Last updated on May 4th, 2021
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In this review, we take a look at different watering systems that do the job well, specifically a drip watering system, a soaker hose and a low-tech bag irrigation system. As none of these are automated when you buy them, we include a review of an Orbit water timer.
For each product here, we list its pros and cons and discuss the interesting and useful features. We add our specific recommendation for each. Our Buyer’s Guide is different from usual as don’t go into depth about the general features for each product – that would take too long. Instead, we provide a curated list of our other reviews that provide this information for similar products we’ve reviewed for other garden tasks.
Our Best Pick is the Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit. This drip irrigation system delivers water into points around the base of the newly planted tree. Choose the number of drippers you need and adjust the water flow through each dripper individually.
Our Runner up is the decidedly low-tech Brentmoor Slow Release Tree Watering Bags. This is a 75L PVC bag that you zip up around the base of the tree and fill the bag with water. The water releases to the roots of the tree during a period of five to seven hours. You refill the bag whenever you need to water the tree. This is not a system you can automate but it delivers water slow to the tree’s roots.
Tree Watering Kits and Systems Reviews
1. Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit
The Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit is just as its name says. This kit is the start of a modular system that grows as your gardening needs do. It’s suitable for your greenhouse, your garden beds and especially for caring for newly planted or transplanted trees. Move it to other places in your garden as your trees grow and can fend for themselves and don’t need as much and attention any more.
This is a watering system that provides drip irrigation to the tree’s roots through aptly named drippers. The kit comes with 10 universal drippers connected by a hose. Each dripper delivers water to up to 100cm diameter of soil (10m2 total). Stake these in the soil around your tree, connect the hose to your garden hose and outside water tap and you’re ready to go.
A really useful feature is that you adjust the flow of water through each dripper separately. If you’re watering two trees with the same hose/kit and they each have different water needs, you make sure that each tree receives the correct amount of water. The end of the hose has an cap to ensure that all the water exits through the drippers. Consider replacing this with a sprinkler for an additional way of irrigating your tree.
If you have your trees in pots, then we recommend that you take a look at the Hozelock Easy Drip Micro Watering Kit for Pots and Containers. This system has smaller drippers, also connected with a hose. Just push the drippers into the soil in the pots for a similar drip irrigation watering experience.
Neither the Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit nor the Hozelock Easy Drip Micro Watering Kit for Pots and Containers comes with a timer to make it an automatic system. We recommend the Orbit 96781 ‘Buddy HF’ Single-Port Digital Tap Timer later on in this review.
- Drip irrigation system with 10 drippers that deliver water down to the plant’s roots.
- The hose is easy to cut to create the custom system that you newly planted trees need.
- Waters up to 10m2 with one kit and so handles a large tree or several small ones.
- The basic modular kit that is expandable to cover larger areas or more trees.
- Usable anywhere in the garden – flower beds, vegetable gardens, in the greenhouse.
- The two-year guarantee gives you confidence in this product.
- Have to buy the timer separately to automate this watering system but this is not essential as you can just turn the tap on manually when needed.
The Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit is a starter kit and what can be the first part of your extensive drip irrigation system. It comes with enough drippers to water a newly planted tree or two – up to 10m2 of ground. By adding several of these modular kits together, you create the irrigation system of your gardening dreams. Each of the drippers on the same system has an adjustable water flow that lets you decide how much water flow you want each of them to put out.
The Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit is the Best Tree Watering Kit in our review. Straight out of the box you have everything to set up a system to water your transplanted trees. Just add a timer and you don’t have to worry about that garden task any more.
If you’re keen to set up an irrigation system but not sure how big you need it, this is the watering kit to start with.
2. Brentmoor Slow Release Tree Watering Bags
Brentmoor Slow Release Tree Watering Bags are a low-tech answer to caring for your newly transplanted trees and reducing transplant shock. Simply put, these are PVC bags that you first place around the base of your trees and then fill with water. That’s it. The drip irrigation system they use delivers the water evenly over time to the roots of the trees.
Drip irrigation is a gentle way of watering plants and trees. The trees are vulnerable after being moved to their new location and the last thing they want is a strong blast of water plus the water runs away from the base of the tree. These Brentmoor bags deliver 75L of water over a period of five to seven hours. The water goes down directly to the tree’s roots, eliminating run-off and evaporation from the surface. This saves you money in not using water that’s wasted as well as helping out the environment.
