In water irrigation systems, a soaker hose is a lot better and more efficient to use compared to sprinklers and hand watering in keeping your backyard shrubs, lawn, or trees healthy even in the summers.
The soaker hose system is more effective in keeping water evaporation losses to a minimum, it directly drenches the soil even for mulched areas, and it hardly disturbs the topsoil for landscape gardening. But these are just some of the reasons why gardeners and farmers must integrate a soaker hose in their overall water irrigation system.
In this article, we are going to discuss the basics of a soaker hose system, a step by step installation of a soaker hose kit, its uses in various gardening requirements and scenarios, some tips on how to make the most out of your soaker hose, its benefits, and more.
What Is A Soaker Hose?
A soaker hose is similar to your traditional hose, but instead of the water solely gushing out from the end of the tube, water seeps along the entirety of the hose for round, and on one side for flat soaker hose. The soaker hose is made of porous rubber material that allows water to seep gently and soak the grounds where it lays.
How to Install Your Soaker Hose?
What You’ll Need:
- Soaker Hose Kit
- Garden hose (if necessary)
- Backflow prevention device
A soaker hose is easy to install and you can do this in a few steps:
Prepare your brand new soaker hose by unwinding and laying it on the warm pavement or under the sun. Leave it for an hour to remove the kinks and to loosen it from its tight coil packaging. But remember to not leave it for several hours as the material can deteriorate under heat and ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Uncap the end of the hose and attach it to a water source.
Flush the hose by running water for several minutes. This ensures that it is cleaned from the inside for any chemical traces. The hose should be flushed once or twice a year to remove debris.
Replace the cap of the hose after totally flushing out water.
Plan where you will lay your hose on the garden area you want to soak, and make sure that the end of the hose reaches the nearest faucet. Attach the open end of the soaker hose to the spout. If the garden is far from the faucet, bridge the gap with a regular garden hose to prevent leakage on pathways and areas where you don’t want water seeping in. Securely attach the end of the garden hose to the open end of the soaker hose, and hook the other end of the garden hose to the spout.
Turn the water on until the hose is stretched out and until you see a steady drip along the entire hose. Adjust the pressure from the faucet if necessary.
Step 7 (Optional)
If needed, prevent garden water from flowing back to your pipes by attaching a backflow prevention device between the faucet and the hose. It is important to keep your water sources clean, more so if you are drinking from your tap.
Another optional device you can use is a timer that attaches to the faucet. For multiple hoses, install hose splitters after a pressure regulator.
Here is a short video on how to install a soaker hose and a few reminders when setting up.
Soaker Hose Layout: Where to Place Your Soaker Hose
The placement of the soaker hose greatly affects the efficiency of your irrigation system. There is no one size fits all solution as your tomato garden will require a different pattern from your arborvitae rows.
For starters, the soaker hose must be within 6 to 12 inches of the base of the plants. Keep in mind the area it should cover. How far are the plants from each other and think of how long will the water get to the roots of the plants? What type of soil do you have? How well does the soil drain?
Another thing to consider is your plant’s water requirements and where you could guide the roots to grow. For trees, the roots naturally grow towards moist soil. The farther you want the roots to spread, the more spaces your soaker hose should cover. This means you will have to move the hose little by little as your plants mature.
Lay it flat on the ground or under mulch. Place it some inches away from plants. Find out the specifics in the next section.
How to Use a Soaker Hose:
How to Use a Soaker Hose for Foundation
A soaker hose is great for places with hot climates that can send house foundations cracking during summers. To set up a soaker hose, place it around the structure 20 to 24 inches away, and never directly. Get the soil moist but not muddy, and if it does, adjust your watering system and frequency. The ideal running time is 15 to 20 minutes daily during hot seasons.
Running time: 15- 20 minutes a day in the summer.
How to Use a Soaker Hose for Lawn
The soaker hose works great in areas that the spray can’t reach. You may lay the soaker hose in tight quarters to water perennials and shrubs, but it is inefficient in open lawns. Depending on your soil, test how long you need to run your soaker hose to get an inch of your ground moist. If the moisture reaches ¼ inches of the ground every 15 minutes, then you will need to run the water for 60 minutes to get the soil to at least a couple of inches wet. Space out your watering to at least twice a week.
Running time: 30 minutes twice a week.
