A soaker hose placed strategically around the base of plants provides excellent irrigation for the home garden. It works best when emitting a slow drip or trickle through the small holes located from one end of the hose to the other. While soaker hoses are easy to use, there can be a few issues that arise that are easily remedied.
Most soaker hoses work best with the water set to around 10 lbs. per square inch. Purchase a pressure reducer to attach between the hose and the faucet to properly set the pressure, if necessary.
Cover the hose with an inch or two of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or wood chips, if your hose is set in one location for the season. Mulch will reduce the amount of water evaporation. Mark above ground with little lawn flags where the hose is located so you don’t break it when you work in your garden with a shovel, rake or other sharp objects.
Over or Under Watering
In general, plants need 1 inch of water a week. In summer months, increase this amount to 2 inches of water per week. Water can be obtained from rain or the soaker hose. Note how much rain you receive throughout the week with an outdoor rain gauge or from local weather statistics, usually available online. Then, supplement with the soaker hose as needed. To know how long it takes to water an inch, set a small can, such as a tuna fish can, under several holes. Then turn on the hose to the recommended pressure and time how long it fills it up an inch. This will help you determine how long to turn on the soaker hose in the future.
Lay your soaker hose above ground and turn it on. Notice which holes do not have any (or reduced) water coming out. Mark with stick or rock next to the clogged holes so you remember where they are located after you turn off the hose. Then, unclog the holes with a pin or needle.
Too Much Hose
You may just have too long of a hose for it to work properly. For example, the end of the hose may have less water coming out than the front of the hose nearest the spigot. Take off one section and see if it helps even the amount of water coming out. Also, if you buy a new section of hose, only buy a piece that is 100 feet or less.
Proximity to Structures
Keep a soaker hose at least 12 to 18 inches away from any kind of concrete, brick, asphalt or similar foundation. Through time, the water may damage the foundation or other structures.