What is a soaker hose and what are the benefits of using one? A soaker hose looks just like most garden hoses, but there is one fundamental difference that sets it apart. Across its entire length it is covered in tiny pores that allow the water to slowly seep from the hose at an even and slow rate.
The benefit of this is that it allows the water to soak into the ground directly to the base of the plants, right where the water is needed the most; the root zone. This in turn is beneficial for the foundation, as it keeps the ground from getting too moist, therefore preventing the expansion of the expansive clay that could potentially damage the foundation. On top of that, a soaker hose requires almost no maintenance or observation. Nor does it need any type of special equipment or fitting, as it can be attached to the spigot just like any other hose.
One of the biggest appeals of a soaker hose is the savings it provides. Saving water is the most obvious one, but not only will you be looking after the environment; you will be looking after your wallet too! As a lower consumption of water means a lower bill! Besides the soaker hoses themselves are inexpensive and easy to use; adaptable to the desired length (although it should not be more than a 100 feet, otherwise pressure might not be enough to get the water through) and easy to move about, making them perfect for watering gardens, shrubs perennial borders and areas around shrubs and trees.
This however doesn’t make them fit for all locations and situations: while they belong in flower and garden beds they will not be suitable for lawn watering for instance. Also the soaker hose should be placed in flat areas as any type of slope will not allow the water to seep effectively.
Now, how do you go about installing a soaker hose?
First you will have to unravel the hose and remove the end cap. Connect the hose to spigot and run the water; this will flush out any debris. Shut off the water and replace the cap before turning the water on again to ensure that the hose is now seeping properly. You will see this when small drops of water start coming out along the entire length of the hose.
Now close off the water and leave the hose on the sun for about an hour so it will soften, making it far easier for you to maneuver it around your trees, plants or flowers.
With your layout planned you should easily trace exactly the areas you want to water, through vegetables, flower beds, shrubs and trees, trying to keep the hose as flat as possible. When installing rows make sure to space them about 12-18 inches apart on sandy soil and 18-24 inches apart on clay or loam soil while also making sure that the hose is at least 1-2 inches apart from the base of established plants.
Now that the hose has been installed it is time to turn the faucet on, but just enough for the hose to be seeping water and not spraying it. You can adjust how much you turn the faucet as necessary. You should start with 30 minutes a couple of times a week; after watering you should check your soil to see how far down the moisture has penetrated the soil; use this information to make any necessary adjustments.
Once you find the perfect number, you can always add a timer to the hose to water the exact same number of minutes every time (This generally go for around 30-50 dollars depending on the model) in order to get a reliable worry-free watering. There are even some timers with wi-fi capability that keep track of the weather conditions making sure that if in any given day rain is expected, it will not water the garden futilely.
With that set we suggest you use metal garden stakes or anchoring pins to hold the hose in place and if possible, we recommend that you cover your soaker hose with mulch; this will help retain moisture as well as protect the hose from sun damage.
You should water the garden at least once a week for the amount of time that you have previously determined, although during the hot summer days it is recommended that you do it at least twice.
Now, if you know you will stop using the hose for an extended period of time, you should disconnect it from the faucet and replace the cap so insects and other debris won’t find their way inside it. And while you could leave your hoses outside, we recommend that you don’t, specially in winter. But if you must leave it outside make sure to drain all the water from the hose; you can do this by simple gravity to ensure that the hose won’t split when residual water freezes.
Also, direct sunlight and temperature swings will definitely make the hose age faster so if you must leave it outside, try and find some place where direct sunlight will not touch it.
So now that you know how to install a soaker hose it will be much easier for you to maintain a beautiful and lush garden, while saving time, water, money, and effort, while helping to look after your foundation.