Title:
Support for plants, fences and the like
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A support for plants or fences or the like has a lower portion configured for insertion into an underlying soil layer and an upper portion that telescopes within the lower portion. The upper portion has a reinforced end that is useful in transmitting impact force to an anvil member in the lower portion to drive it well into the soil layer. Subsequently, the upper portion is fixed in axial relation with the lower portion to obtain a support extending to a predetermined height above the soil layer.



Inventors:
Zayeratabat, Esmail (San Jose, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/938230
Publication Date:
03/16/2006
Filing Date:
09/10/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D5/74
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FONSECA, JESSIE T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Henry M. Stanley (Boulder Creek, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A support for insertion in underlying soil, comprising an upper elongate tubular member having a tubular wall and inner and outer wall surfaces and opposing ends, means for reinforcing said tubular wall on each of said opposing ends, a lower elongate tubular member having a tubular wall and upper and lower ends, said upper end having an opening for receiving said upper elongate tubular member in telescoping relation, an impact absorbing member on said lower member lower end for contact by one of said upper member opposing ends, a ground entry member extending beyond said lower member lower end, and adjustable means for releasably fixing said upper and lower elongate tubular members in predetermined axial relation.

2. A support as in claim 1, wherein said means for reinforcing comprises, at least three inwardly extending tubular wall portions on each of said opposing ends.

3. A support as in claim 1, wherein said means for reinforcing comprises, a plug fixed on each of said opposing ends.

4. A support as in claim 1, wherein said ground entry member comprises, a pair of opposing depending members on said lower end formed by opposing segmented openings therein, and a compressed lower end so that said opposing depending members fill said opposing segmented openings to form a lower end wedge.

5. A support as in claim 4, wherein said impact absorbing member comprises, an anvil within said lower end.

6. A support as in claim 1, wherein said impact absorbing member comprises, an anvil within said lower end, and wherein said ground entry member comprises, at least three inwardly extending tubular wall portions on said lower end.

7. A support as in claim 1, wherein said impact absorbing member comprises, a solid of revolution, said solid of revolution having radial recesses in the surface thereof, and pressed portions of said tubular wall within said radial recesses.

8. A support as in claim 1, wherein said ground entry member comprises, a substantially cone shaped portion.

9. A support as in claim 8, comprising screw threads on said substantially cone shaped portion.

10. A support as in claim 1, comprising a continuous water passage extending through said impact absorbing member and said ground entry member.

11. A support as in claim 1, wherein said lower end has at least one water escapement orifice adjacent said impact absorbing member.

12. A support as in claim 1, wherein said ground entry member and said impact absorbing member comprise, an integral lower member, and a weldment attaching said impact absorbing member to said lower end.

13. A support for insertion in an underlying soil surface, comprising an upper stake having an upper end and a lower end, a lower stake having a lower end, and an upper opening for receiving said upper stake in telescoping relation, an impact portion on said upper stake lower end, an impact absorbing portion on said lower stake lower end exposed to said upper stake impact portion, a ground entry member adjacent to and extending below said impact absorbing portion, whereby impact imparted by said impact portion to said impact absorbing portion drives said ground entry member into the underlying soil surface, and means for releasably fixing said upper and lower stakes in predetermined telescoped relation.

14. A support as in claim 13, wherein said upper stake comprises, a tubular member having a tubular wall, and wherein said impact portion comprises, at least three inwardly extending tubular wall portions.

15. A support as in claim 13, wherein said upper stake comprises, a tubular member, and wherein said impact portion comprises, a plug fixed within said tubular member lower end.

16. A support as in claim 13, wherein said impact absorbing portion comprises, an anvil within said upper opening.

17. A support as in claim 13, wherein said lower stake has a tubular wall, and wherein said impact absorbing member comprises, a solid of revolution, said solid of revolution having radial recesses in the surface thereof, and pressed portions of said tubular wall within said radial recesses.

18. A support as in claim 13, wherein said ground entry member comprises, a substantially cone shaped portion.

19. A support as in claim 18, comprising screw threads on said substantially cone shaped portion.

20. A support as in claim 13, wherein said lower stake lower end has at least one water escapement orifice.

21. A support for entry into underlying soil for plants, fences and the like, comprising a ground entry member having a tubular body having a wall with an inside dimension and an open upper end, an anvil member attached to said ground entry member at a lower end and being accessible through said open upper end, an upper support member having an outer dimension for sliding fit within said ground entry member inside dimension, a lower impact end on said upper support member for imparting impact force to said anvil member, a lower end on said anvil member extending from said ground entry member having a shape to facilitate entry into the underlying soil resulting from said impact force, and means for releasably fixing said upper support member in axial position within said ground entry member.

22. A support as in claim 21, wherein said lower end on said anvil member has at least one water escapement orifice.

23. A support as in claim 21, wherein a continuous water passage extends through said anvil member and said lower end thereon.

