While parts of the world have little or no access to clean water and other areas are responsible for literally letting water go down the drain, an American inventor has created a product conserving this precious resource. John Georges, an entrepreneur and inventor from Arcadia, Florida, has taken the challenges growers and farmers face in agricultural irrigation and invented a sustainable and cost effective solution. His product Tree T Pee stimulates root growth, protects trees from frost and reduces fuel, herbicide and fertilizer use, while conserving water in a major way. The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS) conducted a study in 2009 with the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) finding 93 percent less water, fertilizer, electricity and fuel is needed when the Tree T Pee is used instead of conventional irrigation. Daily water needed per tree decreased from 32.5 liters (8.6 gallons) to 2.5 liters (0.65 gallons) using the Tree T Pee with the microsprinkler method or 1.9 liters (0.5 gallons) with the drip method. These savings have the potential to impact agriculture internationally by preserving our shared water and energy supply.
The sustainable Tree T Pee originated in the 1980s, first as an idea from Georges’s late father, and was recently made popular in November on the television show Shark Tank. On the show Georges received a US$150,000 investment from new business partner John Paul DeJoria, a philanthropist and co-founder of the Paul Mitchell line of hair products and The Patron Spirits Company. The design is quite simple. A cone shaped tree guard, 24 inches in diameter, is placed on the ground encompassing the root and trunk of a newly planted tree. Underneath the cone are the existing irrigation sprinklers and there is an opening at the top for the tree’s trunk. Under the cone, water is directly focused on the root, and trapped steam offers root stimulation and frost protection in colder seasons.
Matt Moye the owner of the irrigation and tree planting company Citrus Solutions explains how Tree T Pee creates a “[miniature] green house environment” using water, heat and moisture to enhance the growth of “young trees faster, using less water.” This moisture is created by water rising to about 22 degrees Celcius (72 degrees Farenheit) despite cold temperatures faced outside. This collected moisture continues to hydrate roots even after the sprinklers are turned off, greatly reducing the amount of energy spent on watering. Growers and farmers using this water containment system should see huge savings using 90 percent less water, energy, herbicides, and fertilizers. Roots are stimulated for optimal growth and water that would otherwise be wasted on surrounding grass and weeds is contained inside the tree guard.
As many growers are responsible for the care and maintenance of thousands of plants, this invention stays true to the farmer and is both cost effective and sustainable. The price per cone is reduced according to the quantity purchased, with growers and farmers only paying US$5.50. Many farmers are seeing the benefits of faster growth and a financial savings allowing their monies to support other aspects of their businesses. Additionally, Tree T Pee is thoughtfully made from recycled plastic and each one will last approximately 20 years.