You receive two bags with your purchase and each is made of UV-treated PVC. This not only makes them stable in sun but also lets you add nutrients to the water you use without harming the fabric.
You connect each bag around the tree trunk by using the zipper it has and the separate strap (included). However, if your tree is too large for one bag, just zip two bags together and fill each bag with water (using your garden hose) separately. Just refill the bags when you want to deliver the next dose of water to the trees – once or twice a week is usually enough, depending on the weather.
Yes, there is manual effort involved in filling up the bags with water using your garden hose. And remembering when to do so. But if you have just a couple of new trees to look after, it doesn’t take long each time–and set a reminder on your phone to do so.
- Drip irrigation method of watering newly planted or young trees with minimal manual effort.
- Two UV-treated PVC watering bags come with two adjustable straps to attach them securely to your trees.
- Bag capacity is 75L of water, released slowly over five to eight hours for even and sustained watering of your trees.
- The bag has a zipper so you can zip two together to put around thick trees.
- Dimensions: 83.8cm (height).
- Have to remember to refill bags with water once or several times a week.
The Brentmoor Slow Release Tree Watering Bags system provides a simple and inexpensive way of caring for newly planted or transplanted trees. It does require some effort on your part to fill and remember to refill the bags with water, but that’s relatively minimal compared to the benefits of the drip irrigation system. For just a few trees, you don’t need to invest in an expensive system and an automated timer.
We’ve made the Brentmoor Slow Release Tree Watering Bags the Runner-up in our review of Watering Kits and Systems for Newly Planted Trees. We like that it’s simple to use and inexpensive, and provides a low-tech solution for those who have just a couple of new trees in their garden.
If someone gives you a tree as a gift or you’re planning on planting your holiday tree in your back garden, this is the watering kit for you.
3. HydroSure Soaker Hose
The HydroSure Soaker Hose gives you wonderful flexibility in how you configure the watering system for your newly planted trees. This hose is 100m of flexible rubber that’s porous along its length. Water seeps out when you connect the hose to a water outlet or to your garden hose, and irrigation of your trees proceeds.
Cut the hose to whatever length(s) you want. We recommend using sections not longer than 30m. Your tree may be further into your garden than this so just hook the soaker hose to your garden hose with a universal connector. This is a good idea anyway. If you connect the soaker hose to your outside tap and then take it over your patio and lawn to your tree, water soaks out everywhere and your patio and lawn get wet. And you may not want this.
Where this really comes into its own is when placed along a new hedge or a long line of trees.
The HydroSure Soaker Hose comes with only one end cap to stop the water flowing out at the end of the hose. Put the end cap on the hose to keep up the water pressure in it; you need to buy more end caps separately. Run more than one soaker hose section to different trees off the same tap or garden hose by using connectors with multiple outlets.
To make a soaker hose into an automatic watering system, add an automatic timer into the loop. Check out the Orbit 96781 ‘Buddy HF’ Single-Port Digital Tap Timer we discuss next in this review.
- Soaker hose is made of porous flexible rubber that’s easy to cut down into shorter lengths.
- Water seeps out of the hose into the soil and is drawn down to the roots of the tree.
- Fits universal hose connectors such as Hozelock so that can transport water to your new trees.
- Use above ground or bury underground to remove from view.
- Irrigation to the roots of the trees doesn’t waste water.
- Use also in vegetable beds, flower beds and borders for gentle and efficient watering.
- Need to automate by buying a timer but not essential.
- Difficult to curve around tree when hose is cold, better used in long runs.
- May need more end caps than the single one provided.
The HydroSure Soaker Hose delivers water directly to the base of multiple newly planted trees and is really good if you have a long length of planted trees or hedging, up a long driveway for exmpale – don’t waste water. You can also cut the porous rubber hose into lengths to surround each tree and deliver it to the roots by connecting the soaker hose to your garden hose. This isn’t an automatic system yet, so you need to buy a water timer to set up scheduled sessions – see the next review for our recommendation for this.