24. A support as in claim 21, wherein said upper support member comprises, a tubular body, and wherein said lower impact end thereon comprises, at least three inwardly extending wall portions on said tubular body.

25. A support as in claim 21, wherein said upper support member comprises, a tubular body with an opposing upper end, and at least three inwardly extending wall portions on said tubular body at both said lower impact end and said opposing upper end.

26. A support as in claim 21, wherein said upper support member comprises, a tubular body with an opposing upper end, and a plug fixed in said tubular body at both said lower impact end and said opposing upper end.

27. A support as in claim 21, wherein said upper support member comprises, a tubular body, and wherein said lower impact end thereon comprises, a plug fixed in said tubular body.

28. A support as in claim 21, wherein said anvil member comprises, a solid of revolution having radial recesses in the surface thereof, and pressed portions of said tubular body wall within said radial recesses.

29. A support as in claim 21, wherein said lower end on said anvil member comprises, a substantially cone shaped portion.

30. A support as in claim 29, comprising screw threads on said substantially cone shaped portion, and means for turning said ground entry member to advance said screw threads into the underlying soil.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is related to apparatus for supporting and/or irrigating and feeding plants ranging from small shrubs or flowers to large trees. The invention may also be used to support flags or fences.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A variety of irrigation apparatus types are available for use in watering and/or feeding plants and trees. One such device is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,996,279 issued to the inventor in this disclosure. The apparatus disclosed in the '279 patent is used to provide measured amounts of water and nutrients to a deep rooted plant's root system. A preferred embodiment utilizes a downwardly projecting cylindrical stem inserted into the ground. Generally, the device is placed within a hole that is dug out beforehand, although the stem is stated to allow “easy introduction of the apparatus into the ground”. In an upper portion of the stem is a mixing chamber wherein water is introduced to mix with plant food and, by the force of gravity, the water and nutrients are delivered to the region surrounding the plant's root system. The water and nutrients are allowed to dissipate into the surrounding soil.

In U.S. Pat. No. 6,299,125, also issued to the instant inventor, structure is described for supporting plants and small trees to assure straight and healthy stem and trunk growth in the plants until the plants reach a self-support stage. Plant feeding features are described for the stakes, as well as stake stabilizing structure, to provide sufficient strength in the structure for accomplishing the intended purpose.

Another U.S. Pat. No. 6,523,302, also issued to the instant inventor, describes a unitary garden stake supporting growing plants that has an upper anvil end and a lower wedge shaped end, wherein both the anvil and the wedge shaped end are formed utilizing formation of the wall of the tube from which the stake is fabricated. The stake of the '302 patent is designed to be inserted wedge-end first into a soil layer by applying impact blows to the anvil end of the stake.

It appears to be advantageous to provide a support stake for plants, trees, fences and the like, which may be readily inserted into an underlying soil surface with impact blows provided by the inertia of an upper member of the stake itself, or by hammer blows applied to the upper member of the stake, while providing deep root watering and plant feeding capability as well as final support stake length adjustment.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A support is provided for insertion in an underlying soil layer wherein an upper elongate tubular member has a tubular wall as well as inner and other wall surfaces and opposing ends. Means is provided for reinforcing the tubular wall on each of the opposing ends of the upper member. A lower elongate tubular member has a tubular wall and upper and lower member ends. The upper end has an opening for receiving the upper elongate tubular member in telescoping relation. An impact absorbing member is provided on the lower end of the lower member and is disposed to be contact by one of the opposing ends of the upper member. A ground entry member extends beyond the lower end of the lower member and adjustable means is provided for releasably fixing the upper and lower elongate tubular members in predetermined axial relation, once the lower member is inserted into the soil layer.

In another aspect of the invention, a support is provided for insertion in an underlying soil surface wherein an upper stake has an upper end and a lower end and a lower stake has a lower end and an upper opening for receiving the upper stake in telescoping relation. An impact portion is provided on the lower end of the upper stake and an impact absorbing portion is provided on the lower stake lower end exposed to the upper stake impact portion. A ground entry member is provided adjacent to and extending below the impact absorbing portion. In this fashion, impact imparted by the impact portion to the impact absorbing portion drives the ground entry member into the underlying soil surface. Additionally, means is provided for releasably fixing the upper and lower stakes in predetermined telescoped relation.

In yet another aspect of the invention, a support is provided for entry into underlying soil for supporting plants, fences and the like. The support includes a ground entry member having a tubular body with a wall having an inside dimension and an open upper end. An anvil member is attached to the ground entry member at a lower end thereof, and is accessible through the open upper end. An upper support member has an outer dimension for sliding fit within the ground entry member inside dimension. A lower impact end on the upper support member is provided for imparting impact force to the anvil member. A lower end on the anvil member extends from the ground entry member and has a shape that facilitates entry into the underlying soil resulting from the impact force. Further, means is provided for releasably fixing the upper support member in axial position within the ground entry member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a section of one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1B is a detail of another embodiment of the support stake.

