Title:
An Expandable Tree Bag Assembly for Enclosing Conifer and Deciduous Trees During Vehicular Transport
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An expandable tree bag assembly (100) for use with both conifer and deciduous trees includes an extended ovular shaped face (101) having a long curved edge (103) and short curved edge (105). Side edges (109, 113) operate using a zippered closing mechanism allowing an expansion panel (201) to be attached for increasing the circumference of the ovular shaped face (101). The face includes a carrier aperture positioned alone the long curved edge (103) for allowing the tree carrier to extend therethrough.



Inventors:
Westrate, William P. (Cassopolis, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/278312
Publication Date:
10/04/2007
Filing Date:
03/31/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/50
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Primary Examiner:
QUEST, DENE JASON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MILLER JOHNSON SNELL CUMMISKEY, PLC (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An expandable tree bag assembly for use with both conifer and deciduous trees comprising: an extended ovular shaped face having a long curved edge and short curved edge; a plurality of side edges that operate with a zippered closing mechanism; an expansion panel for attaching to the zippered closing mechanism for increasing the circumference of the ovular shaped face; and wherein the face includes at least one adjustable carrier aperture positioned around the long curved edge for allowing a tree carrier to extend therethrough.

2. An expandable tree bag assembly as in claim 1, wherein the extension panel includes at least one pocket for carrying accessories for tree transportation.

3. An expandable tree bag assembly as in claim 1, wherein the plurality of side edges further include hook and loop fasteners for securely holding the plurality of side edges in a fixed position.

4. An expandable tree bag assembly as in claim 1, wherein the top of least one carrier aperture is controlled using a rope positioned with the long curved edge.

5. An expandable tree bag assembly comprising: a face having an extended ovular shape where the face includes a substantially long first edge, a substantially shorter second edge and a plurality of side edges; a zipper closing device positioned on the plurality of side edges for fastening the face into a closed position; at least one expansion panel for increasing the circumference of the face; at least one adjustable carrier aperture positioned near the substantially long first edge for allowing a tree carrier to extend therethrough; and wherein the face maybe positioned in a reverse direction so as to allow protection of both conifer and deciduous trees from wind damage during vehicular transport.

6. An expandable tree bag assembly as in claim 5, wherein the at least one expansion panel includes a pocket for carrying accessories for tree transportation.

7. An expandable tree bag assembly as in claim 5, wherein the at least one carrier aperture is adjusted using a rope positioned with the extended ovular shaped faces.

8. A method for providing an expandable tree bag assembly comprising the steps of: providing a bag face in an extended ovular shape which has an elongated first end, an substantially shorter second end and a plurality of side edges; increasing the circumference of the bag face by fastening at least one expansion panel between the plurality of side edges; providing a plurality of carrier apertures near the elongated first end in order to accommodate a tree carrier device; and positioning the hag face such that it may be positioned in an upward or downward orientation depending on whether a conifer or deciduous tree is to be protected during vehicular transport.

9. A method for providing an expandable tree bag assembly as in claim 8, further including the step of: including at least one pocket in the at least one expansion panel for carrying accessories for tree transportation.

10. A method for providing an expandable tree bag assembly as in claim 8, further including the step of: adjusting the elongated first end using a rope embedded in the long face.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to landscaping and more particularly to an expandable bag for protecting a live tree during vehicular transport.

BACKGROUND

Different styles of tree bags have been used primarily for transporting evergreen types of cut Christmas trees. U.S. Pat. No. D469,609 S to Hoffman, which is herein incorporated by reference, teaches the use of a zippered-style gusset bag that is fastened with a zipper when positioned around the tree. U.S. Pat. No. 5,291,999 to Phair, which is incorporated by reference, teaches the use of a tree bag having a conical shape: that is wrapped around the tree and secured with an elongated side fastener. Finally, U.S. Pat. No. 4,054,166 to Burke teaches a Christmas tree cover that is secured using snap fasteners and a belt.

One problem associated with these types of Christmas tree bags is they cannot be expanded for use with trees having a substantially large circumference. Moreover, they can only be used with conifer trees and cannot be reversed. The shape and closing techniques used by bags in the prior art do not operate to protect leafy deciduous trees during transport. For example, the style as shown in U.S. Pat. No. D469,609S will not work with deciduous trees, since it offers no place for tall deciduous branches to extend from the top. The style in U.S. Pat. No. 5,291,999 will not work well with deciduous trees since deciduous trees have small trunks and are often bulky at the top of the tree. Thus, if the tree bag described in this patent were reversed, there is no way for the bulky top portion of the deciduous tree to be completely wrapped. Similarly, the style of bag described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,054,166 is wider at the bottom for a conifer tree but could not be reversed to work with deciduous tree since the belt at the bottom of the bag would not operate to extend around the deciduous tree with tall leafy branches.

