Common fruit tree diseases have been a concern for the tree fruit and nursery industry for many years. Some of these diseases can be very difficult to treat, and in many cases, the most effective control is to reduce the chances of new outbreaks by controlling the environment. Fruit grower's can also prevent the initial infection of fruit trees by using fungicide sprays and/or cultural practices.
There are many different types of fungicide sprays. Sprays are also available to be sprayed directly onto fruit trees to kill fungi on a variety of fruit. Some fungicides and fungicide sprays can be easily applied, while others require more knowledge and skill to apply. For example, spraying for fruit tree fungicides typically requires the fungicide to be in a liquid form so that it can be sprayed on a wet or dripping tree. Because of the type of fruit tree, as well as the location of the tree within the orchard, it may not always be possible to spray the tree directly. Therefore, the tree may need to be sprayed indirectly. In this manner, the fungicide may be sprayed onto the trunk, branches, or irrigation system. Another type of fruit tree fungicide may be in a granular form. Granular fruit tree fungicide typically needs to be added to irrigation water, or sprayed onto the irrigation system to provide for fungicide coverage.
In a typical orchard, the trees may be spaced over about 10 or more feet apart. Because of the width and length of the orchard, it can be difficult to provide treatment to each tree for each fungicide. One example of a current product that provides fungicide spraying is “VITAPAK™,” which is available from The Scotts Company. This fungicide provides a fungicide in a granular form that is placed in a reservoir that is held in a frame. The frame is typically held on a tractor that pulls the frame over the tree. The reservoir is removed from the frame for a user to apply the fungicide on the tree.
However, there are several drawbacks associated with this product. It can be difficult for the user to position the reservoir in the frame over the tree. Additionally, the reservoir must be removed from the frame to provide a place for the user to spray the tree. Moreover, the size of the reservoir limits the amount of fungicide that can be held in the reservoir. In addition, the reservoir is difficult to remove and replace if the reservoir needs to be changed for another purpose.
Other conventional fungicide product options include a so-called “pop up” reservoir, which sprays onto the tree only when the tree is moving. In this case, there is a so-called “pop up” reservoir that is stored and carried with the tractor and frame. When the reservoir is to be used, the reservoir is opened and sprayed onto the tree. However, when the reservoir is no longer needed, the reservoir must be closed and stored until a subsequent application. In this situation, the reservoir is not being used, which represents a loss of the fungicide in the reservoir. Moreover, there is a possibility that the reservoir could get damaged and cause the farmer or user to use a less effective fungicide. For example, if the farmer or user inadvertently knocks the reservoir over or opens it and then places it back on the frame, the user could be required to use a fungicide that may be less effective because the reservoir did not remain upright for a period of time, thereby losing some fungicide. Thus, there is a need for a fungicide reservoir that solves these problems.