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 numberUS20060168878 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/038,001
Publication dateAug 3, 2006
Filing dateJan 18, 2005
Priority dateJan 18, 2005
Publication number038001, 11038001, US 2006/0168878 A1, US 2006/168878 A1, US 20060168878 A1, US 20060168878A1, US 2006168878 A1, US 2006168878A1, US-A1-20060168878, US-A1-2006168878, US2006/0168878A1, US2006/168878A1, US20060168878 A1, US20060168878A1, US2006168878 A1, US2006168878A1
InventorsRoddey Brandes
Original AssigneeFox Creek Investments
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method for packaging trees with a stand and tree stand apparatus
US 20060168878 A1
Abstract
The invention is both a method of harvesting and mounting a tree and the tree stand itself. The method is for that of harvesting a live tree. On the other hand the tree stand can mount a live tree or an artificial tree. The description is written from the live tree viewpoint. The method comprises: harvesting a tree from the field; trimming the tree; optionally packaging said tree in netting; and mounting a stand on said trimmed tree. The mounting step also includes sliding a tapered sleeve or a bulb-like sleeve onto the base of the tree and jamming or inserting the sleeve with the tree into a corresponding well of the base stand. The tree stand comprises a base with an upwardly projecting well and a sleeve. The sleeve may be a tapered hollow sleeve, or a bulb-like sleeve. When the bulb-like sleeve is used, wing screws can be employed to secure it to the well.
Images(4)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(24)
1) A method of harvesting and packaging a tree, comprising:
a. harvesting a tree from the field;
b. trimming the tree;
c. optionally packaging said tree in netting; and
d. mounting a stand on said trimmed tree.
2) The method of claim 1, wherein said mounting step comprises: sliding a tapered sleeve on the base of said tree, and jamming said tapered sleeve with said tree into a corresponding well of said stand.
3) The method of claim 1, wherein said mounting step comprise: sliding a bulb-like sleeve on the base of said tree, fitting said sleeve into a corresponding well of said stand.
4) The method of claim 2, wherein said tapered sleeve slides onto the base of the tree using the large end of the sleeve.
5) The method of claim 2, wherein said step of jamming said sleeve into said well, comprises jamming the narrow end of the sleeve into the well.
6) The method of claim 4, wherein said sleeve contains one or more projections on its interior wall.
7) The method of claim 2, wherein said optional packaging step includes packaging said stand and said tree in said netting.
8) The method of claim 1, wherein said step of harvesting said tree includes cutting said tree and said step of trimming said tree includes cutting one or more lower branches from the base of said tree.
9) The method of claim 8, wherein said trimming step also includes using a tendon former on the base of said tree to make the base round and of a size that fits within said sleeve.
10) The method of claim 2, wherein said sleeve can have a range of external diameters corresponding to the internal diameter of said well.
11) The method of claim 10, wherein said sleeve can have a range of internal diameters corresponding to the diameter of the base of the trees.
12) The method of claim 3, wherein said sleeve is secured to said well by one or more wing screws.
13) A tree stand comprising: a base portion and a hollow sleeve, said base having a pan shape with a centered well projecting outwardly from said base, said well having at least one opening to allow water or other nutrients to have access to the interior of said well, and said sleeve having an exterior diameter designed to snuggly mount within said well.
14) The tree stand of claim 13, wherein said well comprises an upwardly projecting wall portion that is substantially circular.
15) The tree stand of claim 14, wherein said opening is a slot along the length of said well.
16) The tree stand of claim 13, wherein said interior diameter of said sleeve may be in a range from about 1 to about 4 inches.
17) The tree stand of claim 13, wherein said sleeve has one or more projections on its interior wall.
18) The tree stand of claim 13, wherein said sleeve is tapered from a large upper end to a small end.
19) The tree stand of claim 13, wherein said sleeve is bulb-like and has a large upper end and a small lower end.
20) The tree stand of claim 18, wherein said small end projects within said well.
21) The tree stand of claim 19, wherein said small end projects within said well.
22) The tree stand of claim 13, wherein said sleeve when mounted within said well projects outwardly beyond said well.
23) The tree stand of claim 13, wherein said well does not project beyond said outer edge of said base.
24) The tree stand of claim 13, wherein said base can range in size from about 6 inches to about 24 inches.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a method of harvesting a tree, preferably a Christmas tree, but it is capable of mounting other cut or artificial trees, trimming the tree if necessary, optionally packaging the tree in appropriate packaging material such as netting, and mounting it in a stand. The invention also relates to a tree stand that comprises two parts, namely a tapered sleeve and a base. The larger opening of the tapered sleeve slides over the harvested tree at its base while the small end (lesser diameter) slides into a centered raised wall portion of the base stand.

