Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Plant a Tree With a PVC Watering Tube

Planting trees on your property can provide shade, privacy and even a wind barrier. In general, spring and early fall are the best times to plant your trees. With the help of a PVC watering tube, you can make watering your tree easy and more efficient. Instead of watering the soil surface, leaving the tree’s roots dry, a PVC watering tube inserted into the ground beside the tree will deliver water directly to the roots.

Select your tree, taking into consideration the hardiness zone in your area, the type of soil at the planting site and the mature size of the tree. Examine the planting area to ensure that you won’t be planting over buried utility lines or a septic tank, and that as your tree grows in height, it won’t interfere with overhead utility lines.

Prepare the PVC tube by cutting horizontal slits 2 inches long, spaced every 2 inches along the length of the tube.

Dig a hole that is at least three times the diameter of and the same depth as the tree’s container or root ball.

Remove the tree from the container, or remove the burlap from the root ball. Gently separate and loosen the outer roots of the tree. Place the tree in the hole, making sure it’s straight and centered.

Dig a vertical hole for the PVC tube about 12 inches from the trunk using the post hole digger, making sure not to damage the tree’s roots. The depth of the hole should allow the PVC pipe to stick out of the ground 2 or 3 inches, allowing for any excess height from backfill dirt at planting and mulching around the tree.

Insert the PVC tube into the hole with the slits facing the trunk of the tree. Fill the planting hole around the tree’s roots with soil and tamp down gently with your hands to remove any air pockets between the soil and the roots.

Make a ridge of soil about 3 inches high around the perimeter of the now filled hole. Gently fill the area inside the ridge with water and let the water drain. Water again and allow it to drain to settle the dirt within the root system and provide necessary initial moisture to the tree.

Fill the PVC tube with water and place the cap on the PVC tube. Allow the PVC tube to completely drain and remain empty for one to two weeks before refilling it.


In extremely dry areas or in case of drought, you can add an extension to the existing pipe in order to increase the amount of stored water.

Keep the top of the PVC watering tube capped to prevent it from becoming filled and clogged with debris, as well as to avoid small critters from trying to establish a home in them and possibly gnawing on the tree’s roots.

You can place a cap on the bottom of the PVC tube if the soil around the tree is coarse and loose, which can cause rapid dissipation and drainage of the water stored in the tube.


Don’t over-water your trees. The waterlogged soil will deprive the tree’s roots from getting the necessary amount of oxygen, as well as promote root rot and disease.

Garden Guides