Many home gardeners use soaker hoses to save water. But how much water does a soaker hose use per hour and overall? The answer to this question lies in the way you make use of your soaker hose.
Many variables affect the amount of water a soaker hose uses. This article discusses correct soaker hose use and shares tips to help you get the most from this valuable garden tool.
Why Are Soaker Hoses Valuable Garden Tools?
A soaker hose uses water very efficiently. It does not spray water into the air where it evaporates before it hits the ground. Additionally, soaker hoses provide focused watering.
With a soaker hose, you can place the hose exactly where you want the water. When set up correctly, a soaker hose delivers a slow, steady delivery of water. This reduces runoff and maximizes the amount of water your plants receive.
Soaker hoses are a good alternative if you:
- Cannot install a drip irrigation system
- Need a more flexible system
You can connect soaker hoses to a standard spigot or a standard garden hose. They can move from place to place easily. They are available in many different lengths to suit any situation.
A Soaker Hose Fits Right Into A Standard Hose Watering Setup
Typical soaker hoses are the same diameter as a standard garden hose. The porous material used to make a soaker hose allows the water to drip slowly to specific locations.
The slow drip lets the moisture seeps evenly into the soil at plants’ root zones. This type of hose is very effective for watering:
Choosing to water with a soaker hose can bring a lot of benefits, such as:
With soaker hoses set up in permanent locations, you will not need to hand water or move sprinklers around to water plants.
Soaker hoses use less water than any other watering methods, saving money and water.
Correct use of a soaker hose promotes the delivery of the right amount of water to your plants.
Not only do soaker hoses conserve water, but most are made of recycled plastics.
How Do You Know How Much Water Your Soaker Hose Is Using?
To determine how much water your specific setup is using, you must take several variables into account. They are:
- Water Pressure
- Hose Diameter
- Hose Length
For example, with 100′ hundred feet of 1/2″ inch hose and water pressure of 40 PSI, the flow rate is six gallons a minute. If you add more hose, the flow rate will decrease.
For a hose with a larger diameter, the flow rate will increase. For example, 100′ hundred feet of 5/8″ inch hose and water pressure of 40 PSI, your flow rate will be eleven gallons a minute.
It’s important to note that these are general examples. When using a soaker hose, your goal is to have a PSI of about 10. Less pressure means less water output.
From a standard faucet a rate of 1/2 gallon per minute is a good rule of thumb.
To deliver on inch of water using a 5/8″ soaker hose requires about 200 minutes.
- 200 minutes delivers 1″- inch of water
- 150 minutes delivers 3/4″- inch of water
- 100 minutes delivers 1/2″- inch of water
- 50 minutes delivers 1/4″- inch of water
So, Exactly How Much Water Does A Soaker Hose Use?
It’s easy to see that there is no straightforward answer to the question “How much water does a soaker hose use?” There are just too many variables in question, including:
- Garden Layout
- Plant Type
- Plant Size
Soaker hoses are generally available in 1/2″ and 5/8″ inch diameter. Most gardeners use the 1/2″ inch size because this fits a a standard garden hose.
Soaker hoses often have a flow regulator installed inside the hose. This naturally affects the flow rate. If you custom make a soaker hoses by cutting the perforated material to length and fitting the attachments yourself, you’ll need to install a flow regulator.
Flow/pressure regulation is essential. The best PSI for soaker hoses is 10. Higher PSI levels can cause a soaker hose to burst.
Generally speaking, low PSI is preferable when using a soaker hose.
This is especially true when watering small, tender, young plants. It’s better to water longer at a low PSI than risk damaging your soaker hose. Plus, inundating plants by delivering too much water all at once is not a good growing practice.
How To Set Up Your Soaker Hose Successfully
Pick a Good Location
Soaker hoses work best on level ground in the garden or under shrubs, hedges, raised garden beds and trees. They are not suited to lawn watering.
Use the Right Attachments
At the faucet, you will need:
- Backflow preventer
- 10 or 12 PSI pressure regulator
- Garden hose
Set up the attachments in the order given. Next, attach the soaker hose to the garden hose. Don’t connect the soaker hose directly to the faucet.
Measure Before Purchasing Your Soaker Hose
Get the length that fits the area you want to water. A soaker hose that is too long wastes water.
Space Your Soaker Hoses Correctly For The Type Of Soil
If you have clay or loamy soil, your soaker hoses should be between 18″ and 24″ inches apart. If you have sandy soil, place the hoses between 12″ and 18″ inches apart.
Place Your Hoses The Right Distance From Plants
For established plants, hoses should be ” – 2″ inches away from the plants’ stems. If plants are newly planted, place hoses closer to deliver water directly to the roots and help establish the plants.
Control The Flow
Remember that soaker hoses should seep, not spray. At first, turn your faucet on a quarter of the way. Wait a few minutes and then check to see how the water is flowing. Adjust accordingly.
Establish a Schedule
Start by watering with soaker hoses for half an hour, two times weekly. The day after watering, check the soil. It should be moist several inches down. Make adjustments to your watering schedule until you have attained the desired results.
How Do You Know How Much Water You Need?
The water requirements in your garden will vary with the seasons.
In early spring, keeping the soil uniformly moist helps seeds and seedlings get a good start. During the hot, dry days of summer, set your soaker hoses to deliver a long, deep drink in the cool part of the day.
Naturally, during the rainy season, you may not need to water at all. As autumn draws near and days shorten and cool, reduce watering as you reduce your crops.
Determining exactly when and how long to use your soaker hoses depends on your specific situation. Variables such as:
- Average Temperature
- Types of Crops
- Soil Structure
… must be taken into consideration.
To determine what you need to do in your particular setting, it’s a good idea to consult local gardeners. Joining a local gardening club is invaluable in learning what works best in your area.
Soaker Hose Use Tips
Avoid kinks in your soaker hose. Lay out a new hose out in the sunshine to warm up and “relax” before putting it in place.
Keep your soaker hose clean and clog-free by flushing it out before using it for the first time. Do this several times during the summer to wash out any sediment that may collect inside.
To do this, just unscrew the end-cap and run water through it as you would a regular garden hose.
Protect your soaker hose and conserve water by covering it with two or three inches of mulch after you have it permanently positioned.
Don’t cover your soaker hose with soil.
Devise a marking system using flags, decorative stones or other objects to help prevent accidentally damaging the soaker hose when digging in the garden.
Don’t leave your soaker hose connected when not in use. This can cause contaminated water to backwash into your water pipes. Disconnect your soaker hose between uses.
When you disconnect your soaker hose, plug or cover the open end to prevent dirt and bugs from getting into it.
Consult your local agricultural extension for focused, pinpointed tips on growing and watering in your area.