Automatic Christmas Tree Watering System - Low Tech




Introduction: Automatic Christmas Tree Watering System - Low Tech

About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Mechanical Engineering. I like to make things and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am a Community Manager for Instructables.

With the busyness of the season, you may forget to water your freshly cut tree. Or if you are off visiting family, you may come home to a dried out pile of needles. Avoid these two mishaps by setting up a quick and easy Christmas tree siphon with materials you probably already have around your home. With this setup from last year, we were gone for almost two weeks and the water had only gone down about an inch.

Step 1: Materials


  • At least one 5 gallon bucket
  • Clear hose
  • Weights (rocks) to hold the hoses in place

Step 2: Measure Tree Stand

Measure the depth of the tree stand. You don't want your buckets to have more water height than this or the water will overflow the stand.

Step 3: Fill Buckets

Fill the buckets with an inch or so less than the height of the tree stand.

Step 4: Attach Tubing to Stand

Using clamps or other means, attach the plastic tubing to the full tree stand. I threaded the tubing through one of the bolts holding the tree upright.

Step 5: Start Siphon

Suck the air out of the tubing (depending on the volume of your tree stand, you may need to refill it through this process). Once you see the water approaching your mouth, plug the end with your thumb and place it under the water in the first bucket. Place a large rock or other heavy object on top of the tube to keep it in place.

Step 6: Second Bucket

Repeat the siphon process to bring the second bucket into the system. This second bucket will double the time your water will last while you are away.

Once everything is together, verify the height of the water is roughly the same in both buckets and the tree stand. Wait about a half hour for the water levels to equalize and verify the heights again, adjust if necessary.

Now feel free to travel for the holidays and don't worry about your tree drying out while you are away.



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11 Discussions

wow, that is a good way to use a bucket and rocks

Looks like my hydroponic grow.

Nothing says class like a couple of 5 gal. buckets around ye ole Christmas tree.

2 replies

This is great for while you're on a trip, but if you are doing this just because you have a busy schedule, if you have pets find some way of covering the buckets so they don't drink out of them. Water that sits for several days or more can develop bacterial growth that is harmful to them, and if you add tree preservative to the water, it's even worse. Someone suggested gift wrapping the buckets to hide them, and that brought to mind the image of a box just big enough to cover the bucket with a slot cut into one side and partly across the top to accommodate the hose and then gift wrapped. Camouflage and pet-protection in one! (I'm assuming that if you take a long trip, you would take your pets with or board them.)

Wow, just what I need. Not for the tree, but for my solar fountain that dehydrates.

1 reply

You could probably even hook it up to a cistern for an even larger water capacity.

I did a similar thing. However I drilled a hole in the side at the bottom of a smaller plastic box and threaded the hose through it. I then used hot glue to secure the hose and waterproof the connection. It worked fairly well but the waterproofing was hard to get perfect and you don't want a leak. I have been looking for some fitting that could would be easier to get 100% watertight but haven't found one yet.

The plastic box had had gingerbread cookies in it and was transparent so it was easy to see the water level and it could be hidden behind the tree. However, it needed to be filled each day in the beginning when the tree drinks a lot. After a few days the tree drinks less so there is less need for filling.

The biggest win of a system like this is that you can easily see if you need to fill more water and you wont have the hassle of lying on the floor trying to fill the tree stand...which we all know is the worst thing about having a tree indoors except from needles everywhere. Needles that hide in your carpet, under the floor mouldings, in your slippers...NEEDLES EVERYWHERE!!! :-D

This is going to save my new carpet! I'm thinking I might even "gift wrap" the buckets so they blend in.

Great for my large plants when I am on vacation. Using a deeper tray under multiple planters. I raise the plants on pieces of 2x4s to give an additional 1 1/3 inches of water in the buckets. Didn't take a picture, but I set them all up on a large table and with multiple tubes in the first bucket to multiple plants. Lasted 15 days. Plants all happy.