FIG. 2A is a view along the line 2A-2A of FIG. 1A.

FIG. 2B is a view along the line 2B-2B of FIG. 1B.

FIG. 3 is a perspective of one embodiment of a stake length adjustment collar.

FIG. 4 is a perspective of one embodiment of a ground entry member useful in the present invention.

FIG. 4A is a partial section of the lower end of the lower portion of the stake of the present invention.

FIG. 4B is an alternative embodiment of the lower end of the lower portion of the stake of the present invention.

FIG. 4C is another section of the lower end of the lower portion of the stake of the present invention.

FIG. 4D is yet another embodiment of the lower end of the lower stake portion of the present invention.

FIG. 4E is an additional embodiment of the lower end of the lower stake portion of the present invention.

FIG. 5A is a partial section of still another lower end of the lower stake member of the present invention.

FIG. 5B is a further detail of an embodiment of the lower end of the lower stake portion of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In many cases, unless an underlying soil layer is soft and porous, it is difficult to insert a plant support member or a plant feeder into the ground without first clearing a hole in the soil to accept the member. One preferred embodiment of the present invention that addresses this problem is seen at 10 in FIG. 1A of the drawings. An upper support member 11 is positioned within the inner diameter of a lower support member 12. A collar 13 surrounds the upper support member 11 having a flared lower diameter that is sufficient to surround the upper end of the lower support member 12 when moved downwardly from the disengaged position shown in FIG. 1A. The lower end of the lower support member 12 has an impact absorbing member 14 fixed thereto in various manners, as will be hereinafter described. Impact absorbing member 14 has a ground entry portion 16 extending from the lower end of the lower support member 12 that facilitates entry of the lower member 12 into an underlying soil layer when force is imparted to the impact absorbing member 14. Force may be imparted to the impact absorbing member 14 by withdrawing the upper support member 11a distance within the lower support member inner diameter, and driving it by hand downwardly to strike the impact absorbing member 14 with the lower end 11a on the upper support member. Alternatively, the lower end 11a is placed in contact with the impact absorbing member 14 as shown in FIG. 1A, and hammer blows are delivered to the opposing end 11b at the upper end of the upper support member 11. As further seen in FIG. 1A, a pair of holes 17 are formed in the wall of the tubular lower support member 12 adjacent to the position where the impact absorbing member 14 is attached to the lower support member.

Once the lower support member 12 is driven a sufficient distance into the underlying soil layer, the upper support member is fixed in axial position within the lower support member 12 by means of the collar 13 and a pair of set screws 18 and 19, as seen in FIG. 3. Collar 13 is lowered from the position seen in FIG. 1A, so that the flared diameter thereof surrounds the upper edge of the lower support member 12. Set screw 19 is configured to match threads in a hole 21 (FIG. 3) to fix the collar in position relative to the lower support member 12. The position of the upper support member 11 is then adjusted axially within the inner diameter of the lower support member 12 to provide the desired height of the upper end of the upper support member 11 over the underlying soil surface. At this point, set screw 18 is threaded into a hole 22 threaded to accepted set screw 18, and brought to bear against the outside diameter of the upper support stake 11. As a result, upper and lower support members 11 and 12 are fixed in a desired axial relationship to give the support assembly the desired extension length above the underlying soil surface. As an alternative embodiment to the use of the collar 13, a threaded key 23 is configured to engage threads in a hole 24 in the upper portion of the lower support member 12. As a result, when the upper support member 11 is placed in a desired position, it is releasably fixed in that position by pressure against the outside diameter of upper support member 11 exerted by the threaded key 23.

As described in the '302 patent mentioned in the background of the invention herein, the lower and upper ends 11a and 11b of the upper support member 11 are formed in one embodiment to take on the configuration shown in FIG. 2A. In this instance, the upper support member is fabricated from a single piece of tubing having a tubular body with a wall thickness as shown in FIG. 2A. The upper support member 11 has a length that is appropriate for the specific purpose of the support assembly 10. The tubular stock utilized for the support member of this invention must be formable either by mechanical means or by heat means. As shown in FIGS. 1A and 2A, ends 11a and 11b are formed by crimping the ends of a tubular body at 90° arc spacings around the circumference of the tubular body. The tubular walls are crimped to an extent that portions of the inside diameter of the tubular wall may abut or come into contact. As seen in FIG. 1A, the lower end 11a of the upper support member 11 is configured similarly to the upper end 11b shown in FIG. 2A. As further disclosed in the '302 patent, the ends 11a and 11b on the upper support member may be formed by crimping the upper end of the tubular upper support member at three points separated by 120° of arc.