Hence, the need exists to provide a tree bag that is expandable and can operate to protect both live conifer and deciduous trees from wind stress during transport.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

The accompanying figures, where like reference numerals refer to identical or functionally similar elements throughout the separate views and which together with the detailed description below are incorporated in and form part of the specification, serve to further illustrate various embodiments and to explain various principles and advantages all in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 1-2 are side perspective views of an expandable tree bag in accordance with the invention shown in open and closed positions, respectively.

FIG. 3 is a side perspective of a panel extension for the expandable tree bag in accordance with the invention.

Skilled artisans will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help to improve understanding of embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Before describing in detail embodiments that are in accordance with the present invention, it should be observed that the embodiments reside primarily in combinations of method steps and apparatus components related to a reversible tree bag. Accordingly, the apparatus components and method steps have been represented where appropriate by conventional symbols in the drawings, showing only those specific details that are pertinent to understanding the embodiments of the present invention so as not to obscure the disclosure with details that will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of the description herein.

In this document, relational terms such as first and second, top and bottom, and the like may be used solely to distinguish one entity or action from another entity or action without necessarily requiring or implying any actual such relationship or order between such entities or actions. The terms “comprises,” “comprising,” or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. An element preceded by “comprises . . . a” does not, without more constraints, preclude the existence of additional identical elements in the process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises the element.

FIG. 1 and FIG. 2 illustrate a side perspective view of the expandable tree bag for both conifer and deciduous trees 100 in accordance with the invention. FIG. 1 illustrates the bag in an open position and FIG. 2 illustrates the bag in a closed position. The tree bag 100 is formed using 60 percent nylon shade cloth material into a face 1101 that is substantially oblong or an extended ovular shape. The shade cloth material is porous to light and selected such that its density will permit 60 percent of the light to be blocked. This leaves approximately 40 percent of the light present on the outside of the material to penetrate inside the bag to reach the tree. Those skilled in the art will recognize that although 60 percent nylon shade cloth material is described herein, any percentage of shade cloth material may be selected depending on environmental factors.

The elongated oval shape of the tree bag 100 is configured so that a long curved edge 103 and short curved edge 105 are positioned on either end of the bag depending on whether a conifer or deciduous tree is covered. The long curved edge 103 includes a plurality of grommets 104 that extend around the perimeter of the long curved edge 103. A rope 106 is threaded through apertures 104 for controlling the size of the curved edge 103. Similarly a first side edge 107 includes a half zipper 109 while the second side edge 111 includes the other half zipper 113 that includes a fastener 115, A series of hook and loop fasteners 110, 112 are used along both edges of the bag allowing the bag to be easily closed by merely meshing the hook and loop fasteners together. Those skilled in the art will recognize that hook and loop fasteners may initially be used to seal the bag which enables the zipper to be more easily closed. With the zipper in a closed position, this allows trees to be protected from high wind forces that are present when transporting a tree at highway speeds.

FIG. 3 illustrates a side perspective view of an expansion panel 201 that is used to increase the circumference of the tree bag 100 in order to accommodate conifer and/or deciduous trees having a larger diameter. Like the tree bag 100, the expansion panel 201 includes a first curved edge 203 and second curved edge 205. A first side edge 27 includes a half zipper 209 and a second side edge 211 has a half zipper 213. An integrated pouch or pocket 210 is included within the expansion panel for carrying rope, bungee cords, tools or other accessories needed for transport. In operation, the expansion panel 201 can be zipped into the tree bag to increase the overall circumference of the bag. Typically, this is accomplished by meshing the half zipper 209 with the half zipper 113 and then zipping the half zipper 213 with the half zipper 109 to form an enclosed tree bag.

The tree bag 100 also offers an advantage in that it may be positioned in either direction depending on whether it is to be fitted around either a confer tree or deciduous tree. When used with a conifer tree, the tree bag 100 is used with the long curved edge 103 down around the base of the conifer tree and the short curved edge 105 positioned around the top of the tree. If a deciduous tree is used, then the bag configuration is reversed with the short curved edge 105 positioned at the lower trunk of the tree and the long curved edge 105 positioned about the top leafy section of the tree. The invention offers a greater amount of utility over tree bags used in the prior art since one bag can be used with either type of tree in order to prevent wind damage during high-speed vehicular transport.

Thus, the invention offer advantages over tree bags described in the prior art since it is easily expansible and maybe be easily oriented in order to cover both conifer and deciduous trees during vehicular transport. The invention includes a pocket expansion panel and apertures positioned about the bag face for allowing a tree carrier to be easily used when the tree bag is used with conifer trees.

In the foregoing specification, specific embodiments of the present invention have been described. However, one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that various modifications and changes can be made without departing from the scope of the present invention as set forth in the claims below. Accordingly, the specification and figures are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of present invention. The benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any element(s) that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as a critical, required, or essential features or elements of any or all the claims. The invention is defined solely by the appended claims including any amendments made during the pendency of this application and all equivalents of those claims as issued.





 
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