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Hey remember when we asked you to post up your ideas for an automatic Xmas tree watering system? Here’s our winner! Stokes writes -

I had an idea involving an external reservoir but didn’t require an air-tight container:

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An open-topped (or at least non-sealed) external reservoir is attached to the tree’s water supply by a tube at the bottom. The reservoir is kept at the same height as the tree’s supply. The water level in each container will remain level; you can easily see how much water the tree has, plus you can refill the external reservoir without having to crawl beneath the tree. If you use a larger or deeper reservoir, you can extend the time between refills substantially.

The one benefit this has over the ones that rely on an air-tight reservoir is that there is less of a risk of leaking. A tiny air leak in an air-tight reservoir system could eventually overflow the container under the tree. This idea doesn’t store as much water, though. You also need to put a hole in the bottom of the tree stand, which is additional work.

Winner! Stokes email us! – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Patti says:

    Very cool! Now I just have to figure out how to keep the cat from drinking it all.

  2. JD says:

    Why not just have the tube go up and over the top? One it has water in it (just use a little suction to get it started) the effect should be the same, and no holes need be drilled.

  3. Eric says:

    JD is on the money. I did this last year and the siphon worked great. Although, I recall the suction part was a little awkward under the tree.

  4. monopole says:

    Using an ‘automatic’ animal watering bowl as the reservoir might be the best of both worlds. The sort which takes an inverted 2 liter soda bottle. The open portion of the dish prevents overflows while the bottle tops it off when it runs low.

  5. Stokes says:

    My idea is similar to a siphon, but it has the advantage of not stopping if air gets into the tube. If it runs dry, you can just refill the reservoir.

    I don’t claim it’s the best possible solution, but it was the one that came to me first. Six of one, half-dozen of the other.

  6. Casey says:

    Another vote for the siphon here. Having to hack the tree stand is an ugly design.

    You can buy siphon tubes that have priming squeeze bulbs built into them; they’re intended for moving gasoline, where sucking on the tube to prime it is not recommended.

  7. Magnin says:

    The siphon design is what I submitted.

    I agree with Stokes that it makes it a little harder to start if it runs dry, but for effort and risk of leaks, I thought it was best.

    Have it currently watering my tree using a Christmas “Popcorn” tub lined with a plastic liner right now.

  8. Rob says:

    I don’t see what the fuss is over needing suction to start the effect.

    Just stick a tube in and tie-wrap it so the end stays under the level of water desired in the tree stand, raise the remote reservoir above that to start the flow into the tree’s bowl then set it back down. Extra water will flow back into the remote.

    No need to make something this stupidly simple into a feat of engineering.

  9. LitlDrk1 says:

    I know it goes against the nature of the site and the op’s question but I bought one of these last year http://www.evergreenseasons.com/watering_square.htm.
    IMHO it gadgety enough to satisfy me and pretty enough for the wife.