Before the invention of soaker hoses, overhead sprinklers were the primary form of irrigation device being used by gardeners to water their premises. These sprinklers created erosion problems and caused puddles. However, with the invention of soaker hoses, these problems have been addressed.
A soaker hose is an efficient way to water plants without wasting it as it enables you to get the water directly to where it’s needed. However, the problem with this is that most gardeners are not aware of how to use it. In this article, you will find a straightforward guide on How to Use a Soaker Hose.
Not just that, we will also look at how a soaker hose can be set up, where it should be placed, and how often it should be run to achieve the maximum result. Yes, we have a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in!
Definition of a Soaker Hose
Soaker hoses are usually made of a porous rubber material from which the water oozes out into your garden over time. This is effective in ensuring the deep watering of your plants rather than the shallow surfaces watering you might have been used to.
It is usually made from recycled rubber, which is gotten from used tires, the rubber material is sterilized most times and then used to produce more sustainable materials. Hence, you are helping to keep our environment safe from pollution and encouraging the recycle effort when you purchase a soaker hose.
Soaker hoses do not get water directly into the plants since they don’t spray like other types of irrigation systems and this benefits a lot of people.
While sprinklers are not bad at all and are being used by many people, the use of soaker hoses is much more preferable, especially for plants that are susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew or other forms of fungal infections which spread very fast in a wet environment.
Benefits of a Soaker Hose
There are so many benefits of using a soaker hose as against other forms of irrigations. Some of these benefits include:
- Reduction in Use of Water: Since soaker hoses do not spray, water goes directly to the garden from the hose; this, in turn, saves water. Also, the slow oozing of the water from the hose prevents erosions and runoff.
- Prevents Fungi Infection: Soaker hoses keep water from getting to the plant foliage. This means that there is less water on the plant, thereby reducing the plant’s susceptibility to fungal diseases. Not just this, it also aids in the control of the soil moisture, which can also prevent the spread of soil-borne diseases.
- Reduction in The Spread of Weeds: Since there is a concentration of water along with the hose, weeds will not get water and hence will die off. This effectively keeps the spread of weeds at bay.
- It Saves Time: Rather than spend time filling up water cans or holding a hose sprayer, you can just set the soaker hose and forget all about it, it will water your garden by itself. Even in the absence of a timer, all you have to do is turn on the faucet and come back later. It’s that easy!
- It Is Easy And Convenient To Use: Once you have sorted out the watering pattern, every other thing is made easier as the watering itself is not difficult. It may take a while to get used to at first, but once you get a hang of it, you can go about your business assured that your garden is getting watered.
How to Install a Soaker Hose
Before you can learn how to use a soaker hose, there is a need to learn how to install it. You can decide to use the Flexon Soaker Kit, or you could choose to do it yourself, either of these methods is fine. Once you have designed the system of operation, the assembling of the parts is pretty simple.
First, you will need to cut the soaker hose to the appropriate length required for your layout. If there is no looping, then cap one of the ends of the hole with a hole plug. After this is done, connect the other end of the hose to the right connector (connect both ends to a tee connector if it’s looped). Once it’s been assembled, attach the soaker hose to a water source.
A pair of shears will also be needed; you can choose to use wire cutters, though, as they are effective as well. A pair of pliers will also come in handy as it helps you fit the entire component together, so ensure you get that as well. The DIYers will need extra tools; this, however, depends on the setup, so it’s best you know everything you will need.
How to Use a Soaker Hose
Run It through the Garden
If you are going to water annual plants using a soaker hose, then it should be placed at least four inches away from the stems, while for large plants, such as shrubs and trees, the hose should be placed farther away (about 12 to 14 inches away) so that the water drips down to the roots of the plants.
Note that water disperses further on clay soil than on sandy soil, but with a little experiment, you should be able to find the right spot. If you have a soaker hose that has been with kinks in it for a long time, then unwrap it, after which it should be spread in the sun for many hours. You can hold the hose in place by making use of landscape fabric pins.
Set the Faucet Right
Since faucets are designed to work at a low pressure if the water is turned out too high, then overtime the water droplets will turn to shooting streams. Hence, most soaker hoses come with an internal regulator, but even at that faucets should not be set too high to avoid the soaker hose from getting damaged.
You will be able to determine the right pressure when water seeps from the hose pores to this effect, the farther the water source is from the faucet, the lower the pressure of water is, so it will be best not to connect different soaker hoses, more so if the hose is to transport the water uphill. Ensure the length of the hose is kept 25 feet to guarantee that steady pressure is delivered across the entire length of the hose.
If you will need to water different places, then it’s best to have a Y valve installed on the faucet, and then have only water in one area at a time to ensure there is optimum pressure.
Estimate the Run Time
A soaker hose is suitable for watering the roots of plants, but the trick comes in knowing how long it takes to run, especially on wet grounds. One of the most effective ways is to have the hose run for as long as 45mins, after which you use a garden shovel or even your fingers to check through the soil to determine the depth in which the water has penetrated.
Ideally, there is a need for water to get to at least 4 inches deep if it’s annual crops, while the ideal depth for perennial crops is 12 inches. Note that the soil should be wet enough to soften the ground and not overly waterlogged so that you notice pockets of water. As soon as you can determine the optimal time, make a note of it so that you know how long it takes to run the entire system.
For hillside gardening, the use of soaker hoses helps in the prevention of erosion. As such, place the soaker hose uphill since water rolls downhill. However, this also means that plants that are higher up the hill will dry out faster than the plants that are close to the bottom, hence, ensure you water the upper hill plants more frequently than those that are on the lower hill.
To ensure watering on a slope, place the soaker hose at a horizontal position right across the area that is raised. If several potted flowers or plants are close to each other, you could run a soaker hose across their containers to ensure ease of drip irrigation. If you possess plants that require more water and less water on the same soaker hose, then have the hose wrapped twice around the plant with more water need.
Before now, when you were asked why you haven’t started using a soaker hose yet, your excuse might have been “I don’t know how to use one.” But not anymore. Now that you know how to use a soaker hose, it’s time to have yours installed and begin to reap its many benefits.