How to Use a Soaker Hose for Trees
If you are growing rows of trees in your yard, lay two soaker hoses on either side of the trees to make a parallel line. Or form a crisscross pattern so that the first hose will wind up on the left of the first tree, then right of the second tree, and then to the left of the third, and so on. The second hose will wind on the opposite sides of the trees. Run your soaker hose for 60 minutes twice a week. In the summers, run the water around 10 in the morning or 7 in the evening to prevent evaporation.
Running time: 60 minutes twice a week
How To Use A Soaker Hose for Vegetable Garden
For a vegetable garden, place the soaker hose along rows of seeds and plants. If the area is mulched, get the hose underneath to directly water the soil and benefit from the protection of the mulch. Run it for 30 minutes twice a week. Adjust the watering time if the soil gets too wet, or when the soil dries faster at noon on hotter days. For most plants, watering is best done in the morning.
Running time: 30 minutes twice a week
How to Run a Soaker Hose in Raised Beds
For raised beds, space your soaker hose an inch or two from the base of new plants. Place it a few inches further away for matured plants. Lay the hose on the slope of the bed as evenly as possible for minimal uphill flow. Run the water for at least 30 minutes two to three times a week, depending on the weather.
Running time: 30 minutes two to three times a week
Using Soaker Hoses on Various Plant Types
- Shrubs and bushes – Place the hose along the base of the plants and take care of the spacing of the hose.
- Flower beds – You may wind the hose around the flowers or set it straight along rows as long as you can position the hose two inches away from the stem.
- Container plants – Wind the hose through spaces just like any other time. Note the height of the container or pot and strategize around getting too much uphill water flow.
- Trees – Place the hose around the root without touching the base of the tree to prevent the developing wood and roots from rotting.
5 Tips and Tricks for the Best Soaker Hose Application:
Tip 1: Go for a flat ground layout.
The soaker hose should be laid on level ground to get the water flowing to the entire hose evenly. Placing it on jagged terrains will get the water gathering unequally in parts of the hose, and result in dry patches in the ground.
Takeaway 1: Laying your soaker flat on the ground is the most efficient way of using this system.
Tip 2: Do not connect to a sprinkler.
The sprinkler requires a different pressure from your soaker hose. Connect your hose to a faucet and lay it around areas your sprinkler doesn’t reach.
Takeaway 2: The soaker hose is inefficient if using an inground watering system for sprinklers.
Tip 3: Do not remove the end cap.
The end cap is supposed to trap the water from the hose so no need to remove it. The water should seep out or “weep” to get out of the tube.
Takeaway 3: Don’t test the water flow by removing the end cap.
Tip 4: Initially, fill the tube entirely.
You want your soaker house to form taut cylindrical tubes when the water is in. This will force the water to weep the entirety of the hose.
Takeaway 4: At the beginning, get your hose to stretch out and let water seep out.
Tip 5: Don’t Remove the Restrictor Disk.
The restrictor disk guides the water for even distribution along the hose. For longer and multiple connections, remove the disk on the end that hooks the soakers together. Keep the one for the faucet.
Takeaway 5: Keep the restrictor disk at the coupling section to the water source
Benefits of Using a Soaker Hose
- Unlike sprinklers that release water first to the air before hitting the ground, the soaker hose system goes directly to the soil, which greatly reduces water loss from evaporation.
- Keeping the moisture to the ground means less susceptibility to fungal diseases that may develop from the foliage and stem. Moist foliage can also encourage the development of mildew and rotting.
- Because the soaker hose can be placed strategically to cater directly to plants, it reduces fertile and moist areas for weeds to grow and spread.
- Once the watering system is perfected, it saves time versus watering by hand. You just need to turn the spigot and wait for the tube to fill up.
- It waters the soil directly, which prevents the mulch from absorbing more of the water and weighing down the soil underneath. This also means the mulch won’t suffocate the roots.
- Prolonged watering through weeping ensures that the plants get enough time to absorb moisture, unlike watering by hand that should be done at once.
- A good weeping hose would not drain the soil too much or runoff the topsoil, which makes this perfect for raised beds.
- This system is versatile and can cater to a wide variety of plants from perennials and shrubs to bushes and trees.
In this article, we looked into the basic information about the soaker hose watering system, its installation process, benefits, and a few tips to ensure you are using your soaker hose right.