2) Prior Art

Packaging Christmas trees in netting to prevent breakage of the limbs during shipping and to enable more trees to be shipped in a container such as a truck, is well known to those in the business. Often Christmas retail tree sellers build and construct their own stands and mount a few of the trees in their lot so that these trees can be fully viewed. Many retail sellers simply lean the trees against a fence, a wall, or ropes strung between trees. Generally the retail sellers also sell tree stands as a separate add-on component.

On the other hand, Christmas tree stands are well known to all buyers of Christmas trees, as these trees must be mounted in homes, businesses, and public locations. Christmas tree stand structures generally consist of legs, some upright pot that can hold the base of the tree as well as a supply of liquid for the base of the tree and fastening means to secure the tree to the pot. Such stands take many different shapes, are formed from many different types of materials, and other serve this purpose inconsistently (some are better than others).

There is a need to package the Christmas tree with a stand such that it is unnecessary for the retailer of the Christmas trees to design and produce a temporary holding structure, all trees can be fully viewed, and the trees can absorb water while present in the retail lot. Additionally, the same stands would be used in residential homes, public places, and businesses thereby omitting the mounting of the tree on a stand, as is usually required by the final user.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to both method and apparatus. The stand is meant to be used not only by the retail Christmas tree seller, but also enjoyed by the residential, business, or public building occupant/buyer. The tree stand enables the users to supply water or other aqueous based nutritional compositions to the tree, such that it remains more lifelike for a longer period of time.

In the broadest sense, the present invention relates to a method of harvesting and packaging Christmas trees, comprising: harvesting a Christmas tree from the field; trimming the tree; optionally packaging said tree in netting; and mounting a stand on said trimmed tree. The mounting step also includes sliding a tapered sleeve onto the base of the Christmas tree and jamming the tapered sleeve with Christmas tree into a corresponding well of the base stand.

In the broadest sense, the present invention also comprises a Christmas tree stand having a base portion and a sleeve portion, said base having a pan shape with a centered well projecting outwardly from said base, said well having at least one opening to allow water or other nutrients to have access to the interior of said well, said sleeve having an exterior diameter designed to snugly mount within said well by a friction fit.

In the broadest sense, the present invention also comprises a Christmas tree stand having a base portion and a bulb-like sleeve portion, said base having a pan shape with a centered well projecting outwardly from said base, said well having at least one opening to allow water or other nutrients to have access to the interior of said well, said bulb-like sleeve having an exterior diameter designed to initially rotatably mount within and on said well, and then once the tree is vertical, secure the sleeve by means of one or more wing screws.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The figures of the drawings are for illustrating the invention and to enable those skilled in the art to better understand the invention. It is not intended to limit the invention in any manner inconsistent with the claims.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the Christmas tree stand.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the hollow tapered sleeve that fits within the well of the stand.

FIG. 3 is a plan view looking into the tapered sleeve, showing the projections.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the Christmas tree stand without the tapered sleeve mounted within the well.

FIG. 5 is an exploded view showing a trimmed tree, the tapered hollow sleeve, and the stand (with the well shown in relief), all enclosed in netting.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the stand base and a rotatably/secure sleeve mounted within and on the well.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the bulb-like sleeve shown in FIG. 6.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The Christmas tree stand 10 shown clearly in FIG. 1 comprises two friction-fitting pieces, namely: the base 12 and the tapered sleeve 14. The Christmas tree stand 10 may be made from a variety of substances such as plastic, hard rubber, fiberglass, ceramic, concrete, metal and wood. Of these raw materials, plastic is preferred. Optionally, the plastic can include reinforcing fibers to provide extra strength. Conceivably, it is also possible that the tapered hollow sleeve 14 and the base 12 can be made from the same substances or difference substances. Preferably the entire Christmas tree stand 10 is made from the same plastic material. Unlike other stands, no hammering is required to mount the stand of the present invention. Accordingly, the stand may be made from low impact resistant plastic, whereas others must use high impact plastic.

