If you’ve been planting new trees lately or are thinking about doing so, you may have heard of tree watering bags and are wondering exactly what they are.
More specifically, you’re probably wondering if they work or not.
Do tree watering bags work? Watering bags are especially helpful for young or newly planted trees. They prevent overwatering and underwatering at the same time, ensuring a healthy start to the root systems of new trees. Mature trees don’t need watering bags as they already have a developed root system.
Read on below to explore the full truth about watering bags, including how effective they are and when and how to use them!
How Do Tree Watering Bags Work?
Watering bags for trees are designed to wrap around trees and release water over time. They need to be filled with a water hose, and then the bag slowly directs water to the root system of trees.
Watering bags can prevent overwatering as well as underwatering, both of which are situations you want to avoid with your new trees.
Are Tree Watering Bags Worth It?
Whether or not watering bags are worth it for your trees depends on several basic factors as well as your personal preferences.
If your trees are young and still establishing a root system, watering bags are extremely helpful, but once your trees are well established and healthy, they rarely need to be watered.
So, the choice isn’t exactly black and white.
To help you make the best-informed decision, we put together the following bullet lists of the advantages and disadvantages of tree watering bags.
Tree Watering Bag Advantages
- Easy to put up and take down
- Easy to use and refill
- Saves money on water bills
- Prevents evaporation, overwatering, and underwatering
- Reduces physical demands of watering trees
- Eliminates worrying about a watering schedule
- Reduces weeds by creating a barrier between the bag, tree, and soil
Tree Watering Bag Disadvantages
- Not long-term watering solutions
- Need to be removed during the winter
- Don’t work well with large/mature trees
- Sometimes they get punctured/leak
- Aren’t always needed
When Should You Use a Tree Watering Bag?
The best times of the year to install tree watering bags are during the spring, summer, and sometimes fall.
New trees should have water bags installed immediately. After three to five years, most trees’ root systems are deep and mature enough to handle all of their own water needs.
Fruit trees also benefit from watering bags as they require much more frequent watering than already established trees or newly planted ornamentals.
How Do You Set Up a Watering Bag for a Tree?
Most watering bags simply require being positioned around the base of a tree, affixed with a strap, and filled up with a water hose.
The bag does the rest of the work, making sure your tree’s new roots stay evenly and consistently hydrated. Many bags release the water over a time period of approximately 3 to 8 hours.
However, some larger bags may benefit from further support. You can do so by adding a light frame (similar to a trellis) around them.
How Often Do You Fill Tree Watering Bags?
Most watering bags for trees hold somewhere between 20 and 50 gallons of water, give or take 5 or 10 gallons.
The average bag needs to be refilled just once every week or two because that’s all the water they require during that time period.
In the case of a heatwave, you may add more water to bags every day or two in order to hydrate and cool down the tree’s root zone.
For newly planted fruit trees, they need their watering bags filled every day or two for the first month.
How Long Do Tree Watering Bags Last?
Generally speaking, watering bags last for about 90 days. The sun rises on them, heats them, and they become cool again at night.
Their lightweight material only holds up for so long against the elements of nature.
Keep in mind that they are saving your body a bunch of physical exertion and lowering your water bill as well. So, in most cases, they may very well be worth the small investment.
When Do You Remove Tree Watering Bags?
Watering bags for trees need to be removed as often as once per season. For example, if you put a bag on a tree in the spring, it needs to be replaced in approximately 90 days.
Tree watering bags should be removed during the cold and icy winter months.
There are also times that the bags may be damaged by a fallen limb, rock thrown from the lawnmower, the weed eater, or some other accident.
In these cases, the bags should be removed and replaced immediately.
Will Tree Watering Bags Work for Other Plants?
Tree watering bags are designed for young and developing trees, which are oriented quite a bit differently than most plants.
However, shrubs, dwarf trees, large ornamentals, and even some garden plants, like tomatoes and peppers, may benefit from small tree watering bags.
How Many Gallons Does It Take To Water a Tree?
Generally speaking, for every inch of a tree’s diameter, it requires around 10 gallons of water.
That said, other factors like soil type, climate, season, tree species, lighting situation, and more also play a crucial role in determining how much water a tree needs.
Furthermore, fruit trees require special watering considerations during their various growth, flowering, and fruiting phases.
During the hottest parts of the year and while they are producing fruits full swing, they need watering around twice as much as normal.
Can You Overwater a Newly Planted Tree?
Newly planted trees are just as prone to overwatering as they are underwatering. If you provide too much water to a new tree, its roots may actually drown and rot rather than thrive and grow.
That’s why it’s critical to know just how much water your tree’s species requires. The last thing you want to do is accidentally kill your brand new trees by unknowingly giving them too much water.
Tree Watering Bag vs. Tree Watering Rings
You already know what a tree watering bag is and how it works; it is a bag that you mount to a tree, fill with a hose, and allow it to water your tree for you.
Tree watering rings are, in principle, almost the same exact thing.
The major difference is that while watering bags are always tall bags, watering rings are donut-shaped tubes that are flatter but hold and dispense water in much the same way.
All things considered, both bags and rings do the same thing and work practically identically.
Can You Make Your Own Tree Watering Bag?
It is possible to make your own tree watering bag if you prefer a hands-on DIY approach to things.
To do so, simply take a large heavy-duty garbage bag, quick-connect adapters, and a short length of garden hose.
Cut a hole in the top corner of your bag for the adapters, but don’t make it too big. You need the quick-connect adapters to be water-tight when in place.
Cut several small holes, evenly spaced apart, in the bottom of the bag.
Once you’ve got everything together, hook it up to the garden hose, and test it out.
Once you see how it works and where the potential issues are, you can improve your design a bit each time you change them out/make a new one.
Best Tree Watering Bags
Now that you know what a tree watering bag is and how they work, let’s take a look at some of the best ones on the market.
The Treegator tree watering bags are some of the most popular currently available on the market. These particular bags hold 20 gallons of water, release slowly, and come in packs of three.
They are among the easiest to install, use, and takedown.
The Pangch watering bag for trees are 20-gallon bags, like the Treegator bags, and are also slow-release-action bags as well.
These bags are heavier duty than some and definitely equal to the Treegators. They’re easy to put up around trees and take down too.
The Tree Soaker 20-gallon tree watering bags are some of the most well-made and heavy-duty bags on the market.
They feature heat-welded seams and high-end zippers, ultra-long lift straps, and tear-resistant material. They may be a bit taller than other bags as well.
The Valibe tree watering bags are another set of 20-gallon bags that are heavy-duty bags featuring high-quality zippers, seams, and PVC material.
The bags provide up to 8 hours of slowly released water directly over the tree’s sensitive root zone area. They work well with almost any tree species, except for rather large ones.
Tree water bags are an effective way to ensure your newly planted trees are watered sufficiently.
They help you avoid overwatering, underwatering, and all of the potential issues that come with either scenario.
After your trees are several years old, they won’t need watering bags anymore, but until then, it’s better to be safe than sorry (especially if your new trees were expensive!).