Normally made of polyethylene or sometimes recycled tire rubber, soaker hoses function by allowing water to slowly leak out through small holes across the hose's length. They can be placed around the home garden under a thin layer of mulch so that they are virtually hidden. The hose delivers a steady, slow supply of water to the plants' root systems.
Soaker hoses do not loose valuable water to evaporation because they slowly drip into the soil just beneath the garden mulch. Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch over the hose's surface. This allows more water to be successfully applied to the garden without any loss. Soaker hoses deliver the water directly to the plants' root systems without the foliage getting wet. Reducing wet foliage significantly reduces the chance of the plants developing fungal infections.
A soaker hose can have a timer attached to the end of it and than attached to the faucet. The timer can be set to go on at intervals throughout the day or week. Once the soaker hose is placed throughout the garden, it does not require being moved. The hose will simply come on according to schedule and water the areas where it has been laid.
A soaker hose functions best if the water pressure is at 10 psi (pressure per square inch). If the pressure exceeds this level, a special pressure-reducing value must be attached to the hose and faucet. To function correctly, the soaker hose cannot have any kinks within its length. Only use soaker hoses that measure less than 100 feet, and never hook two soaker hoses together or it will significantly reduce the pressure and the hose will not function properly.
Most soaker hoses will adequately water a vegetable garden if they run twice per week for approximately 30 minutes. In regions with excessive heat, the soaker hose may need to be operated more frequently. During the winter months, remove the soaker hose from the flower beds to prevent it from freezing.
Lay soaker hoses at least 1 to 2 inches away from a plant's base. Space each soaker hose 18 to 24 inches apart in sandy loam to ensure that the plants around the yard are adequately watered. In clay soil, the soaker hoses need to be placed closer together, such as 12 to 18 inches apart. Keep soaker hoses at least 3 to 4 inches away from concrete sidewalks or foundations.