FIG. 2 is a drawing of the tapered hollow sleeve 14, which has a large end 16 and a narrow end 18. The sleeve 14 has a hollow opening 20 extending entirely through the tapered sleeve. Generally, the thickness of the tapered sleeve remains approximately the same from the large end 16 to the narrow end 18. However, it may also be possible to design the tapered sleeve 14 such that its thickness at one end is larger than that at the opposite end. Accordingly, those skilled in the art may design the tapered sleeve such that it is thicker at the narrow end 18 than at the larger end 16, if there is to be a difference in the thickness to provide increased strength and support.

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the tapered hollow sleeve 14 wherein the larger end 16 (as viewed from FIG. 2) has an opening 22, while the narrow end 18 (as viewed in FIG. 2) has an opening 24. Mounted on the interior sidewall between openings 22 and 24 are one or more optional projections 26. These projections 26 are designed to “bite” into the base of a Christmas tree when the tapered sleeve slides over the base of the tree. The projections 26 usually have a fairly sharp edge that permits them to bite into the base of the tree. The projections 26 not only seek to secure the tapered sleeve to the tree in a manner such that the tapered sleeve can only be removed from the tree with great difficulty, but it also enables the tapered sleeve to be applicable to slightly different sizes of the base of the tree. For example, the tapered sleeve may apply to small trees having a base diameter of 1½ to 2 inches. In this example the projections 26 would firmly secure the sleeve about the base of the tree, irrespective of the slight size differential. However, it is not necessary to have projections 26 on the interior of the sleeve 14, but no projections means that the base of the tree and the sleeve must fit together more closely.

The tapered sleeve and base stand can be various sizes to accommodates various sizes of trees, such as trees with a base of 4 to 4½ inches. Relative to the tapered sleeve, the base must be large enough to support the size tree intended to be mounted therein. The larger the tree, the larger the base stand, and the larger the tapered sleeve, and vise versa. Larger trees with larger stands means that the base stand can be both larger in diameter and taller, and the well of the stand is larger in diameter along with the corresponding sleeve. The invention easily encompasses a base having a diameter from about 6 to about 24 inches (2 feet), while the height can be from about 4 to about 8 inches. The size of the stand must simply be sufficient to support the size of the tree.

Referring to FIG. 4, the base of the Christmas tree stand 12 is shown in a perspective view and the nesting line 30 can easily be seen. The sidewall 28 is likewise tapered inwardly from its upper end 32 to its lower end 34. The nesting line 30, therefore, permits multiple base units to be stacked one on top of the other and the tapered sidewall 28 permits easy removal of the stands, one from the other. This is for shipping convenience. The sidewall 28 of the base unit 12 is integral with the bottom 36.

The bottom 36 has in its centered area an integrally formed well 40 comprising an upstanding circular wall 42 which is projecting upwardly out of the bottom 36 and is generally thicker than the sidewall 28. The well circular wall 42 is thicker because it is necessary for it to support the sleeve 14 shown in FIGS. 1-3. Of course the sleeve 14, is then supporting the base of the Christmas tree (not shown). The circular wall 42 has a slot 44 therein that extends from the bottom 36 to the top of the well or circular wall 42. This slot serves several purposes in that it allows a slight expansion of the upper wall 46 of circular wall 42 and enables the sleeve 14 to be friction-fit within the well 40 but also permits its removal. The well 40 is likewise tapered very slightly from its upper edge 46 to its lower edge 48. This taper generally matches or closely matches the taper of the sleeve 14, which is designed to fit within the well 40. Additionally, the slot 44 permits fluids, such as water or water-based nutrient compositions designed to maintain the tree in a healthy state as long as possible, to flow to the base of the Christmas tree. Optionally, the well 40 may include an additional button well 50 that can be used to hold nutrients for the tree or just the last vestiges of the volume of the well for holding fluid. It is not necessary for the present invention to have a button well 50.

When the sleeve 14 is fully inserted into the well 40, it is close to the bottom 36 of the base 12. Generally, however, it is spaced a very slight distance above the bottom 36 such that, for example, a sheet of paper may be inserted between the two. This close relationship permits water to flow into the well such that the tree may absorb the water. Moreover, the height of the well 40 is substantially less than the depth or height of the sidewall 28. Accordingly, when the base is filled approximately ⅔ full of water, for example, it will also overflow the upper edge 46 of the sleeve 14 and flow along the sides of the base of the Christmas tree, allowing water absorption thru the tree.

