EZ Clone Low Pro
NEW EZ Clone Model REVIEW
BONUS: Founder’s Interview
In our EZ Clone Low Pro Review, 128 Model, conducted this Spring 2016 in the Grozine Research Greenhouse we set out to see what if anything had changed over the original EZ Clone Classic model. For comparison, we had been using the EZ Clone Classic 128 Model with success (reviewed HERE) in rooting plant cuttings with aeroponics. In our case, we were successful without the use of chemicals for our Organic and Aquaponic herb systems.
[quote]when we saw “New and Improved” we were admittedly a little skeptical—it seemed there wasn’t much to improve on, and was this just another repackaging job with the same basic unit just to sell more?[/quote]
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Above: 20 second EZ Clone Classic Demonstration
For more conventional purposes, we have had lots of success rooting cuttings for hydroponics and soilless growing too—getting big “root beards” fast when adding rooting stimulators and products designed to reduce microbial loads in the cloning solution over the course of the rooting process.
Safe to say, we were really happy with the Classic Model by EZ Clone. So when we saw “New and Improved” we were admittedly a little skeptical—it seemed there wasn’t much to improve on, and was this just another repackaging job with the same basic unit just to sell more?
While the new box looks super slick, as we have always been told, “it’s whats inside that counts”. And at the risk of sounding less than objective, we must admit, the EZ Clone Low Pro had us at first glance as we slid it out of the packaging. Seriously, WOW!
Lifting the lid and looking inside the system at the parts, we were pleased to see that the principle had remained the same:
the cloning system still uses a pressurized manifold to spray bare plant stems supported by a reusable collars for supercharged oxygen levels that stimulate faster and healthier root growth.
What’s Different with EZ Clone Low Pro
The thickness of the system walls has been beefed up, making it a much sturdier unit, especially when filled with gallons of water or cloning solution. This was the only sore point we may have had with the Classic, as we found it to be a little on the thinner side, especially in the bottom corners. Not the case here with the EZ Clone Low Pro at all.
Less heating up of the aeroponic solution inside the unit under propagation lights, or especially important with us in the greenhouse under natural sun light levels means less stress on young plant shoots undergoing big changes through the rooting process. On top of that, it helps reflect light back to the leaves and is easy to see how clean it really is—hygeine is everything in propagation conditions.
Lower Operating Volume Required
Besides the fact that the lower profile means you can stack more EZ Clone units vertically in a given area, the new EZ Clone Low Pro model needs less water to fill. Because it needs less water, it also means that it can use a slightly lower wattage pump to give the correct exchange rate of nutrient solution when operating—so there is a slight power savings too.
Alpha Numeric Coding + Color System for Each Cloning System
Kind of like the grid on that Battleship game you may have played—a great addition! No more fooling around with masking tape and sharpies to keep track of multiple varieties or individual plants in the cloning system. Especially useful for plant breeders. Additionally, the EZ Clone Low Pro system was supplied with an assortment of colors in the actual cloning collars, adding more options to label and identify individual plants in the system reliably and hassle free.
TOTAL IMPROVEMENT SCORE: 5
Ok, so they really did improve a great thing—and we must give credit where credit is due: Great Job, EZ Clone, and thanks.
EZ Clone Low Pro 128 Model, EZ Clone’s newly designed cloning system (versus Classic Series models)
The EZ Clone Low Pro is the perfect system for starting plants by rooting cuttings—does not require any growing media to replace. EZ Cloners can also be used to start seed or grow small plants to maturity.
Uses aeroponic sprayers and a low wattage pump that are tidily contained, leak free, inside the EZ Cloner unit. The fine spray has much more surface area than conventional rooting media and is continuously infused with ambient oxygen, leading to saturated dissolved oxygen levels (DO). Oxygen is critical for healthy plants and stimulates a stronger and faster rooting and germination response for young plants.
COMES WITH: lid, base, pump, manifold, sprayers, color coding support collars, cloning gel, water treatment additive, instructions BONUS coconut fibre collars
A SOLID 5/5 for innovation and quality—the EZ Clone Classic Series still ranks high with us in the Value department too, however.
BONUS: Founder’s Interview with Billy Blackburn
Above: Billy Blackburn Co-Founder EZ Clone
[quote]Competition is truly a good thing and a necessary evil. If we didn’t have it, we would become complacent.[/quote]
What inspired the Company Founders to start EZ-CLONE?
In 1999, my best friend, and now business partner (Brad) and I ended up back home in Sacramento after a four year stint in the Air Force. We became room mates and started growing in our garage, basically just for fun to begin with. Brad was going to Sac State University for a bachelors degree in psychology and was also bar tending. I was working on writing songs, recording music and starting the endeavor of becoming a musical artist.
Growing became addicting very quickly and was also a very creative outlet. However, from the beginning, we had nothing but trouble with the conventional methods of plant cloning. I became fascinated with new ways to grow and engulfed myself in the art of hydroponics and aeroponics. I was reading everything I could get my hands on. This was long before the Internet really got off the ground. I began making homemade hydro and aero systems out of the least expensive materials I could find. The creation of the first EZ-CLONE was simply just to help solve a problem for ourselves. It was never even initially thought of as a product.
Around that time, we were shopping regularly at a hydro store called Greenfire, which back then, was only one of two hydroponic stores in the entire county of Sacramento. I remember going into the shop one day, and there was a little old lady named Margaret working behind counter. I asked to see a couple of irrigation pieces, and as soon as I held them, I started voicing my dismay over the lack of mechanical connectivity of the parts and told her that they charge way too much for these poorly made plastic pieces. She looked up, smiled and asked me if I wanted a job. I initially laughed and said “no thank you”, but after a week, I came back to ask if it was still available, as I thought what a great place just to learn how to become a better grower. I took the job.
