Rick and John Georges

The Innovation:

This cone-shaped, recycled-plastic tree guard, which is placed at the base of the tree trunk, was originally designed by Rick George to protect young trees from frost. Earlier in his farming career, Rick also invented a microsprinkler irrigation system that conserves significant amounts of water. Recently, Rick’s son John discovered that, by combining his father’s two inventions, the plastic guard could serve two purposes and ultimately have an exponentially greater impact.

Read more about the innovation on Tree-T-Pee’s website.

The Impact:

The primary impact is resource conservation. Trees with a Tree-T-Pee have been shown to require one-30th the water as trees without the device; in other words, a Tree-T-Pees save 3000 percent on water. The device also conserves fertilizer (farmer often build a small mound of fertilizer at the base of a tree to protect from frost, a process that must be repeated daily in cold conditions).

Then, the domino effect begins: By reducing the amount of water that needs to be pumped through the irrigation system, the farmer uses less electricity. Using less fertilizer also means fewer weeds (the fertilizers used help all plants grow, weeds included). Fewer weeds means less time removing and/or fewer herbicides combatting weeds. The Tree-T-Pee also helps ensure that more seedlings will grow into mature trees. Ultimately, farmers save significant amounts of both time and money.