|Publication number||USRE43197 E1|
|Application number||US 10/319,740|
|Publication date||Feb 21, 2012|
|Filing date||Dec 12, 2002|
|Priority date||Jun 22, 1999|
|Also published as||US6158362|
|Publication number||10319740, 319740, US RE43197 E1, US RE43197E1, US-E1-RE43197, USRE43197 E1, USRE43197E1|
|Inventors||Daniel A. Culley|
|Original Assignee||S & K Holding Company, Incorporated|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (27), Classifications (20), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to planting and more particularly to apparatus for performing planting operations.
Planting of vegetation in rough terrain has long been a difficult and tedious process. In fact, most planting done on steep embankments or rocky terrain has been accomplished by hand, because mechanized planters are often not capable of negotiating the terrain. Further, bulky planting machinery can damage the surrounding area and seriously compromise the surrounding habitat.
Hand planting in steep, rocky, or otherwise rough terrain is often not successful because the conditions do not permit the planter to dig deep enough to secure the plants. Also riparian areas are typically difficult to plant because the plant stock cannot be secured deeply in the embankment to prevent high water from washing the plants away.
Re-planting vegetation along riparian ways that have been denuded by flooding is ecologically desirable, not only to bolster the shorelines against erosion, but also to re-establish fish and wildlife habitat. Still, it is difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible to successfully plant such areas. Shallow rooted whips of willow, cottonwood and the like are easily washed away at high water, or become easy forage for beaver and deer, so strenuous hand planting operations in such areas do not often result in an acceptable percentage of surviving plants.
Even flat fertile areas can be difficult to re-plant. For example, closely spaced stumps in clear cut areas will often prevent the use of mechanized planting, so expensive hand planting is often the only process available. Further, the ground may be bound with roots, rocks, or hard soil, frustrating hand planting processes.
Another problem faced in mechanized and hand planting operations, is that planting dibbles, shovels, picks and the like will often leave a hole with a packed wall caused by the tool wedging into the soil. This “shear wall” will hamper proper dispersal of roots and often results in poor or unsuccessful growth.
A present and growing need is therefor realized for a mechanized planter that will reduce, if not eliminate, the need for hand planting in difficult areas. There is also a need for a mechanized planter that will function to plant at a much greater depth than has yet been feasible in hand or mechanized planting operations, without creating the “shear wall” effect.
As a solution to the above problems, the present invention has for a first objective to provide a mechanized stinger planter that can be attached to a boom for remote operation, so difficult terrain can be planted from adjacent accessible areas.
A further objective is to provide such a planter that may be used for deep planting operations for planting whips and root crop to avoid wash out and damage from animals.
A still further objective is to provide such a planter that will operate to minimize or eliminate “shear wall” packing in planting holes and that will allow loose soil backfill to fill the openings produced by the probes and thereby promote healthy plant growth.
The above and still further objects and advantages will become apparent from the following description which, taken with the accompanying drawings, disclose the best presently known mode of carrying out the present invention.
Preferred embodiments of the invention are described below with reference to the following accompanying drawings.
This disclosure of the invention is submitted in furtherance of the constitutional purposes of the U.S. Patent Laws “to promote the progress of science and useful arts” (Article 1, Section 8).
A preferred embodiment of the present expandable stinger planter is designated generally in the drawings by the reference numeral 10. The preferred planter 10 is produced as an attachment that may be mounted to an earth working device such as the excavator 12 shown in
The present planter 10 may be mounted to an excavator bucket 16, without requiring modification of the bucket other than possibly holes drilled for mounting bolts. The planter 10 is simply secured to the bucket end and can thereby be positioned through use of the existing bucket positioning controls provided in the excavator. Further, the drive components provided within the planter may be connected to appropriate existing power sources supplied by the excavator.
In a preferred embodiment, the present planter 10 includes a base frame 20 that is configured to be secured to an excavator type boom. It is noted that the base frame may be provided in alternate forms to facilitate mounting to various forms of booms, buckets, or other boom end hardware on an excavator or related machine. The base frame 20 may be releasably attached using conventional fasteners such as bolts, clamps, or other fasteners well known in the fastening art as will be readily realized by those of ordinary skill in the art.
