Weekend Project: Tree-Waterer

TreeChristmas is upon us, and we have gotten ourselves a Christmas tree. My wife and I are dedicated Tree-Killers Live-Christmas-Tree-Advocates. We just like the feeling of a live tree. We moved into a house this year and have been enjoying a vaulted-ceiling. While at the tree-farm, we decided to pick a taller-than-usual tree and ended up with this Behemoth. It didn’t seem this tall at the farm, but getting it in, we realized how big and beautiful of a tree it was.

There’s a major downside of live Christmas Trees: Watering. I know, it’s really not a huge deal, but if you fail to properly water your tree, you end up with a dry, ugly, failing tree a week before Christmas. We don’t want that, so I’m very interested in keeping the tree moisturized. It presents a couple of problems: 1) You need to remember to water the tree   2) You need to get under the tree to water it. As I said before, this tree is a behemoth. We didn’t trim the bottom branches much, but even if we had, sliding under on your tummy and precariously balancing your pitcher to get water in the stand is not an easy feat.

The Solution: The distance-tree-waterer.



I didn’t invent this idea, and I’m certainly not the first to come up with it. I do take a little pride in saying that I thought of it before I went out to the internet to find it. However, I didn’t think of sticking the water-bucket under a present-shaped box.

Okay wait, tell me what’s going on here…

Allright. So I mentioned that I didn’t want to crawl under that big ol’ tree to pour water in it. Well, there’s this magical physics trick that allows you to move water from one place to another. It’s called a Siphon. Water likes to go downwards. You’ve seen this in streams that flow off mountains. Gravity pulls water in a certain direction, and then, so long as their is a difference in equity of two bodies of water, it will continue to pull more water along with it.

the secret

So the trick here, is that the bucket hidden behind the present facade has a water level that’s higher than that of the water in the tree stand. I started the water moving by sucking it through a length of tubing. So long as the water in the gift/reservoir is a higher level than the treestand, water will flow. When the tree stand equals the reservoir, the water stops flowing. The water will stay neutral until the reservoir is filled back up.


All in all, this project took me about 45 minutes to put together. 10 minutes to setup the actual mechanism, and an additional 35 to get a nice facade put together so it didn’t look like I had a random bucket of water sitting on the floor. The “Present” is made of 3 sides of  cardboard, and a top which goes over them. It’s wrapped in regular wrapping paper. On either side of the water line, there’s a short length of copper wire (what I had available at the time) that serves as a clip to hold the line in a particular position. As the system is dependent on the flow of water, we don’t want these tubes falling out and flooding the living room.

So far the system is a resounding success. I haven’t had to crawl under the tree or even at this point refill the water. As the tree draws water, the tree stand will refill from the reservoir. I just need to put water in as the reservoir gets closer to empty.