The use of a soaker hose in the garden conserves water and deeply provides adequate irrigation for any plant's root system. The hose contains hundreds of tiny porous holes throughout its length that allows water to slowly drip out. It slowly soaks the plant's root system without foliage or flowers becoming wet. A soaker hose is easy to use, durable and offers a stable way to water garden plants without needing to move a sprinkler daily.
A soaker hose is considered to be a form of drip irrigation, micro-irrigation, low-volume irrigation or trickle irrigation. In ancient times, gardeners watered the root systems of plants by placing water-filled clay pots with tiny holes into the ground to slowly seep out. After World War II, the manufacture of plastic, both hard and soft, became widespread, which allowed gardeners to utilize a multitude of drip irrigation systems, such as the soaker hose.
Wet foliage on many plant species causes fungal infections. A soaker hose places the water only on the plant's root system and not on its foliage or flowers.The soaker hose requires level ground to adequately and evenly water the plants. It does not do well on uneven ground. Lay the soaker hose at least 1 to 2 inches from all plant bases to offer deep root watering. Cover the soaker hose with 2 to 3 inches of mulch to keep the spray from the plant's foliage.
A soaker hose should never exceed 100 feet in length. A hose that is longer than 100 feet will not adequately soak the plant's root system toward the end of the line because the water pressure will be inadequate to water at such a distance. Soaker hoses are normally sold in lengths of 10, 25, 50 and 100 feet. Determine which length will adequately water the enter gardening location.
Run the soaker hose for at least 30 minutes to provide ample watering to plants. If using the soaker hose to water large shrubs or trees, allow the water to flow for one hour to adequately water the root system.
In areas with hard water, the soaker hose has a relatively short lifespan of only one season because it can easily become clogged with mineral deposits that can cause the hose to burst from added water pressure. Remove the soaker hose from the garden prior to freezing winter weather. Drain the hose and store it for future use. If the hose is allowed to freeze in the winter, it will often rupture or crack.