This patent application is related to and claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 62/113,026 filed Feb. 6, 2015.
The present invention relates, in general, to enhanced outdoor plant growing and, more particularly, this invention relates to a ground level concave weed-preventing shield covering a portion of the root area of an outdoor plant.
Prior to the conception and development of the present invention, the area surrounding plants such as tomatoes have been prone to competing weed growth, and the plants do not grow as well in an environment that is cool, dry, and lacking nutrients. Mulch mats and tree mats are commercially available and appear similar superficially, but are somewhat expensive, especially if a considerable number are wanted. Also, they are generally circular and permeable to water.
Prior art patents such as U.S. Pat. No. 3,305,969 to Mattson disclose a circular plant protector collar with a slot from the outer perimeter to a central orifice. The '969 patent teaches a device having a flat bottom and a concave upper surface. The flat bottom does not grip the soil and permits sliding around, especially in heavy rain. Also, much more material is required to make it and multiple units are not amenable to nesting for storage. U.S. Pat. No. 2,949,698 discloses a porous mulch pad with flat top and bottom. In U.S. Pat. No. 3,704,004, Carter teaches a flat collar for surrounding a post. This type will leave puddles of water that can attract mosquitoes. U.S. Patent Application 2014/0325903 discloses an embedded plant collar that is mostly down in the soil with a flat flange around the top edge. All four patents or applications are for devices primarily to prevent vegetation growth in the covered area. Except for Mattson, they do not address funneling water and fertilizer, nor heat and water retention. In addition, all but Carter are circular and would not significantly increase water collection area if placed on top of a circular growing container. Carter would droop over the sides and also not increase water collection.
The present invention provides a substantially rectangular and low-profile impermeable opaque shield that can be fitted around an in-ground plant at ground level as enabled by a keyhole-like slot and center aperture. An edge normal to a top panel extends downward around most of the perimeter. The top panel is generally concave and inclined toward the central aperture.
In a less-preferred alternative embodiment, the apparatus is split into two substantially identical halves that slide around a plant stem and interlock or abut to cover an area around a plant stem or plants in a row with a central indentation.
It is, therefore, one of the primary objects of the present invention to provide a durable, attractive and inexpensive device that substantially surrounds an in-ground plant and enhances plant growth in numerous ways while inhibiting weeds.
Another object of the present invention by virtue of its impervious and dark-colored top is to maintain a warmer and moister environment around a plant and its roots than would otherwise be there.
Still another object of the present invention is to provide a simple low-cost reusable apparatus that, whether one piece or cut into two, readily slips around an existing plant stem and eliminates weed growth in the substantial covered area.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a multitude of durable low-maintenance ground-gripping weed shields that can be used year after year and nest together for compact storage.
An additional objective is to the channel rainwater in toward the plant root system, especially when used with a potted-plant container wherein the shield covers much more area than the top of the container.
In addition to the various objects and advantages of the present invention described with some degree of specificity above, it should be obvious that additional objects and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent to those persons who are skilled in the relevant art from the following more detailed description of the invention, particularly, when such description is taken in conjunction with the attached drawing figures.
Prior to proceeding to the more detailed description of the present invention it should be noted that, for the sake of clarity and understanding, identical components which have identical functions have been identified with identical reference numerals throughout the several views illustrated in the drawing figures.
Referring initially to
While a presently preferred and an alternative embodiments of the present invention have been described in sufficient detail above, and in the attached claims, to enable a person skilled in the relevant art to make and use the same, it should be obvious that various other adaptations and modifications can be envisioned by those persons skilled in such art without departing from the spirit of the invention.
|2949698||Downey et al.||Aug 1960||A|
|3704004||Carter, Jr.||Nov 1972||A|
|20170223906 A1||Aug 2017||US|