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Green goods: the treegator

 Posted by on October 24, 2008
Oct 242008

By John DeFore

PVC isn’t looked upon kindly by many environmentalists, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without its uses — like a beautifully simple watering device that could do a lot of good for struggling plants.

The natural tendency, when you’ve planted a tree and are concerned about helping it survive, is to set a sprinkler system on heavy rotation or go out every day to water it. But sprinklers spread water far beyond where it’s needed, and a heavy one-time watering can lose a lot to evaporation and runoff.

Enter the Treegator (as in “tree irrigator”), which almost literally could not be simpler in its solution to this problem. It’s a piece of thick plastic that wraps around the tree, zipping up like a jacket and letting you fill it with up to 20 gallons of water that will slowly soak into the soil over the course of 5 to 9 hours.

Part of the idea is that slow water delivery means the soil is soaked to a deeper level, encouraging roots to grow and the tree to become stable more quickly. The most readily available benefit, though, is that you can care for a tree using far less water; for most trees, the manufacturer says that one watering a week is enough.

The Original model, which is also advertised as a perfect solution to city employees who may be responsible for scores of young trees at a time, is joined by a different design called the Treegator Jr. PRO; despite the “Jr.” moniker, it actually fits around trees with thicker trunks. (Jr. can accommodate a 6-inch trunk, while the Original fits diameters of 1-4 inches; two Originals can be zipped together, though, to fit an 8 inch trunk.) The product, which has been around since 1991, can be ordered online or found through mainstream work-supply outlets like Gempler’s.

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