Title:
HORTICULTURAL NONWOVEN SUBSTRATE AND SIDE MAT
United States Patent 3866352


Abstract:
A horticultural substrate and side mat combination in which a substantially horizontally extending three-dimensional random-fiber nonwoven mat of rotproof synthetic fibers is situated beneath the soil accommodating the roots, and said soil being laterally surrounded by a substantially vertically extending three-dimensional random-fiber mat.



Inventors:
Herveling, Wilhelm (Wuppertal, DT)
Birker, Alfred (Neviges-Donberg, DT)
Langefeld, Siegfried (Wuppertal, DT)
Daimler, Berthold H. (Remscheid-Lennep, DT)
Fett, Gunter (Wuppertal, DT)
Dickersbach, Irmgard (Wuppertal, DT)
Application Number:
05/310981
Publication Date:
02/18/1975
Filing Date:
11/30/1972
Assignee:
AKZONA INCORPORATED
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
428/117, 442/400
International Classes:
A01G9/02; (IPC1-7): A01G9/02
Field of Search:
47/9,56,34,37,38,38.1 161
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3691004N/A1972-09-12Werner et al.
3233365Soilless plant culture substrate1966-02-08Bergann
3158957Insulated plant container1964-12-01Sierke
2814161Plant receptacle1957-11-26Hawkins
2514269Flowerpot1950-07-04Wilberschied
2346029Plant watering apparatus1944-04-04Jennings
1912914Plant cultivating and distributing apparatus and method1933-06-06O'Brien
0923663N/A1909-06-01



Primary Examiner:
Bagwill, Robert E.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Young, Francis Hall Jack W. H.
Claims:
1. A horticultural nonwoven horizontal substrate combined with a substantially vertical nonwoven side mat, said substrate and said side mat being a unitary three-dimensional random fibrous nonwoven porous structure of rot-proof synthetic fibers forming a continuous aeration zone when placed beneath and around soil accommodating plant roots, said rot-proof fibers consisting essentially of a plurality of looped, intersecting and substantially amorphous filaments of melt-spun synthetic polymers bonded together at their intersection, wherein the surfaces of said mat and said substrate which are in contact with said soil have a lower porosity than the sides that do not contact said soil, said lower porosity being sufficiently low to prevent substantial penetration of soil into said

2. A horticultural nonwoven horizontal substrate combined with a substantially vertical nonwoven side mat according to claim 1 wherein said surfaces contacting said soil have a porosity of from 50 to 70 percent and the remaining surfaces in contact with said soil have a porosity of from

3. A horticultural nonwoven horizontal substrate combined with a vertical nonwoven side mat extending upwardly from said substrate, said combination being adapted to contain soil within the inside surfaces of said substrate and side mat, means beneath said horizontal substrate and outwardly of said vertical side mat to support the same, said substrate and said side mat being three-dimensional random fibrous nonwoven porous structures of rot-proof synthetic fibers, the surfaces of said substrate and side mat contacting the soil having lower porosity than the surfaces not contacting the soil, said structures conforming to the internal shape of said support means and forming an aeration zone when placed beneath and around soil accomodating plant roots within said structures, said support means being in supporting contact with said combined substrate and side mat, whereby soil is substantially prevented from penetrating into said aeration zone.

4. A planter combination for the hydrocultural growth of plant life comprising a substantially horizontal base layer composed of a porous filamentary web situated below a root zone of a growing plant, a secondary approximately vertically positioned porous filamentary web extending upwardly from said base layer, said horizontal and vertical webs at least partially surrounding said root zone and a water-permeable growing medium contained by said horizontal and vertical webs for the development and growth of said plant, each of said webs consisting essentially of continuous filaments of a melt-spun, substantially amorphous fiber-forming synthetic polymer, which filaments are resistant to rotting and decomposition under plant growing conditions, a plurality of said filaments of each of said webs being looped in adjacent rows for random intersection of overlapping loops with adherence at their points of intersection to form a retaining wall for said water-permeable growing medium, said horizontal base and vertically positioned web, said horizontal base and vertically positioned web being three-dimensional random fibrous nonporous structures, the surfaces of said structures contacting said growing medium having a lower porosity than those that do not contact said growing medium, said lower porosity being sufficiently low to prevent substantial penetration of said growing medium into said

5. A planter combination according to claim 4 wherein said surfaces contacting said growing medium have a porosity of from 50 to 70 percent, and said surfaces not contacting said soil having a porosity of from 85 to 95 percent.

Description:
This invention is directed to horticultural nonwoven substrates in which a substantially horizontally extending three-dimensional random-fiber nonwoven of rotproof synthetic fibers is situated beneath the soil accommodating the roots and in combination with side mat of said fibers.

German Utility Models 7,023,734 and 7,023,735 relate to a horticultural substrate for water cultures in which the bottom of the container accommodating the soil is covered by a three-dimensional random-fiber nonwoven of rotproof synthetic fibers. The object of this insert is to remove the unwanted water from the soil. It collects beneath the soil in the cavities in the nonwoven insert.

It has been found that excess water collecting in the insert at the bottom of the container frequently results in rotting of the roots because it cannot be removed and because the roots receive hardly any air.

An object of this invention is to enable the excess water collecting at the bottom of the container to evaporate without having to pass through the soil.

Another object of the invention is to aerate the roots really effectively from all sides.

According to this invention, the preceding objects are achieved through use of a horticultural substrate in which a substantially horizontally extending three-dimensional random-fiber nonwoven mat of rot proof synthetic fibers is situated beneath the soil accommodating the roots, said substrate being in combination with laterally surrounding substantially vertically extending three-dimensional random-fibers nonwoven side mat to form around the said soil and aeration zone through which the excess moisture escapes, atmospheric oxygen penetrates and, at the same time, the entire root area is exposed to substantially the same conditions.

