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How to Make a Tree Watering Bag

Updated February 21, 2017

Tree-watering bags are an efficient means of preventing the water stress that a tree endures for the first two summers after it has been removed from the nursery and transplanted into your yard. Older trees have mature root systems that enable them to survive the summer heat while young trees need to develop the deep roots that only slow, sustained watering provides. However, over-watering can rob the tree of life-giving oxygen. The answer to the labour-intensive job of constant, light watering is a tree bag system that requires refilling only once every two weeks. You can easily make one yourself.

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  1. Measure the circumference of your tree with your measuring tape; add 1 inch to this measurement to allow for the tree's growth.

  2. Invert your plastic bucket.

  3. Draw a circle on the bucket's bottom that measures the tree's circumference plus 1 inch.

  4. Hammer small holes 2 inches apart and 1 inch to the right of the edge of the circle drawn on the bucket, using a finishing nail and hammer. The holes will be the same size as the circumference of the nail and should run in a circular pattern parallel to the cut circle.

  5. Place the bucket right side up.

  6. Cut a slit on one side of the bucket from the lip to the base with your tin snips.

  7. Invert the bucket and continue your cut from the base to your drawn circle.

  8. Cut around the circle, leaving the other side of the bucket intact.

  9. Punch holes in the bases of your 10-gallon-sized, heavy duty yard waste bags. The holes should mimic those found in the bucket both in size and in number. Lining up the holes is not necessary as gravity will allow drainage to occur naturally.

  10. Pull the bucket open at the slit and place it around the trunk of the tree so that the base of the bucket rests on the ground.

  11. Place your yard waste bags into the bucket, punched side down, so that the bags surround the tree open side up.

  12. Fill the bags with water to the lip level of the plastic bucket using your garden hose.

  13. Secure the bags with twist ties or clips.

  14. Refill the bags every two weeks or as necessary during prolonged periods of dry weather.

  15. Tip

    All materials are available at your local hardware store. The yard waste bags should be tarp-like in strength. The bottom hole in the bucket may be cut larger each year to accommodate the girth of your growing tree.


    Clip or fasten your watering bags securely to eliminate their use as mosquito breeding grounds.

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 25-gallon plastic pail
  • Permanent marker
  • Finishing nail
  • Hammer
  • Tin snips
  • 2 10-gallon, heavy duty yard waste bags
  • Garden hose
  • Twist ties or bag clips

About the Author

Kevin Ann Reinhart

Kevin Ann Reinhart, a retired teacher-librarian, has written professionally since 1976. Reinhart first published in "Writers' Undercover" Cambridge Writers Collective II. She has a bachelor's degree in English and religious studies from the University of Waterloo and a librarian specialist certificate from Queen's University and the University of Toronto.

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