In one preferred form, a pivot member 24 is mounted to the base frame. It is advantageous that the pivot member 24 be a form of ball joint, universal joint, or other pivot link arrangement that will permit relatively free pivotal movement of the planter 10 below the base frame 20. It is most preferable that the pivot member 24 allow the planter 10 to pivot about a point (at intersecting vertical and horizontal pivot axes) just below the base frame to allow the operator a wide selection of penetration angles for the planter 10. This capability may be understood by comparing
A stinger mounting frame 28 is operatively mounted to the base frame 20, most preferably by way of the pivot member 24 as exemplified in
A preferred stinger 34 is comprised of a pair of elongated probes 36 that are preferably fabricated of rigid material of a type commonly used in ground working tools. The probes extend from top ends 38 that are mounted to the stinger mounting frame 28 to bottom ends 40 that are configured for ground penetration. In a preferred form, the probes 36 include a length dimension between the top and bottom ends 38, 40 of approximately eight feet. Probes 36 of this length have been successfully used to plant both rooted stock and long plant whips (cuttings).
Bottom ends 40 of the probes, which are normally held in a closed ground penetrating condition, are separable to form a plant discharge opening 42. The bottom probe ends 40 are held in the closed position during ground penetration, then may be selectively spread to allow discharge of a plant through the discharge opening 42.
The probes 36 also define an upwardly open internal plant receiving receptacle 44 (see
The probes 36 each include ground penetrating portions 46 with facing surfaces 48, 50 that are in substantial flush engagement with one another at the closed position. In preferred forms, the surfaces 48, 50 include formed edge surfaces 52, 54 (
Longitudinal reinforcing ribs 55 are welded or otherwise formed along preferred configurations of the probes 36 and that project outwardly therefrom. The ribs 55 preferably extend the full stinger length and add structural rigidity to the probes. The ribs 55 also serve to prevent “shear” or hard packed surfaces of the ground opening that might otherwise be formed as the probes are inserted and then withdrawn from the ground. It is advantageous that the ribs 55 be tapered to downward points at the bottom probe ends 40 to facilitate ground penetration.
The probes are substantially mirror images of one another with the exception of the different edge surfaces 52, 54; and overlapping hinge members 56, 58. The hinge members join the probes for pivotal movement, thereby providing a preferred mechanism by which the probes may be shifted between the open and closed positions. The hinge members 56, 58 interfit and define a probe pivot axis that is located approximately mid-way along the probe length dimension. The probe pivot axis is preferably transverse to the probe length and positioned so that when the top probe ends 38 are moved together, the bottom ends 40 will move apart (to form the discharge opening 42).
It is noted that the hinge members are substantially flush with the outside surfaces of the probes so they do not interfere as the probes are inserted into the ground surface. Also the hinge members 56 are situated on opposite sides of the probes, as shown in
The preferred actuator assembly is comprised of ram cylinders 62 that are mounted between the probe top ends 38 and the stinger mounting frame 28. The ram cylinders 62 may be connected to appropriate hydraulic pressure sources and controls provided in the excavator for selective operation to extend and retract, thereby causing corresponding movement of the bottom probe ends 40 between the open and closed positions.
As shown in the
It is understood that a single cylinder could be mounted between the upper probe ends to effect the desired probe movement between the open and closed positions. Other actuators might also be used that are not shown in the present drawings, but that fall within the scope of the appended claims. For example toggle links could be connected to the top probe ends, operated by an electric or hydraulic jack screw, linear actuator, or ram cylinder to force selective pivotal motion of the probes. However it is presently preferred that the two cylinders exemplified herein be used to enable independent movement of the probes about their common pivot axis.
Preferred forms of the probes also include upper leg portions 68 that extend between the probe pivot axis and the top ends 38. The upper leg portions are spaced apart when the probes are in the closed positions to form at least one and preferably two opposed access openings 70 communicating with the upwardly open internal plant receiving receptacle 44. The openings 70 allow for manual insertion of plants or whips into the receptacle.