An alternative embodiment for the opposing ends 11a and 11b of the upper support member is shown in FIG. 1B. The ends of the upper support member 11 have plugs 11c and 11d (not shown) fixed therein to provide reinforcement of the upper support member at the lower end that contacts the anvil member 14 and, if necessary, at the upper end for absorbing hammer blows delivered thereto. FIG. 2B is a section showing the manner in which the plugs 11c and 11d (not shown) are fixed in the opposing ends of the upper support member 11.

FIG. 4 shows the impact absorbing member 14 formed as a solid of revolution. The impact absorbing member may have an impact receiving pad 26 and one or more recesses 27a and 27b, recessed radially from a surface 28 that is sized for a friction fit within the lower end of the lower support member 12. The ground entry portion 16 of the impact absorbing member may have a substantially conical shape or any convenient shape to facilitate entry of the ground entry portion 16 into the underlying soil surface.

With reference now to FIG. 4A, a detail is shown in section of one preferred manner in which the impact absorbing member 14 is affixed to the lower end of the lower support member 12. It should be noted that there are portions 12a of the tubular wall of the lower support member 12 that are pressed into the radial recesses 27a and 27b in FIG. 4A.

FIG. 4B shows that the pad 26 may or may not be included in the impact absorbing member 14. Inclusion of the pad 26 depends upon the type of reinforced end formed on the upper support member I1. The ends represented by the item numbers 11a and 11b may cause the pad 26 to be of some advantage, while the use of the plugs 11c and 11d (not shown) may render the presence of the pad 26 less advantageous. FIG. 4B shows a continuous open channel 30 extending through the impact absorbing member 14 and through the surface of the ground entry portion 16 to allow water or other fluids to drain from the bottom of the lower support member 12 into the surrounding soil. FIG. 4C shows the impact absorbing member 14 being attached to the lower end of the lower support member 12 by means of a weldment 29. The aforementioned moisture drain hole 17 is seen in FIG. 4C together with the impact absorbing member 14 and the ground entry portion 16 extending from the lower end of the lower support member 12.

With reference now to FIG. 4D, the impact absorbing member 14 is shown with a plurality of radial recesses 31 in the surface 28 that is friction fit within the inside diameter of the tubular lower support member 12. The recesses 31 are distinct from the recesses 27a and 27b seen in the previous figures in that they are not continuous around the circumference of the surface 28 of the impact absorbing member 14. Portions of the tubular wall at the lower end of the lower support member 12 are pressed into the discrete radial recesses 31, as shown in FIG. 4D, to fix the impact absorbing member 14 in the lower end of the lower support member 12 with the ground entry portion 16 extending out of the end thereof FIG. 4E shows the ground entry portion 16 of the impact absorbing member 14 having a coarse thread 32 formed on the surface of the ground entry portion 16. The purpose of the coarse thread 32 is to allow the impact absorbing member 14 and consequently the attached lower support member 12 to be inserted into an underlying soil layer by turning the lower support member 12 to advance the threads 32 into the soil when the soil is of an appropriate consistency. As a result, the lower support member 12 may be inserted into the ground by delivering impact force to the impact absorbing member 14 or by turning the lower support member 12 in an appropriate rotational direction.

In those instances where the consistency of the underlying soil layer is appropriate, the impact absorbing member 14 may take the shape of the member 14a seen in FIG. 5A. Note in FIG. 5A that the lower end of the lower support member 12 is configured similarly to the ends 11a and 11b of the upper support member 11 as described in conjunction with FIG. 2A. In the configuration seen in FIG. 5A, the lower end of the lower support member is designated by item number 16a for the ground entry portion, requiring a relatively soft underlying soil layer to be effective. FIG. 5A also shows the optional pad 26 and the moisture drain holes 17 adjacent to the impact absorbing member 14a.

An alternative embodiment for the lower end of the lower support member 12 will be described in conjunction with FIG. 5B. The lower support member 12 is shown with an impact absorbing member 14a lodged in the inside diameter of the lower support member where the inside diameter begins to diminish as a result of formation of an alternative ground entry portion 16c in FIG. 5B. Impact absorbing member 14a and the diminishing inside diameter of the lower support member 12 at the lower end are shown in phantom lines in FIG. 5B. The ground entry portion 16c is formed by initially removing a segment from opposing sides of the lower end of the lower support member 12 tubular body as described in the referenced '302 patent. The removal of the segments provides two depending wall sections of the tubular body. The depending wall sections are compressed together to close the openings formed by the removed segments to form a wedge shaped lower end as seen at 16c in FIG. 5B. The lower end of the surface 16c may be rounded to facilitate the entry of the surface 16c into the underlying soil surface.

Although the best mode contemplated for carrying out the present invention has been shown and described herein, it will be understood that modification and variation may be made without departing from what is regarded to be the subject matter of the invention.