With the dry season almost here, it’s time to think about delivering water to your crops. One option to irrigate gardens is using a soaker hose. But do you leave it on the ground, or can it be buried? Let’s find out.
A soaker hose is a continuous porous tube that resembles a garden hose. Its function is to drip water into the soil along its entire length. Although the soaker hose system works great, it may make it difficult to walk in your garden. A simple solution for this is to bury it under mulch (not soil).
Imagine a garden where you can walk freely without tripping over your irrigation system. Dreamy, right? With a buried soaker hose, you can turn it into reality. Learn everything from running a soaker hose to laying it under mulch in this post.
Please Note- You should not bury soaker hoses underground in the soil. The soil may enter the hose and interfere with its functioning. However, they can go under a light layer of mulch (more about that below).
Can I Put A Soaker Hose Under Mulch?
Before I answer this, let’s see how to install a soaker hose system. You’ll need the following equipment for a successful installation.
(Some items mentioned below are not necessary but make the process more efficient.) I’ve included links to Amazon, so you can get everything you need easily and quickly:
For a quick and easy installation, follow these steps:
Step 1- Layout The System To Reach Maximum Plants
Attach the soaker hose system in your garden bed to cover most plants. You can attach hoses, create spirals around plants. However, the only limitation is not to exceed 100 feet in length in any part of the garden.
Step 2- Attach The Pressure Regulator
At the point where the hose meets the water supply, attach the pressure regulator. It allows you to monitor the water pressure to ensure consistency through the length of the hose.
Don’t connect the hose to the water source before this step.
Step 3- Attach The Soaker Hose
Once you’ve checked the pressure regulator’s working and laid out the soaker hose irrigation system, attach the hose to the pressure regulator. Ensure the soaker hose is thoroughly wet and turn on the water.
Here, the water must not squirt out of the holes; instead, it should seep out slowly.
Step 4- Turn Off The Water Supply
Turn off the soaker hose and make the connection more permanent. You can bury it under mulch, but don’t bury it under the soil.
Step 5- Measuring The Amount Of Water
Most plants need around 2 inches of water in a week. Make sure you turn the hose on for sufficient time, so they get enough water.
But how long will it take?
For example, when using a 5/8 inch hose, these are the approximate delivery rates.
- 200 minutes- 1 inch of water
- 150 minutes- ¾ inch of water
- 100 minutes- ½ inch of water
- 50 minutes- ¼ inch of water
Place a container underneath a hole; see how long it takes to fill two inches of water. Once you figure out the rate ideal for your garden, use a timer to turn it off.
Step 6- Attach the timer.
For the time calculated to fill the container with two inches of water, set a mechanical timer. Attach this timer to the end of the hose.
You can skip this step, but you’ll need to turn the hose on and off manually.
Now, to answer your question–yes. You can cover the soaker hose with 2-3inches of mulch, and it should still work efficiently. It will not only help prevent the hose from sun damage but also retain moisture.
Check out this quick video we like from YouTube:
How Long Do You Run A Soaker Hose?
Fifteen minutes, an hour, or more? What is the ideal duration to run a soaker hose?
When it comes to soaker hoses, there’s no one size fits all solution. The optimal amount of time will vary based on four factors; they are:
- The local climate
- Soil conditions
- The time of the year
- Type of plants
To begin with, run the hose for 30 minutes twice a week. Keep adjusting this interval until you find the right balance for your garden. There is no fixed time that you should leave the hose running.
Finding out how long to run it is a process of trial and error. Using a soaker hose is the best solution for gardeners who want to cut their water usage. This irrigation system works well if you know how to make the most of it.
How Effective Are Soaker Hoses?
Soaker hoses are a very effective irrigation option. They work seamlessly in any space and keep your garden well-irrigated.
However, in some situations, it is best to skip soaker hoses. Soaker hoses are not a good fit for gardens where plant rows are wide apart. It leads to unnecessary water wastage. They are also not recommended for lawns where you want the irrigation system to stay out of sight. Soaker hoses need to lay on a flat surface. So, if you have a garden with a different layout, it is best to avoid them.
However, the best part about soaker hoses is that they are better for your pocket and the environment simultaneously. And all of this while helping your garden stay in pristine condition.
Is A Soaker Hose Better Than A Sprinkler?
Soaker hoses reduce wastage of water, so they are more environmentally friendly than a sprinkler system. However, that’s not the only benefit of a soaker hose. Let’s look at some more advantages of using a soaker hose in comparison to other irrigation systems.
- Improves plant health
Some plants don’t like waterlogged soil. Experienced gardeners know the importance of watering the plants just enough. Soaker hoses avoid this problem by delivering the right amount of water straight to the roots.
- Cuts water usage
In comparison to a sprinkler system, a soaker hose uses much less water. It ensures the water reaches where it should, reducing evaporation and run-off.
- Eco-friendly material
Many soaker hoses come from using recycled rubber extracted from old vehicle tires. Millions of tires are discarded every year, using soaker hoses helps protect the environment. By using soaker hoses, you can minimize the impact of such hazardous materials on the world.
- Easy installation
Unlike a sprinkler system, the soaker hose doesn’t comprise multiple parts. You can easily install it yourself as not many connectors or elbow pieces are needed.
Another adjoining advantage is you don’t have to replace many parts if it breaks.
The water needs of plants vary from type to type. Based on your garden, pick an irrigation system that works best for you.
In this article here I did an in-depth comparison between sprinklers and soaker hoses. If you want to know what system is right for you, you should definitely check it out.
What Is The Difference Between A Soaker Hose And A Drip Hose?
In simple terms, drip hoses come with tiny holes that emit water slowly into the soil. Whereas, a soaker hose ‘leaks’ or seeps water along its length. Using a soaker hose, you can water an entire row simultaneously. Drip hoses only water at specific intervals where the positioning of the holes is.
Both types of irrigation systems allow you to water the plants’ base rather than sprinkling them directly in the air. It helps keep the leaves of plants dry, minimizing diseases like mildew that need a damp environment.
In comparison to drip irrigation systems, soaker hoses are cheaper and easier to install. However, a lot cheaper, soaker hoses are not as precise as a drip hose. If you want a system that waters only specific areas, set up a drip irrigation system.
How Much Area Does A Soaker Hose Cover?
A soaker hose covers an area of fewer than 100 feet when connected to a single water source. After 100 feet, the plants may not receive sufficient water needed for survival based on the water pressure. One should connect multiple soaker hoses to different outlets if your garden is more considerable. It ensures consistent coverage in every corner.
Can you lay a soaker hose system under mulch?
The straight answer–yes, you can lay a soaker hose under mulch. However, avoid laying it under the soil as it will most likely prevent the water from flowing through the hose. Watering plants for half an hour twice every week through a soaker hose provides enough water to them. But based on your requirements, you will need to experiment to find the right time the soaker hose needs to stay on. The overall installation process is not complicated. For beginners, it takes only a few hours or days (depending on the area) to set up the soaker hose system successfully.
In comparison to sprinklers, soaker hoses reduce water wastage through evaporation. A soaker hose is cheaper than sprinklers and a drip irrigation system. So, with this type of irrigation system, you save the environment and yourself from bankruptcy. Follow the simple steps given, and you’ll have your soaker hose system running in no time at all.