Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20060005466 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/881,963
Publication dateJan 12, 2006
Filing dateJun 30, 2004
Priority dateJun 30, 2004
Publication number10881963, 881963, US 2006/0005466 A1, US 2006/005466 A1, US 20060005466 A1, US 20060005466A1, US 2006005466 A1, US 2006005466A1, US-A1-20060005466, US-A1-2006005466, US2006/0005466A1, US2006/005466A1, US20060005466 A1, US20060005466A1, US2006005466 A1, US2006005466A1
InventorsFrederic Atchley
Original AssigneeAtchley Frederic P
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Suspended plant growing system
US 20060005466 A1
Abstract
A plant growing apparatus, the apparatus comprising a plurality of legs extending upward from a surface, connectors holding the plurality of legs stationary, a holding mechanism connected to at least one of the plurality of legs and the connectors, a mesh-like bag that is secured by the connectors, and wherein the mesh-like bag is held between the plurality of legs and elevated over the surface.
Images(11)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(26)
1. A plant growing apparatus, the apparatus comprising:
(a) a plurality of legs extending upward from a surface;
(b) connectors holding said plurality of legs stationary;
(c) a holding mechanism connected to at least one of said plurality of legs and said connectors;
(d) a mesh-like bag that is secured by said connectors; and
(e) wherein said mesh-like bag is held between said plurality of legs and elevated over said surface.
2. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said each of said plurality of legs further comprises extensions that are adjustable to select a desired height for each of said plurality of legs.
3. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein a level device is connected to said connectors.
4. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said connectors comprise a plurality of rings.
5. The plant growing apparatus of claim 4 wherein each descending ring is a wider diameter than a ring immediately above it.
6. The plant growing apparatus of claim 5 wherein each said descending ring has a top edge and a bottom edge and wherein a diameter of top edge is smaller than a diameter of said bottom edge.
7. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said mesh-like bag is biodegradable.
8. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said mesh-like bag further comprises a reinforced band.
9. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said connectors comprise a plurality of hook formed by where a plurality of legs meets.
10. The plant growing apparatus of claim 9 wherein said mesh-like bag comprises a plurality of handles wherein each of said plurality of handles fit around a respective each of said plurality of handles.
11. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said connectors comprises a removable support ring.
12. The plant growing apparatus of claim 11 wherein said mesh-like bag further comprises a seam through which said removable support ring is placed.
13. The plant growing apparatus of claim 12 wherein said removable support ring is connected to said plurality of connectors.
14. The plant growing apparatus of claim 11 wherein said mesh-like bag further comprises excess material at a top end that is placed around said removable support ring.
15. The plant growing apparatus of claim 14 wherein said connectors comprises a stationary top ring and wherein said removable support ring is connected to said stationary top ring.
16. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein each of said plurality of legs further comprises a base.
17. The plant growing apparatus of claim 16 wherein said base is perforated to allow an anchoring device to pass therethrough.
18. The plant growing apparatus of claim 16 wherein said base provides an expanded surface area to contact said surface.
19. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said mesh-like bag comprises more surface area with no material than material comprising said bag.
20. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein said mesh-like bag further comprises an interior lining.
21. The plant growing apparatus of claim 20 wherein said interior lining comprises a natural fibered material that a root may penetrate.
22. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein each of said plurality of legs is inserted into a ground surface.
23. The plant growing apparatus of claim 1 wherein a distance between said surface and said container is maintained to insure airflow around all outer surfaces of said container.
24. A method of air-root pruning and insuring a vertical growing plant, said method comprising:
(a) providing a container that has more surface area with no material than material comprising said container;
(b) providing support legs that connect to said container near a top of said container;
(c) suspending said container above a surface that said support legs rest upon;
(d) allowing said container to move from a vertical starting position and to sway when wind is applied against said container;
(e) returning said container to said starting position when said wind has ceased
(f) controlling root growth in every direction a root may grow with air-root pruning.
25. The method of claim 24 wherein providing said container further comprises providing said container that permits air-root pruning of a root system to occur.