By inserting the sleeve 14 onto the base of the Christmas tree, the projections 26 bite into the tree. These same projections, which can lacerate the tree along its trunk open the bark of the trunk a bit and thus water flowing over the top of the sleeve 14, when it is inserted into well 40, also exposes the base of the tree such that it may absorb the liquid.

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of the present invention with a trimmed Christmas tree. The Christmas tree 60 has a base 62, which has been trimmed of branches and some bark (optionally). The base of the tree can be made to be circular by use, for example, of a tenon cutter. This is a device, which typically makes tenons for furniture like chairs, for example. Optionally, cotton or plastic netting 70 is stretched over the tree and is sized sufficiently to easily cover the entire tree with or without the stand. Next, the sleeve 14 is secured to the tree by sliding it over and around the base of the tree. It is not necessary that the base 62 of the Christmas tree be perfectly cylindrical, but the more cylindrical it is, the more snugly it fits into the sleeve 14, and the better and tighter the support can be. The assembly shown in FIG. 5 is for the base of the tree 62 to slide into the tapered sleeve 14 and for the tapered sleeve 14 to fit within the well 40 projecting upwardly from the base 12 as illustrated in FIG. 4. In this manner, both the retailer and the consumer have a built-in stand for supporting the tree in a vertical upright manner as is known. Once the tree is supported in an upright manner, water or water-based nutrient compositions can be used to keep the tree as healthy for as long as possible.

FIG. 6, is another alternative tree stand. The well 82 of the trees stand base is similar to that shown in FIG. 4, except the upper edge 83 of the well is tapered so that it mates with the bulb-like sleeve 80, thereby initially permitting the bulb-like sleeve to rotate within and on well 82. Like the tapered sleeve shown in FIG. 2, the bulb-like sleeve 80 has a hollow, tapered opening 88 (similar to opening 20) framed by the upper edge 86. Sleeve 80 is designed to be mounted on the base or trunk of a tree. The sleeve 80 also has projections 26 such as those shown in FIG. 3. This permits someone to more easily vertically mount a tree whose base is slightly angled compared to the remainder of the trunk. Once the tree is mounted as desired, one or more wing screws 84 can be employed to tighten and secure the bulb-like sleeve to the well.

In operation (with respect to FIGS. 1-5), a method of harvesting and packaging Christmas trees is illustrated by the present invention and comprises harvesting the Christmas tree from the field, trimming the base of the tree such that there are no lower branches, optionally encasing the entire tree in netting 7, mounting the sleeve 14 onto the base of the tree, and mounting the base of the stand 12 onto the tapered sleeve 14 by sliding the tapered sleeve 14 into the well 40. The type of netting employed for the present invention is well known to those skilled in the art and is generally plastic or cotton, but other less known materials will also suffice.

In operation (with respect to FIGS. 6 and 7), a method of harvesting and packaging Christmas trees is illustrated by the present invention and comprises harvesting the Christmas tree from the field, trimming the base of the tree such that there are no lower branches, optionally encasing the entire tree in netting 7, mounting the bulb-like sleeve 80 onto the base of the tree, and mounting the base of the stand onto the bulb-like sleeve 80 by sliding the sleeve into and on the well 82. Once the tree has been rotated to make it as vertical as possible when the stand in placed horizontally flat, the sleeve can then be secured to the well 82 by one or more wing screws 84. The type of netting employed for the present invention is well known to those skilled in the art and is generally plastic or cotton, but other less known materials will also suffice.

Thus it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the invention, a method and corresponding equipment that fully satisfies the objects, aims and advantages set forth above. While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations as fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7987816 *Jun 21, 2007Aug 2, 2011Walsh Marjorie SDual function bowl lifting and filling apparatus with interchangeable cleaning attachment
US8490328 *Jul 28, 2011Jul 23, 2013George M. GloverChristmas tree stand
Classifications
U.S. Classification47/40.5
International ClassificationA47G33/12
Cooperative ClassificationA47G2033/1286, A47G2033/124, A47G33/1226
European ClassificationA47G33/12F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 18, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: FOX CREEK INVESTMENTS, VIRGINIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BRANDES, RODDEY W.;REEL/FRAME:016200/0543
Effective date: 20050107