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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 45, Issue 4 — July 2019

A Comparison of Indirect Watering Devices for Benefiting Newly Transplanted Urban Trees

Shaik M.Y. Hossain, H. Christoph Stuhlinger, Matthew Olson, and Benjamin A. Babst

Abstract: Three types of indirect watering devices were compared to evaluate their performance and to determine their benefits to newly transplanted river birch (Betula nigra) trees grown in containers with well drained compost in a controlled greenhouse experiment. Two examples of each device type were used to water trees in this study: upright bags, ring bags, and open tubs. Watering device characteristics, including purchase cost, weight, capacity, and drainage times, were measured prior to installing the devices around the trees. Tree stem heights and calipers, along with leaf coverage and leaf water potential, were measured to determine any growth or water stress differences associated with watering treatments. There was substantial variation in costs and drainage times among watering devices, with ring bags being the least expensive and draining water completely during the drainage test. However, there was no evidence that watering devices benefited tree growth, leaf rating, or water stress in comparison with direct watering, with the possible exception of Treegator ring bags, which may have reduced water stress marginally. Although water release from some of the indirect watering devices was much slower than direct watering, water release from all of the devices was completed within ten hours, which is too rapid to reduce the frequency of watering in our experiment. The major benefits of these devices are slower release of water to the soil, with reduced operator time required, and more infiltration into the soil and root zone, which avoids the surface runoff caused by quick hose (direct) watering.

Keywords: A Comparison of Indirect Watering Devices for Benefiting Newly Transplanted Urban Trees

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