic formula; there are no added stressors to your plants,” Thompson says. “Since Procidic® is free of harsh chemicals, plants do not spend excess energy metabolizing pesticides, which can delay maturity. Combined with a low usage rate, Procidic® proves to be more cost efficient than most fungicides and bactericides.”

Picking the right organic disease treatment for your green goods is only a part of the solution, however. In order to ensure their customers are buying a quality plant, Thompson says it pays off for retailers to be familiar with the growing techniques and disease treatment routines of their suppliers.

“Once product leaves the greenhouses, it is in the hands of the retailer,” Thompson says. “It’s always a good idea for retailers to educate themselves as much as possible about diseases and have a fungicide rotation planned ahead of time, making sure the plants are healthy, vigorous and easy-to-grow for growers, landscapers or homeowners.”

Thompson adds that the use of Procidic® fungicides and bactericides is most effective in combination with knowledge of common plant diseases.

“The common names of plant diseases often reflect the type of symptom they cause,” he says. “If you can identify the symptoms as a blight or mildew, for example, you will be able to successfully take steps to eradicate the disease, even if you don’t know the specific pathogen causing the infection. Remember: When using Procidic®, if you’re considering applying a spray or concentrate, take time to identify the specific disease first so that you apply the appropriate dosage at the correct time to be effective.”

For more information, visit www.sarasotagg.com

Customer Service

Problem: “My customers don’t want the products they purchase to leave dirt and debris in their car, but they don’t prepare ahead of time and cover their seats, and my staff doesn’t have time to search for something to protect their cars.”

Solution: Trunk mats from the Trunk Mat Company

Custom Trunk Mats are a multifunctional tool that protects customers’ cars, provides great customer service, saves employees’ time, advertises your business and saves the environment.

More than 30 years ago, Dave Garlock was asked to help solve a problem for a friend who owned a garden center. His friend explained the gnawing guilt he felt by ruining his customers’ cars with the plants, bags of soil and green goods he sold to them. Dave, who at that time sold plastic bags to soil companies, created a solution to the problem — Custom Trunk Mats. At the same time, he recognized the immense need for independent garden center retailers to compete with the big box stores by helping to create a local shopping experience that shows your customer that you care about their business.

Shannon Davis

That mission has remained the same over the decades, and The Trunk Mat Company, still owned and operated by the Garlock family, has developed a variety of mats and continues to work one-on-one with independent garden centers to create their own unique custom designs. Custom Trunk Mats are not just about great customer service; they are retailers’ ultimate multifunctional tool. Due to their durability and reusability, your customer will see your business name every time they reuse your Custom Mat, offering garden centers a budget-friendly solution to advertising. If one trunk mat helps to create just one loyal customer a year, then the mats have more than paid for themselves!

The Trunk Mat Company, being a small, family-owned and operated business, understands the challenges of running an independent garden center, and has recently reduced its minimum for a Custom Trunk Mat order to 15 rolls, continuing to provide its customers with the best solution possible.

For more information: www.trunkmat.com