You've finished the hard work of planting your vegetables, ornamental plants and flowers for the season. The expense of adding ornamental plants requires specific consideration of watering practices used to maintain the landscape. Soaker hoses allow homeowners to conserve water while effectively watering the garden in a much more thorough manner than a standard garden hose.
Soaker hoses are composed of flexible rubber or vinyl materials to allow gardeners to wind these water devices between plants. Higher quality soaker hoses consist of all-rubber material featuring thousands of tiny holes placed along the hose length. Vinyl soaker hoses don't last as long as rubber hoses but also have holes placed throughout to allow water to seep into the garden.
A soaker hose system allows the gardener to create an affordable solution to watering the home landscape. Typical kits include a soaker hose, pressure regulator valve and end caps to seal off unused sections of the hose. Pressure valves attach directly to the outdoor spigot to control water flow to the hose. End caps get snapped onto the soaker hose end to limit waste of water. Soaker hoses can be extended to distant gardens using regular garden hoses. Fittings also exist to branch off main water hose lines to cover larger areas.
The primary reason for choosing a soaker hose system lies in the increased performance of plants. The best practice of watering involves allowing moisture to trickle deeply into the soil bed. This method sends water directly to plant roots. Deeply soaking the root systems of plants requires less frequent watering of plants. Since soaker hose systems regulate waterflow and application, this amounts to considerable savings for outdoor water use.
Soaker hoses work well in vegetable gardens and closely planted flower gardens. Lay the hose next to a row of vegetable plants, or wind the hose through an annual or perennial garden. This form of trickle irrigation will wet the nearby soil and promote the spread of moisture outward from the hose. Use a traditional garden hose to water widely spaced plants, trees or shrubs since considerable water will be lost along the hose length between these landscape plants.
Flower garden soaker hoses tend to be placed under the mulch layer to hide the unsightly hose. This results in clogged pores that require regular flushing for cleaning. Look for dry areas along the hose length when watering to determine if the hose needs a good cleaning. Remove the end cap from the soaker hose end and turn on the water full force to blow debris out of the hose's porous holes.