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Tree watering is a key piece of tree care

Do Tree Watering Bags Work?

May 30, 2019
Topics

Tree watering bags come with a promise to slowly release water directly to tree roots, saving you time and money and saving your trees from dehydration.

If you’re not familiar with this thirst-quenching tool, watering bags are green, brown or black pouches that wrap around the bottom half of a tree’s trunk or sit on top of tree beds in a doughnut shape. They’re meant to be an easy and efficient root watering system.

Question is, do these bags really work? Keep reading for your guide to tree watering bags and other common watering systems.

Are tree watering rings or bags effective?

The answer here isn’t so clear cut. Tree watering bags have numerous benefits, but in some cases, they come with drawbacks.

Pros and cons of tree watering bags

By far, the deep watering method is the most effective way to hydrate your trees. Whether watering bags are the best way to deep water depends on where you live and what kind of trees you have.

Ken Cloutier, a regional plant health care manager here at Davey Tree, says tree watering bags can be a great tool to use on trees. Here’s why:

  • They’re incredibly easy to use. All you need to do is fill the bag up about twice a week and then let it work for you.
  • With bags or rings, no water goes to waste as it can when you hydrate your trees with a sprinkler or hose.
  • They help prevent overwatering and underwatering, both of which can be damaging to trees.
  • Watering bags help small, young trees establish their roots and get off to a good start.
  • They ensure heat-sensitive trees stay well-watered in warm seasons.

But some trees don’t reap these benefits. Tree watering bags and rings come with some cons, like:

  • They’re not meant to stick around for the long haul. Bags should only be used for two-to-three months at a time, and they must be removed before winter.
  • Sometimes tree bags don’t hold enough water or just aren’t big enough for large, mature trees. They’re much better suited for young, small trees.
  • Watering bags are usually a sound investment for tree owners in northern climates, but in southern climates, problems like girdling roots or root rot can crop up. For southern areas, a different deep watering method is best (find some suggestions on this below!)

How to make your own tree watering bag

There are certainly lots of options at your local garden store if you’re in the market for a tree watering bag. But if you’d rather try your hand at making one on your own, follow these steps to create a homemade tree watering system.

Other types of tree watering systems

In addition to watering bags, there are other great ways to deliver a slow and steady flow of water to tree roots.

  • A soaker hose lays on top of plant beds, letting the water trickle down into roots. It’s particularly useful when you need to water trees during a drought.
  • Like DIY watering bags, drilling a hole into a 5-gallon bucket, filling it with water and propping it up under a tree is an easy, homemade root watering solution.
  • A bubbler attaches onto a sprinkler system to provide a low-pressure stream of water to tree roots.

As you’ve read, tree watering systems do a lot, but they don’t do everything. You’re in charge of making sure your trees get the right amount of water!

Here's how much water young and mature trees need each week.

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