By Vicky Boyd

The Tree T-Pee has been around Florida for a couple of decades, but water conservation and environmental concerns have caused the state's growers to begin to take a second look at the tree-protection device.

Now Johnny Georges, the owner of the Arcadia, Fla., company that markets the T-Pee, has introduced it to growers in the West at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif.

The 14-inch-tall hinged, cone-shaped structure fits around young trees and creates a microclimate.

Conservatively, Georges says, the unit raises the temperature around the tree by 10 degrees.

That can be the difference between survival and death during a hard freeze.

Because the tree is kept warmer, it also grows faster—up to 30 percent faster, according to University of Florida studies.

More recently, growers have begun taking notice of the invention because of its water-saving potential.

It helps reduce evaporation from microjet sprinklers, Georges says.

The T-Pee is made from all recycled material and should last about 25 years in the field.

Growers put the unit around young trees, securing it with plastic bolts or electric ties.

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