26. The method of claim 25 wherein providing said container further comprises providing an interior linear that is penetratable by a root system wherein once said interior linear is penetrated, said root system encounters air-root pruning.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    This invention relates to a plant container, and more particularly, to a plant container that provides the most optimum exposure to air for air-pruning of a plant's roots.
  • [0002]
    A common problem experienced by commercial ornamental horticultural nurseries is circling and kinking of a plant's root system due to the plant developing its root system in a container not designed to reduce the chances for the roots to circle and/or kink. One form of kinking is when a taproot reaches the base of a container and then curves upward, thus forming a “J” root. This “J” root could kill a plant.
  • [0003]
    Another issue faced by nurseries is insuring that plants grow as vertical as possible. This becomes a more significant issue when nurseries are established on ground that is not level or when a nursery is in an area that experiences significant wind gusts. Either of these environmental conditions can result in a plant not growing vertical. The direction a plant's roots grow is particularly important. Tree roots are established early and do not change direction once they are established. Tree roots generally grow out from the center of the tree and down to the depth of the environment provided for the roots to grow. The more roots developed, the healthier the circulatory system and ability to uptake nutrients and moisture. The goal in growing the plant is to develop as many fibrous, hair-like roots as possible before the tree reaches a 1 to 2 inch caliper size. Additionally, the fibrous roots should be well branched and as straight as possible for a successful transplant into the next container size or a landscape project.
  • [0004]
    Air-root pruning is one approached used to reduce J-root formation. By using air-root pruning, ends of a root are exposed to air. Typically, a plastic container is used where a plurality of openings are formed through the container's sidewall and/or base. Because a container is still needed to properly hold the root ball of a plant, the surface area of the container is comprised more of the plastic, or some other material, than openings to allow air-root pruning.
  • [0005]
    Plant growers would benefit from a growing container that is able to provide for pruning plant roots while also being able to optimally function in various environmental conditions.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    The present invention is directed to an apparatus and method for improving root development of a plant where air-root pruning is possible around all outer surfaces of a container. In a preferred embodiment a plant growing apparatus is disclosed. The apparatus has a plurality of legs extending upward from a surface, such as the ground. Connectors are provided for holding the plurality of legs stationary. A holding mechanism is also provided and is connected to at least one of the plurality of legs and the connectors. A mesh-like bag is used and is secured in place by the connectors. The mesh-like bag is held between the plurality of legs and elevated over the surface. A given distance between the surface and the container is maintained to insure adequate airflow across the entirety of the container to insure complete air pruning of all emerging root tips.
  • [0007]
    A method for air-root pruning and insuring a vertical growing plant is also disclosed. The method comprises providing a container that has more surface area with no material than actual material comprising the container.
  • [0008]
    Providing support legs that connect to the container near a top of said container is also disclosed. The method further discloses suspending the container above a surface that the support legs are rest upon. The container and plant are allowed to move from a vertical starting position and to sway when wind is applied against the container and plant. The container and plant then return to their starting position when the wind has ceased.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0009]
    The features of the invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, both as to organization and method of operation, may best be understood by reference to the following description, in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like numbers represent like parts throughout the drawings, and in which:
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1 is an elevational view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 2 is an elevational view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention connected to a ground surface and encountering wind;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 3 is a side view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 4 is an exemplary embodiment of a net bag;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 5 is an exemplary embodiment of another net bag;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 6 is an elevation view of another exemplary embodiment of the present invention with an insert bag support ring;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 7 is an elevational view of another exemplary embodiment of the present invention with a removable locking ring;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 8 is a top view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention having a net bag fastened with eight fasteners;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 9 is an elevational view of a rectangular frame assembly; and
  • [0019]
    FIG. 10 is an exemplary block diagram of a method of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0020]
    With reference to the figures, exemplary embodiments of the invention will now be described. The scope of the invention disclosed is applicable to a plurality of containers used for growing and transporting plants, such as trees. Thus, even though embodiments are described specific to using a cylindrical mesh-like bag, one skilled in the art will recognize how the invention is also applicable to other containment devices.
