Friday, April 19, 2013

DIY tree-watering bucket

If necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention, then I think my husband can be said to be the father. Here's his latest creation: the tree-watering bucket.

Our newly planted trees, as I noted when we first got them, are going to be needing a lot of water over the course of their first year in the ground. The planting guide that came with them says to give them 5 to 10 gallons each on a regular basis—at least once a week, and as often as once a day during the hot, dry summer. We do have a hose hookup on the front of the house, but applying 5 gallons to each tree with a hose would be a big pain; you'd have to stand there for about two and a half minutes, holding the hose and looking at your watch, before moving on to the next tree. So Brian came up with this clever solution: he took a five-gallon bucket we had out in the shed, which we'd been using for things like hauling compost from the bin to the garden beds, and drilled two holes near the base. Now when we need to water the trees, we can just prop the bucket up against the side of its mulch mound, stick the hose in the bucket, and go tend to other things while the bucket fills. Once it's full, we can shut off the hose and leave the bucket in place to dispense water directly to the tree roots at a slow, steady rate that doesn't disturb the mulch bed too much. Below, you can see a close-up of it in action.

Of course, the five-gallon bucket probably isn't dispensing exactly five gallons, because the angle at which its perched makes it impossible to fill it up right to the brim, and there's also a little bit of water that's left over in the bottom on the side opposite the holes. But we figure that's more or less balanced out by the amount that leaks out from the bottom while the bucket's being filled from the hose. (And after we're finished watering all three trees, we can take the little bit that's left in the bottom of the bucket and go drizzle it over our flowerbeds, so it doesn't go to waste.)

We're now keeping an eye out for a couple more of these buckets, so that each tree can eventually have its own dedicated watering bucket. That way, we could just put one on each tree mound and fill them all up one after another, instead of having to fill up one bucket and then come back after five minutes to move it to the next tree.
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