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Frequently Asked Questions


Why doesn't the water completely empty out of my Ooze Tube?

The reason is simple - it isn't supposed to! The 25 gallon Ooze Tube actually holds 30 gallons of water when you first fill it. Our engineers designed it so that it is virtually impossible to drain all of this water out of the Ooze Tube through the emitters. There are two reasons for this: 1). We want the "empty bag" to be weighted down so that it doesn't blow about in the wind. 2). We want a place for sediments to settle and remain settled. This is really the main reason that Ooze Tubes are so "plug resistant", even at their incredibly slow drip rates. This also applies to the 15 gallon Ooze Tube, which is green in color.

Is that really enough water to sustain my tree with vigor?

One of the first things you'll notice when you start using Ooze Tubes is that you are in total control of how much water you give your tree - the more emitters you choose to use, the more water you'll give your tree... and the less time between refills. The reason for this is, a 2" caliper tree needs much less water than a 4" caliper tree. There is substantial research that supports the statement that "Anything over 1.5 gallons of water per inch of tree caliper per watering event is wasted." (refer to Dr. Ed Gilman's research at the University of Florida). While that is a LOT less water than most people think trees need, our experience strongly suggests that the tree needs even less water when the water is fed continuously - as is the case with the Ooze Tube. To date, we have about 10,000 trees in the field under Ooze Tube irrigation. To our knowledge, we have not lost the first one due to irrigation issues.

Is the old rule of thumb, "A 30 gallon tree requires 30 gallons of water a day," inaccurate?

In a word, yes... this old rule of thumb is totally inaccurate. In fact, there is significant research at the University of Florida that says that anything over 1.5 gallons of water, per inch of tree caliper, per watering application... is totally wasted. They recommend daily application of light amounts of water for optimal tree establishment. We think the old wives tale that says, "A 10 gallon tree needs 10 gallons of water a day" comes from containerized production of nursery stock. In that situation, the containers are filled with very porous planting media. As the trees are flooded with copious amounts of water, most of it drains out of the bottom of the pot and is wasted.

What is the difference between an Ooze Tube and a Tree Gator?

Both are great products - one was designed to establish trees in "tough to irrigate" places, the other was designed to enable more efficient harvesting (digging) of field grown trees. If you visit the treegator site, you'll see that they ask the question, "...why wait up to two weeks or more for your tree irrigation system to do it's job?" The answer is simple and straightforward - while the Ooze Tube doing its job for 2 or 3 or even 4 weeks, it is continuing to do the job for you. You don't have to come back once or twice a week to refill anything.

Why should I pretreat my water with chlorine if I pump water out of an irrigation canal or another unchlorinated source?

Sometimes, you can get away without it... but, it is very cheap insurance. The truth is, unchlorinated water is highly likely to contain a wide variety of micro-organisms; including algae bacteria and perhaps a few virus and mold spores. That's why you can't drink it without getting sick. If your Ooze Tube is configured for extended drip times and you use nutrient rich water containing algae bacteria, the algae will eventually start feeding on those nutrients. Eventually, you'll grow a nice crop of string algae that is likely to cause pluggage problems in your emitters. Conversely, if you add about 20 cents worth of sodium dichlor (aka: "Pool shock") to your truck as you fill it, the chlorine will kill all those micro-organisms and keep them from growing in all the Ooze Tubes that you fill from your "treated" truckload. You'll also notice a lot less funky molds and so forth growing around the base of your tree because the chlorine also attacks any mold spores that might be present in the water. Is this chlorine hazardous to my tree? As long as you don't get grossly carried away with your dosage; no, not at all. This isn't just our opinion, it is the opinion of the technical service gurus at Occidental Chemical Corporation, the manufacturers of chemicals that are used to clean and protect drip irrigation systems used in nurseries around the world. If small perennial liners (plugs) can take it, your tree certainly can! When you factor in the mold & virus control, we think it is actually much better for the tree than simply "taking your chances."

How much do Ooze Tubes cost, and where can I find them?

Because of the simplicity of their design, Ooze Tubes are surprisingly inexpensive. If you are a professional, depending upon volume, they range in price from $10 to $14 each. If you are a homeowner, you can buy them online by visiting our online store. Ooze Tube technology is growing like wildfire but, you are not likely to find them in your local landscape distribution outlet. The truth is, until a distributor is willing to invest the time to educate their customers on this cutting edge tree watering technology, they aren't likely to experience wonderful "sell through." For this reason, most of the thousands of Ooze Tubes that currently in the field have been distributed directly by our company as we have chosen not to aggressively pursue distributors until Ooze Tube technology becomes a "household name." We are always happy to take on new distributors and, after they are in place, we don't sell around them. Call or e-mail us with your job requirements. If there is a distributor in your area, we'll answer your questions and direct you to them. If there is not a distributor, we'll be happy to fill your requirements on the next UPS truck headed your direction.

Can I repair an Ooze Tube that has become torn or damaged?

Yes. Remove the Ooze Tube and empty it completely. Place the Ooze Tube on a flat surface and make sure the damaged area is COMPLETELY dry. Patch with duct tape, clear packing tape, or poly patch tape. Do not attempt to repair with a "Bicycle patch kit" as these are intended for rubber (an Ooze Tube is made of plastic).

Can I reuse my Ooze Tube on another tree planting?

Yes. Your Ooze Tube is made with UV inhibited plastic that should withstand up to 2 years exposure to full sun. If you remove it during the winter, and exercise a little care, you should be able to use again and again.

Are the Drip Emitters Adjustable?

No (and yes). The cap on top of the drip emitter does screw on and off but, this is intended for cleaning of the internal flow disk. In normal operation, the cap should be "finger tight" or snug. This restricts the flow of water to the correct rate. If you loosen the cap, even slightly, the drip rate increases dramatically, causing the Ooze Tube to empty in a day or less. Sometimes this is useful for watering-in a new planting... or for giving the tree a quick shot of water without losing any to surface run off. However, it is nearly always best to leave the emitter cap screwed down snugly.

How long should I continue to water my new tree?

ISA recommends that new trees be watered for 1 year per inch of caliper. Rarely do trees actually receive this much attention. For the size trees that most homeowners plant, we recommend that you keep it watered for the first full growing season (early spring through the summer)... and perhaps "watch it" the second year if your area gets in a major drought, etc. The first growing season is the most critical time for any new tree planting project.

How often should I refill my Ooze Tube?

For homeowners using our 15 gallon Ooze Tube, the drip time on the bag should be about 2 weeks. In all soil types other than sand, we recommend that you refill the bag every 2 to 3 weeks unless you see signs that the tree is showing signs of serious stress (serious leaf wilt and / or falling). If you are getting a lot of rain, discontinue filling until conditions dry out or, the tree starts showing signs of stress. Sandy soils do not hold water as well as heavier soils so, it may be necessary to refill the bag every week.




Send mail to dkdowney@etcmail.com with questions or comments about this web site. 1(800)951-8123
Copyright 2007 Engineered Watering Solutions
Last modified: 12/07/07