  • [0021]
    FIGS. 1 & 2 illustrate elevational views of exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As illustrated, a mesh-like bag 10 is suspended from a frame 12. The frame 12 has a minimum of three base legs 13. As illustrated, rings 15 are connected to the base legs 13, which give the frame 12 a circular configuration. In one exemplary embodiment, two rings 15 are provided where both rings 15 are of equal diameter and thickness. In another exemplary embodiment, the rings 15 are wider in diameter the further the rings are placed down the base legs 13 as the base legs 13 reach the ground 20, as further illustrated in FIG. 3.
  • [0022]
    The ring 15 positioned a furthest distance from the ground 20, or the end of the leg 13 that is placed upon or in a ground surface, may be located at a plurality of locations. For example, as illustrated in FIG. 3, a first ring 16 is near the top of the invention 5. Whereas in FIGS. 1 and 2, the base legs 13 extend a considerable distance above the highest ring 17. Though two rings are illustrated, more or fewer rings may be used, where even half rings connecting certain legs together may be used (not illustrated). The number of rings may be determined based on the structural strength of the material being used for the present invention 5 as well as the estimated weight of the soil, root-ball, and plant, when all are dry as well as when all are wet. In another exemplary embodiment, the rings 15 possess a thickness where the thickness of the rings 15 is tapered at an angle resulting in the diameter of the ring 15 increasing at a lower position when compared to a high position on the ring 15.
  • [0023]
    The legs 13 and rings 15 can be made of a plurality of materials, such as but not limited to, PVC pipe to metal wire, rods or tubing. The thickness or material determination will be based upon the estimate weight of the plant to be held suspended above the ground. In preferred embodiments, heavier channel frames can be used to suspend much larger root balls that weigh between 250 to 600 pounds. When metal wire, rods or tubing is used, the pieces can be welded together and assembled at the point of manufacture or can be configured for assembly at a place of usage.
  • [0024]
    As further illustrated in FIG. 1, to insure that a plant grows vertically when the invention is placed on uneven ground, the legs 13 are configured to extend or retract to an acceptable distance. A release device 25 is provided on each individual leg 13 to extend and/or retract the respective leg 13. To further insure that the plant is growing vertically, levels 27, such as spirit levels, are built into or connected to the invention, such as to a ring. As illustrated in FIG. 1, a single level or a plurality of levels may be placed on or constructed into the present invention, at a plurality of locations upon the frame. Thus, when placing the present invention upon a surface, a user can view the level and adjust respective legs accordingly to insure the plant is hanging vertically. In another exemplary embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 2, the legs 13 of the assembly may be inserted directly into a ground surface 20.
  • [0025]
    FIGS. 4 and 5 are exemplary embodiments of cylindrically shaped containers 10, such as mesh-like bags. These bags may be biodegradable or reusable synthetic materials. As illustrated, cylindrically shaped containers, constructed of a biodegradable or reusable synthetic mesh or net, is provided. In a preferred use, natural materials are used for lager plants and can be transplanted directly into the landscape without any detrimental effect to a plant that may result from having to remove it from a bag.
  • [0026]
    The top half of the mesh-like bag has a reinforced band 30 with handles 32 that extend from the band 30. As further illustrated by FIG. 5, the base 34 of the mesh-like bag may comprise a plurality of shapes with or without a reinforced bottom. As further illustrated in FIG. 2, an interior lining 40 may also be provided. The interior lining 40 may consist of natural fibered materials that re designed to allow roots to penetrate it. Once roots penetrate the interior lining 40, the roots are exposed to air, wherein air-root pruning may occur.
  • [0027]
    As one skilled in the art will readily recognize, a plurality of methods are available for holding the mesh-like bag 10 in place upon the assembly 7. The examples provided below are for illustrational purposes only and are not to be considered the only ways to hold the mesh-like bag 10 to the assembly 7. As further illustrated in FIG. 1, the handles or locking mechanisms on the net or mesh-like bag are placed around the top ends of the legs. As further illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, the handles 32, or locking mechanisms, may also be double looped 33, 35 wherein the outer loop 33 is provided as a lifting strap. In another exemplary embodiment, further illustrated in FIG. 6, the net or mesh-like bag 10 does not have handles, but has a top seam 50 and an opening 42 to allow a support ring 55 to be slipped through the seam 50. The support ring 55 inside the seam 50 is fashioned and fitted onto connectors 57 extending from the top end of the legs 13, allowing it to rest on the legs 13 or, in another exemplary embodiment, upon a top stationary ring 17. In another exemplary embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 7, the net or mesh bag 10 is draped over a side of a top removable ring 60. With the draped material being placed around the removable bag support ring 60, it is then inserted inside a top fixed ring 65, which wedges the material 62 between the fixed 65 and removable top ring 60.