Following insertion of this vertical insert, plant growth was considerably improved. Young plants grew much more quickly and were much stronger in the horticultural substrate prepared in accordance with the invention than plants of the kind which, by way of comparison, grew in horticultural substrate provided only with a horizontal insert. Following insertion of the horizontal and vertical insert into the flower pots or flower boxes, established plants showed a distinct increase in stalk diameter and the new leaves and blooms were distinctly larger. In the case of cacti, for example, the stem cross sections were increased by up to 30 percent.

It is preferred to use a horticultural substrate in which the substantially horizontally extending random-fiber nonwoven and the substantially vertically extending random-fiber nonwoven consist of a plurality of looped, intersecting and substantially amorphous filaments of melt-spun polymers which are bonded together at their intersections. In addition to a remarkably high cavity volume, random-fiber nonwovens of this kind also withstand heavy stressing.

In one preferred embodiment, the sides of the random fiber nonwoven side mat insert facing the soil have a lower porosity than the remaining zones of the insert. More particularly, the porosity of the sides facing the soil should amount to between 50 and 70 percent, while the remaining zones have a porosity of from 85 to 95 percent. In the context of the invention, porosity is the percentage ratio of cavity volume to overall volume of the non-woven insert.

The preferred fleece or web structures are formed in accordance with the processes disclosed in detail in the U.S. Pat. No. 3,691,004 and No. 3,687,759, which are incorporated herein by reference as fully as if set forth in their entirety.

The embodiment just described largely prevents the penetration of soil into the drainage and aeration zone.

In the case of flower pots, a preferred embodiment is one in which the bottom of the flower pot is covered with a circular random-fiber nonwoven insert adapted to the shape of the flower pot upon which is placed a hollow cylindrical random-fiber nonwoven insert similarly adapted to the shape of the flower pot.

It has been found that, in cases where overpots are used there is no need at all for the actual flower pot of clay or foamed plastics. In this case, the nonwoven inserts have dimensions and shapes adapted to the overpot.

In the case of flower boxes, a preferred embodiment is one in which the substantially horizontally extending random-fiber nonwoven mat and the substantially vertically extending random-fiber nonwoven side mat are in the form of a single, substantially U-shaped nonwoven structure which is open at its ends. It is of course also possible to produce a corresponding insert of one base plate and two side plates or additionally to close the ends with specially tailored plates. However, the lateral nonwoven inserts are sufficient because they provide for extremely effective aeration.

In the case of plants grown in greenhouses or in the open, a preferred embodiment of the horticultural substrate is one in which the root soil resting on a random-fiber nonwoven is interrupted by substantially vertically extending nonwoven structures. To this end, for example, horizontal nonwoven mats are laid, strips of nonwoven arranged parallel to one another are then mounted vertically on the mats and the intermediate space filled with soil. The vertical aeration and drainage system can of course also consist of intersecting strips of nonwoven which can be inserted into one another to form a lattice.

The nonwoven mat of this invention can consist of any synthetic filament-forming polymeric materials providing they are rotproof. Polyamide is preferred. Additional polymers that can be utilized include, for example, polyesters, polypropylene and polyvinylchloride.

The invention is illustrated by way of example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a section through a flower pot with a horticultural substrate according to the invention.

FIG. 2 is a section through a flower pot or flower box equipped in accordance with the invention with a multiple-part insert.

FIG. 3 shows a one-piece insert for flower boxes consisting of a horizontal and vertical nonwoven.

FIG. 4 is a section through a nonwoven insert whose porosity decreases towards the soil.

FIG. 5 is a section through a greenhouse or open-air substrate with one horizontal nonwoven structure and several vertical nonwoven structures.

As shown in FIG. 1, a flower pot 1 is equipped according to the invention with a nonwoven insert 2 consisting of a substantially horizontally extending random-fiber nonwoven 2" and a substantially vertically extending random-fiber nonwoven 2'. The nonwoven insert 2 accommodates the soil 3 with the roots 4 of the plant 5.

FIG. 2 is a section through a cylindrical flower pot 6 whose base is covered by a circular random-fiber nonwoven insert 8. The soil 3 is laterally surrounded by a cylindrical random-fiber nonwoven insert 7.

The section could also be taken through a flower box in which case 8 would be a horizontal mat, while 7 would be vertical mats for better aeration and drainage.

FIG. 3 shows an insert for flower boxes. It is in one piece, in other words the vertically extending random-fiber non-woven 9' and the horizontally extending random-fiber nonwoven 9" are in the form of a single substantially U-shaped nonwoven structure 9. The ends of this nonwoven structure can be closed with plates cut to the appropriate size or can be left open.

FIG. 4 shows one preferred embodiment of an aeration and drainage insert used in accordance with the invention. At the sides 10" facing the soil, the random-fiber nonwoven insert 10 has a lower porosity than the remaining zones 10' thereof.

Finally, FIG. 5 illustrates the use of vertical aeration and drainage mats in greenhouses or in the open. In this case, the soil 3 which rests on a horizontal mat 11 is interrupted at regular intervals by vertical mats 12. The effect obtained is similar to that obtained in flower boxes. Other strips of matting can of course also be arranged perpendicularly of the vertical mats 12 so that a lattice-like aeration and drainage system is formed. The effect obtained in this case is comparable with that obtained in the case of flower pots.

The present invention can be varied within the scope of the present total specification as it would be construed by one skilled in the art in assessing equivalent variations that would function to achieve essentially the same results as herein exemplified.