After months of standing behind the counter, listening to people come in and tell me their problems, I quickly found out that plant cloning was one of the most difficult aspects of growing for many of the customers. One day, a friend that I worked with asked if I could make one of my homemade cloning systems for one of the customers, and that led to multiple people coming back to ask for one themselves. This was the “light bulb” moment.
I went home and told Brad what was happening and that there may actually be a market for these cloning systems. We discussed how crazy it would be if we could really start selling them, and right then and there, we decided to start a business and try our luck.
What were some of the earliest challenges you faced?
The earliest challenges we faced had to do with the two of us learning to work together and the production of the units. We quickly learned that being friends and being business partners were two totally different things. Brad and I literally moved into a warehouse in the middle of winter to start the business. We moved all of our furniture, along with two dogs out of the house we were renting, and into an eleven hundred square foot, freezing cold warehouse. We lived in this shitty warehouse for months and built the systems by hand. There was quite a bit of tempers flaring and butting heads when we first started, but we figured it out. Each of us have strengths in different areas, and learning how to let the other person do what they are best at was quite the process. It took a while and a lot of hard communication, but we have pretty much got it down to a science now. Each of us now knows very well, and trusts in the skills of the other. Sweat equity baby…
What do you consider to be EZ-Clone’s biggest successes?
First and foremost, being in business as long as we have is our biggest success. We have just hit 16 years this year. Owning a business is non-stop problem solving. I think so many people think there is a connotation associated with the word Entrepreneur as being totally glamorous, and that’s the farthest thing from the truth. Sure, it’s amazing working for yourself, and having the freedom to call your own shots, but I always tell people, “don’t be mistaken…being an entrepreneur is grueling and filled with constant ups and downs”. It takes a very unique mindset and an unwillingness to stop to become successful at anything, but you also have to love what you do, and that passion is hands down the most important factor. We had this unshakable drive when we started, and were probably too dumb to know any better, but we just kept pushing and didn’t allow anything to get in our way.
Dedication, perseverance and passion is what got us to where we are today.
We were also very fortunate to start the business early enough, that EZ-CLONE essentially created the aeroponic cloning niche in our industry, and we will strive to continue leading the way. Aeroponic propagation is the one aspect of growing that we chose to specialize in, and it has treated us very well. We are very happy with where we are at.
Secondly, one of our biggest successes has got to be the release of our new Commercial Pro Cloning System. This is something that we have been working on for years, and it has finally come to fruition. I’m a firm believer in the quotes “build it and they will come” and “the best way to predict the future, is to invent it”. This was exactly how we started our company.
Also, the one major thing that we make sure to do constantly, is research and development. We are always cloning some type of plant at all times. Innovation plays the biggest part in maintaining a positive and current stature in all businesses and is what will keep you ahead of your competition. Knock offs and competition used to seriously piss me off, but it also became a tremendous learning experience once I learned to embrace it. Used properly, it can be an incredible tool for pushing forward and keeping your momentum going. If you’re the best at what you do, you’ll always have people dragging from your coat tails. Having followers just means that you’re doing something right. Competition is truly a good thing and a necessary evil. If we didn’t have it, we would become complacent.
What advice do you have for new young and dynamic companies starting up today in the Hydro Biz?
Absolutely… If there is anything I have learned along the way that I can share, I feel an obligation to help people in this industry. I LOVE this Industry. It has been incredible to us and we have met so many amazing people.
1. Put your head down and get to work. Stay out of all of the politics and bullshit that so many people get caught up in. I just don’t have time to pay attention to that shit. I’ve got enough problems of my own, to worry about what other people are doing. Try to stay as positive as possible and always continue moving forward. I really try to find the positive in everything and there’s always a lesson to be learned, especially in your challenges and struggles.
2. Find awesome mentors. I think surrounding yourself with the best people that you can find, both business minded and morally is one of the most powerful things that you can do. I’ve heard that we are an average of the 5 people that we hang out with the most, and I truly believe that. One thing Brad and I have really focused on, especially over the past year is surrounding ourselves with a group of incredible advisors, and honestly, if they dont have any grey hair, we don’t consider them qualified. We look for very successful people with class, integrity and experience. Find people that you want to be like.
3. Offer amazing products and even better service. That is one thing that EZ-CLONE hugely prides itself on. We connect with our customers because WE ARE our customers. We have been in and are in their shoes. We know how important it is for our systems to give them success. We get immense satisfaction when we make our customers satisfied, and always make sure to listen to your customers feedback. The best focus group you can never buy, is your customers telling you what they think.
Speaking of service…something that I always find myself talking about at Trade Shows is the massive discounting that takes place in this industry between retailers.
I worked at a retail store for a long time, and one thing I know is that if people want to grow, they are going to continue buying these products regardless of the potential 20, 30 or 40% they are going to save because retailers want to have price wars with each other.
So many retailers don’t understand that when they are so significantly discounting their products, they are diminishing the integrity of the products, diminishing the integrity of their store and diminishing the integrity of the entire industry…all while losing money at the same time. Having price wars is not condusive to building a store with longevity. Having badass customer service, and offering the absolute best education and information to help the grower be as successful as possible, is what will keep a customer coming back for LIFE. At the end of the day, if a grower is not learning how to become a quality grower…who really gives a shit how much money they saved on their gear. They wasted their time…and that’s what should be most valuable.
5. What’s next for Billy Blackburn?
I’m going home to have a few glasses of wine and kiss my wife. It’s been a long ass day.
Want to Learn More About EZ Clone? Click HERE
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