Operation of the present invention may now be understood with reference to
The excavator operator may elect to move the excavator using the conventional controls and drive mechanisms, to an area to be planted. The boom is then shifted to a position for easy access by an individual who then places a plant (seedling or whip) into the receptacle 44. This is accomplished by simply inserting the plant through one of the access openings, and allowing the plant to drop into place within the recess. The closed bottom ends of the probes will prevent the plant from dropping, and the rigid lower parts of the probes will protect the plant.
Now the operator may use the conventional controls in the excavator to swing the boom and planter to a selected planting location. The boom is then lowered under power, driving the probes deep into the ground (
If rocks are encountered, the user may shift the boom to angle the probe off vertical, while continuing downward pressure.
Once the probe reaches the desired depth, appropriate controls may be operated to activate the actuator assembly 60, causing the probes to open (
The operator may now use appropriate controls in the excavator 12 to raise the boom 14 and thereby lift the probe upwardly. This step is accomplished with the probes in the open condition. The plant will remain elevationally stationary as the probes are raised (
It is noted that the ground at the bottom probe ends is pushed laterally away, enlarging the ground opening. Then, as the probes are lifted (while being held in the open position) the longitudinal ribs 55 function to break up the compressed earth and allow the now loosened soil to fill the hole. Thus “shear” or compaction of the soil about walls of the opening is avoided and the plant will have a better chance for successful starting in the surrounding loosened soil.
Once the probes have been pulled upwardly free of the ground and the top end of the plant has cleared the probe bottom ends 40, the operator may operate the actuator assembly 60 to close the probes in preparation for receiving the next plant.
The above planting process may be repeated as often as desired with the excavator basically remaining in one position. When an adequate number of plants have been placed, the user may elect to move the excavator to another location where the above steps may be repeated.
It may be understood from the above, that the present invention provides a mechanized stinger planter that can be attached to a boom for remote operation, so difficult terrain can be planted from adjacent accessible areas. In fact,
It may be further understood that the present planter may be used for deep planting operations for planting whips and root crop to avoid wash out and damage from animals. The depth is selected by the operator, and may be such that only a small part of the overall plant length is exposed above the ground surface. The plant is thus protected against wash out. Further, even if foraging animals eat the tops of the plants, the bulk of the plant will remain below grade and will stand a good chance to take root and survive.
It may also be understood that the present planter will operate to minimize or eliminate “shear wall” packing in planting holes and will allow loose soil to backfill the opening produced by the probes to promote healthy plant growth. This is an advantage, as described above, provided by the ribs 55 which break up the compacted soil as the probes are lifted.
In compliance with the statute, the invention has been described in language more or less specific as to structural and methodical features. It is to be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the specific features shown and described, since the means herein disclosed comprise preferred forms of putting the invention into effect. The invention is, therefore, claimed in any of its forms or modifications within the proper scope of the appended claims appropriately interpreted in accordance with the doctrine of equivalents.
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|U.S. Classification||111/117, 111/102, 414/912, 37/403, 111/115, 37/406, 111/101|
|International Classification||A01C5/04, A01C11/00, A01B13/00, A01G23/04|
|Cooperative Classification||Y10S414/125, A01G23/04, A01C5/04, A01C11/00, A01B13/00|
|European Classification||A01G23/04, A01C5/04, A01B13/00, A01C11/00|
|Mar 5, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: NORTHWEST REVEGETATION AND ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION,
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CULLEY, DANIEL A.;CULLEY, CATHLEEN A.;REEL/FRAME:013813/0429
Effective date: 20021205
|Oct 22, 2004||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: DANIEL A. CULLEY, WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NORTHWEST REVEGETATION AND ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION, INC.;REEL/FRAME:015279/0462
Effective date: 20041015
|May 6, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: S&K HOLDING COMPANY, INCORPORATED, MONTANA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CULLEY, DANIEL A.;REEL/FRAME:016195/0607
Effective date: 20050427
|Apr 16, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12
|Aug 3, 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: S&K TECHNOLOGIES, INC., MONTANA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:S&K HOLDING;REEL/FRAME:036236/0270
Effective date: 20150729
|Aug 7, 2015||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: WILDLANDS, INC, WASHINGTON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:S&K TECHNOLOGIES, INC;REEL/FRAME:036281/0735
Effective date: 20150807