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Donald Fredrick
Watering Plants and Trees

I watch ask this old house every tuesday and on tuesday July 3,2012 Roger was planting two trees with a woman on the street side of the house and Roger stated about using 5 gallon buckets with holes in the bottom to water the trees or plants thus only having to fill the 5 gallon bucket, my question is I didn't catch how many holes do you drill in bottom of the 5 gallon bucket and what size. Could someone please ask Roger and answer back as I would like to try this method as we have just planted a lot of bushes, flowers and tress and with lack of rain this sounds like a great idea. Thanks hope to hear soon.

Re: Watering Plants and Trees

For most people, a drip hose or drip irrigation system is the best answer, especially with a lot of trees and bushes. You can buy the rubber drip hoses and they work best if the plantings are grouped together. If the bushes and trees are spaced apart, then an individual drip irrigation system is better as you won't have to water the spaces in between.

A purchased irrigation system can run a little more than a drip hose, but you can bury the hoses and it becomes a permanent solution that you don't have to take up and put back every year. You can find these in most big box hardware stores. Even though it has a higher cost, it can be cheaper than buying 5 gallon buckets and a lot more convenient.

If you have an old hose laying around, you can cap it off, string it around the bushes and trees and then drill a 1/8" hole at each bush and tree. Its a lot cheaper and you can still bury the hose under some mulch. Using this with a cheap new hose is still less expensive than the irrigation systems, but it does not have quite as much control over water flow as the manufactured emitters.

The reason Roger used buckets in this case was that there are only two trees and running a hose across a busy sidewalk could be a trip hazard with its accompanying liabilities. A 3/16" to 1/4 hole in the bottom should be sufficient. The goal is to add water to the ground at a rate at which it can be absorbed and not run off, yet minimize the time you have to stand there with a hose.

If the soil around the plant can absorb water quickly, a larger hole can be used. If the soil is heavy, a smaller hole is needed. There is no "one size fits all" in this case.

For small newly planted bushes, I have also used plastic one gallon milk jugs. It usually takes two per plant and I punch about a 1/8" hole in the bottom, fill it up and put the cap on. This way it takes several hours for the water to seep out. We have heavy clay soil. Old milk jugs are a lot cheaper than 5 gallon buckets, unless you have access to used clean buckets. Most of us have to buy them.

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