How to Operate a Smudge Pot

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In the old days -- when fuel was inexpensive -- every citrus tree gardener used a smudge pot to protect trees during frost periods. These tiny devices burn fuel into smoke and hot air, helping to keep the tree tissue wam during cold spells. While smudge pots have fallen out of favor due to fuel's cost, they make unusual garden artifacts. If you've unearthed an antique smudge pot, why not put it into service as decor at your next garden party or for garden protection during a cold spell?


Step 1

Bring your smudge pot outdoors and place it beneath the tree you want to protect, so it falls under the tree canopy. If you're using a smudge pot for ornamental pleasure, place it on a level platform where it can be enjoyed, such as a patio wall or on the ground.

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Step 2

Fill the base of your smudge pot with fuel, adding fuel to the fill line marked on your pot. These heaters will burn any type of liquid fuel, such as kerosene or diesel.


Step 3

Check to ensure the wick of your smudge pot is immersed in the fuel. Move the wick down if it's not; the wick needs to draw fuel to create smoke.

Step 4

Close the smudge pot once you've filled it and verified the wick position.

Step 5

Look for a damper on the side of your smudge pot that draws air in. Open the damper by adjusting the level, turning the dial or other option (the mechanics of this vary by model, so consult your manual for guidance).


Step 6

Spark a long-handled lighter to create a flame. Hold this up to the wick until the wick catches and begins to burn.

Step 7

Allow your smudge pot to burn. It will create smoke and heat, and help protect your tree against frost damage.

Step 8

Close the damper partially once the air coming from the smudge pot feels warm to the touch. If you don't adjust the damper, the pot can produce too much smoke and will experience occasional smoke hiccups.



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