We recommend the HydroSure Soaker Hose to deliver water evenly throughout a defined area, such as surrounding a newly planted tree. This soaker hose is easy to cut up and position around the various young trees that you have. Just connect the various sections to your garden hose(s) to direct water to the right place. Automate the whole watering process by including a timer in the system and sit back and watch your newly planted trees flourish.
4. Orbit 96781 ‘Buddy HF’ Single-Port Digital Tap Timer
Whatever irrigation system you’ve set up for your young or newly planted trees, the Orbit 96781 ‘Buddy HF’ Single-Port Digital Tap Timer allows you to automate the entire watering process. Connect the timer to your outside tap and connect your garden hose to the timer. Being a single-port timer, you can only attach one hose to it however. The HF in the timers name stands for High Flow, in that it delivers 20% more water flow than most other timers.
With this Orbit timer, you have many options for your watering schedule. Set the start time, duration of the watering session and the frequency you want your sessions. The duration can be anywhere from 1 to 360 minutes and you can water on specific days of the week or in intervals of so many hours. It’s straightforward to program the timer and that the dial is large and easy to read. When it comes to watering trees, we always recommend watering deeply and less often instead of frequently and shallowly.
As well as saving water by scheduling the sessions, there’s also a rain delay feature of from one to seven days. This halts watering your trees after heavy rain for the time period you select. If the weather turns unexpectedly hot, use the manual “water now” function rather than reprogramming the entire schedule. Doing this doesn’t change the programming you’ve set. Some online users report that a downside of this timer is that it’s a bit noisy.
- Produces 20% more water flow than comparable timers.
- Over-sized dial and digital LCD screen are easy to read.
- Programming instructions on dial are easy to follow for those not used to programming an automatic timer.
- Flexible watering schedules possible through start time, duration and frequency of watering sessions.
- Watering periods range from one minute to six hours, for extra-long, deep watering.
- Automatically delay watering if it rains from one to seven days to save water.
- Manually turn on your irrigation system without affecting the programming you’ve done.
- Uses two AA batteries; we Duracell batteries.
- Can only hook up one garden hose to this timer but they so also sell a 2 port version.
The Orbit 96781 ‘Buddy HF’ Single-Port Digital Tap Timer has all the features to help you plan your watering schedule for your newly planted trees. It handles anything from a simple ‘one session a day’ schedule to a complicated timetable of several watering periods a day separated by an interval of time or a few days. The rain delay feature lets you temporarily and automatically cancel watering during a rainy period. Unfortunately, you can only connect one hose to this Orbit timer. If you have a complicated irrigation system, look at other Orbit timers (there’s quite a range) or figure out how to split the one hose into more within the system using multi-connectors.
We highly recommend this Orbit timer (or any other timer by this manufacturer) if you plan a complicated watering timetable, whatever kind of irrigation system you end up with.
Gardening experts state that the best watering system for newly planted trees is a soaker hose or a drip irrigation system. We cover both in this review.
Instead of writing a detailed Buyer’s Guide here for each of the product types in this review, here are links to similar products that we review.
These contain comprehensive Buyer’s Guides as well as information about other drip irrigations systems, soaker hoses and timers for other garden tasks.
General watering systems
Elsewhere in the garden
Keeping newly planted trees alive and creating the best environment for them to flourish in is a complex task. Set aside your worries about how and when to water them by automating the irrigation process. Setting up an irrigation system is the best way to go.
By programming the optimum watering schedule into a timer, you won’t be constantly anxious about remembering when you last watered these vulnerable plants.
Our Best Pick is the Hozelock Easy Drip Universal Watering Kit. This irrigation system delivers water by drippers into the ground around the base of the newly planted tree. Choose the number of drippers you need for the size of the tree and adjust the water flow through each dripper individually.
Our Runner up is the decidedly low-tech and totally manual Brentmoor Slow Release Tree Watering Bags. This is a 75L PVC bag that you zip up around the base of the tree and fill with water. The water releases through drip irrigation to the roots of the tree during a period of five to seven hours.
When your young trees are established and settled in, you may be interested in establishing some plants underneath them. Our article 10 of the best plants for under trees provides useful information on this.
Last update on 2021-06-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API