  • [0028]
    The bag 10 is constructed to a specific length so that a specific distance is available between the ground 20 and the bottom of the net bag. Depending on the construction of the bag 10 and the type of plant being grown, the specific distance can vary from less than an inch to over twelve inches. The reason for the specific distance is to insure airflow along the bottom of the bag 10 without structure directing airflow to the bottom of the bag 10.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 8 is a top view of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention having a net bag 10 fastened with eight fasteners 69 and FIG. 9 is an elevational view of a cubical frame assembly 7. As illustrated, the present invention 5 can be configured for other shapes other than cylindrical. As further illustrated, more than three connectors for securing the mesh-like bag 10 are also available.
  • [0030]
    As further illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 9, base feet 70 are provided. In a preferred embodiment, the base feet 70 are perforated, or posses holes 71 to allow a staking rod or anchoring device 72 to secure the frame 7 to a ground surface 20. For example when a channel frame is used, which cannot be inserted into the ground 30, anchoring devices 72 are used. In another preferred embodiment, the base feet 70 provide a wider base (not illustrated) which provides a greater surface area that contacts the ground 20.
  • [0031]
    In an exemplary operation, illustrated in FIG. 10, when a plant is initially planted, the mesh bag 10 is secured to the assembly 7 using the fasteners 69 connected to the assembly Steps 82 and 84. The fasteners 69 can be a top end of base legs 12. A soil mix is poured into the mesh-like bag 10, to a suitable depth to support bottom root ball growth. The plant and root ball are then placed into the bag 10 and held upright in place until additional soil mix can be added around the sides Step 80. The plant and soil mix is then sufficiently wetted to remove any internal air spaces that may have developed during the planting process. Once in place, because of its elevated position, proper air-root pruning is made possible around sides of the root ball with no reduction of air flow due to the ground or limited air flow because of a greater amount of container surface area Step 90. When windy weather conditions are encountered, the mesh-like bag is able to sway in the wind and is then able to return to a vertical condition once the wind ceases Steps 86 and 88.
  • [0032]
    When a plurality of the present invention is used in a nursery, each frame 12 can be placed at a given distance from the next frame. After plants are sold, the bag 10 and plant are removed from the frame 12, leaving the frame stationary. Furthermore, being suspended allows a tree 100 to move in unison with a wind gust while not disturbing the plant's root ball, as illustrated in FIG. 2. A healthy root ball benefits from the least amount of movement.
  • [0033]
    While the invention has been described in what is presently considered to be a preferred embodiment, many variations and modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the specific illustrative embodiment, but be interpreted within the full spirit and scope of the appended claims.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7353635 *Mar 29, 2005Apr 8, 2008Westrate William PTree root ball wrapping apparatus and method of using same
US7918051 *Jun 19, 2007Apr 5, 2011The Bear Flag 1991 TrustTomato growing system
US8826590Jul 13, 2011Sep 9, 2014John M. CrossPlanter bag
US20060225345 *Mar 29, 2005Oct 12, 2006Westrate William PTree root ball wrapping apparatus and method of using same
US20070227066 *Mar 31, 2006Oct 4, 2007Pamela CrawfordContainer and liner for side-planting plants and a method for same
US20080263949 *Jun 19, 2007Oct 30, 2008Jonathan EarlyTomato growing system
US20100320110 *Jun 17, 2009Dec 23, 2010Dougherty William RPortable garden
US20150101248 *Oct 9, 2014Apr 16, 2015Jacob C. AdkinsonMesh Lined Planter Box
USD735541 *Apr 1, 2013Aug 4, 2015James Fredrick AndersonAquatic conservation cage
Classifications
U.S. Classification47/39
International ClassificationA47G7/00
Cooperative ClassificationA01G9/024
European ClassificationA01G9/02C