Treegators Gone Bad



Oh, that hurts to look at!  What once held water for slow-release into the tree's root zone has become a container trapping mulch up against the bark of the tree.  Disease will ensue. 

Sadly, this isn't a unique incident of arborcide; I spotted a whole block of them in a D.C. neighborhood near me.  Names on the Treegators give credit to the D.C. government and local nonprofit Casey Trees.  A return visit is in order, doncha think?

Addendum:  This is NOT a Treegator product and some alert person there corrected my assumption.  Sorry, y'all.


  1. Amen, sister. I could have written this rant. Around here they leave the things on year round. Don’t tell me a tree needs water when it’s below zero. And I seriously doubt they’re bothering to fill the things after the first couple of weeks.

  2. I saw this exact thing once going out to someone’s home. She just had no idea how to plant a tree, and if a little mulch is good, a lot must be too. I hope I saved them before it was too late. If you don’t know how to do something–find out!

  3. Hi, Susan!

    I came across your Garden Rant blog via a Google alert. I am in charge of Sales & Marketing for Treegator Slow Release Watering Bags.

    Just wanted to clarify that the product shown in your post is NOT a Treegator.

    This is an entirely different tree watering product called an Ooze Tube – it is in no way affiliated with Treegator products, and (unfortunately, IMO) used by Casey Trees on many DC-area tree plantings.

    This is indeed an incorrect way to mulch a tree, and obviously not the way this particular product was intended to be used.

    Hopefully, your efforts will lead to this tree (and any others) being rescued from an early demise.


  4. I had to look up treegators, I thought this must be a joke, I was so confused. Who would do that and think it’s going to help? Using a soaker hose takes too much time?

  5. I alerted Darrel Downey, a certified arborist and owner of Engineered Water Solutions that produces Ooze Tube, and similar watering products designed for new plantings so he can respond to this.

    Any product is subject to misuse and even abuse, including Treegator.

    In addition to being much more affordable the Ooze Tube products release water more slowly requiring less refilling and better water absorption for the plants.

    The FAQ section on their website clarifies a lot of expectations.
    Friends of Trees posted a YouTube video showing usage

  6. I have left flyers on proper mulch techniques (produced by Clemson University) in the doors of unsuspecting homeowners who had volcanos and giant mulch bagels around their trees…

  7. Hello All,

    My name is Darrell Downey and I am both a certified arborist, a mechanical engineer and the inventor of the Ooze Tube family of tree watering products. While there is much I’d like to say about the above comments, I’ll just make a few brief observations:

    1. Casey Trees is a fantastic non-profit organization that employs some very knowledgeable and experienced tree people. It is a fact that they do much good work in the communities they serve.

    2. Like all non-profits, Casey Trees recruits and uses a LOT of very well meaning volunteers to accomplish their mission of greening up the DC area.

    3. It is a sure bet that one of their well intended but, misinformed volunteers used this Ooze Tube in the exact opposite way that is was designed to be used. Sometimes volunteers can be a little bull headed… And, since they are working for free…

    Lastly, to Mr Rob Taylor, who took the cheap shot above, I’ll quickly touch on the main reason that Casey Trees and so many other municipalities and non-profits have moved away from Treegators and upgraded to Ooze Tubes. It isn’t because Ooze Tubes cost less, it is because they drip for weeks between refills (vs. a Treegator, which empties in 6 to 10 hours). The trees do better and the labor savings are huge.

    That said, both Treegators and Ooze Tubes are responsible for saving thousands upon thousands of trees worldwide. Both products have, and I suspect always will be used improperly on a few occasions. Heck, I once saw a homeless man in downtown Atlanta that was using one as a rain jacket. 🙂

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