Soaker hoses are incredibly helpful tools as part of an irrigation plan for your garden. However, sometimes a soaker hose is too long for the space where it is needed. Can a soaker hose be shortened? In this article, we will examine the details of a soaker hose and conclude whether it can be shortened.
A soaker hose shortening to suit any area or situation presented in a garden or custom landscape is possible. These hoses often need trimming to meet the irrigation system’s needs. Shortening them can be done successfully so that those needs are satisfied.
Soaker hoses used in gardening situations for effective and efficient watering are quite popular among serious gardeners. There are several advantages of using soaker hoses, all of them with a positive environmental impact.
Soaker hoses are a way to effectively use the lowest possible amount of water to irrigate the largest possible area. They allow water to slowly drip out of the hose directly onto the ground and then be soaked in quickly. There is minimal water waste.
Soaker hoses also promote water conservation by minimizing water evaporation during watering. Water is delivered directly to the area that needs irrigation.
Finally, soaker hoses are typically derived from recycled rubber, repurposing materials that would otherwise go to the landfill. It’s worth trying to shorten a soaker hose to fit into your irrigation plan because of these advantages.
So Can A Soaker Hose Be Shortened?
It is possible to shorten a soaker hose, and well worth doing. Soaker hoses are generally sold in several standard lengths, starting at 25 feet long and going up to 100 feet long. Once in a while, you might luck out and locate a 15-foot soaker hose, but these are rare.
Often, areas in a garden would benefit from a soaker hose to water them, but 25 feet is way too long for the area. What can you do? You can shorten your soaker hose! Creating a creative solution to a hard to fit area will mean that you can irrigate this area while practicing water conservation techniques.
How Do You Shorten A Flat Soaker Hose?
The most effective way to shorten a flat soaker hose is to cut it and properly attach a new fitting at the end. It takes the right parts and some careful attention to detail, but is almost sure to be a success.
Some people would say that to save time; you should just cut the hose and fold the end, then secure it with a rubber band or duct tape. It might seem to work in the short term, but it is not a wise or sustainable solution long term.
Before you start, make sure that you have a sharp box cutter knife (or similar), a screwdriver, and a new fitting of your flat soaker hose’s correct diameter. If possible, try to purchase a plastic fitting for this change. If you aren’t sure what size of fitting to buy, you can take the flat soaker hose to the hardware store and ask the staff to advise you.
To begin, disconnect your flat soaker hose from the water source. Then, drain all of the remaining water out of the flat soaker hose. Next, lay your flat soaker hose exactly how you want to use it in your garden, from the spout or water source (but not hooked up yet!), through the intended irrigation area. Make sure that the excess length of the hose is lying outside of the intended watered area.
Thanks to your pretend watering exercise of having the flat soaker hose in place, you know exactly where you need to cut the hose. Take your knife and cut the excess amount of hose off with one straight and even cut. The straight line is essential so that the new fitting attaches cleanly.
Cutting Tip: Take a wood board (makeshift cutting board) and set the flat hose on top to effectively make your clean-cut.
Slide the top portion of the new fitting onto the newly cut end of your now shorter flat soaker hose. Then tighten the screws with the fitting as tightly as you can without damaging anything.
Finally, make sure that you test the hose to make sure that no more adjustment is needed. Attach the other end of the flat soaker hose to the spout and turn on the water. If all went well, water would fill the flat soaker hose, but there will be no leaks at the very end with the new fitting.
Which Is Better – Flat Or Round Soaker Hose?
Flat and Round soaker hoses both exist to serve a similar purpose. They each facilitate irrigation while promoting water conservation, recycling materials, and effective watering habits. However, each type of soaker hose has its advantages for specific types of use.
A round soaker hose (link to Amazon) is a durable tool made of repurposed rubber. Water slowly drips from every side of the round hose, falling onto the ground where it lays. This hose can handle a significant amount of abuse and can have soil or mulch spread over it without flattening.
Since the round soaker hose doesn’t flatten easily, one can partially or fully bury it without losing any effectiveness as a water delivery system. However, burying in mulch is preferred to burying in the dirt as dirt that has a lot of clay could potentially clog the hose over time (check out this article I wrote about burying a soaker hose).
However, the round soaker hose is vulnerable to deterioration from extended exposure to sunlight because the rubber material can disintegrate. Because of this issue, it is best to either only have your round soaker hoses out in the garden when you are using them or to have them covered by mulch to reduce sun exposure.
The flat soaker hose (also available on Amazon) consists of a nylon-coated mesh material, which is not as durable as the round soaker hose’s rubber. However, it is not as vulnerable to exposure to sunlight.
The flat soaker hose has an advantage with its naturally flat construction, where it is more likely to stay exactly where you placed it, while the round soaker hose might roll slightly.
The flat soaker hose doesn’t have the same strong shape as the round soaker hose. It means that it is a bad idea to bury the flat soaker hose under dirt, as the flow of water is likely to be impeded by the soil’s weight. However, you can cover the flat soaker hose with a fair amount of mulch with no ill effects.
The flat soaker hose only has holes along one side of the hose. It means that when you place the hose with the holes facing down, water only comes out of the side in direct contact with the ground. Water is then absorbed quickly, with less chance of evaporation than using a round soaker hose.
How Many Soaker Hoses Can You Connect Together?
It can be tempting to consider creating a massive network of soaker hoses! Just hook one hose up to the water source and then keep on adding soaker hose after soaker hose. However, doing this without considering the consequences could result in areas of your garden not receiving enough irrigation. The first soaker hose closest to the spout or water source will have the highest water pressure. Then, the farther the soaker hoses become from the water source, the lower the pressure.
To ensure that your soaker hose network is as efficient as you need it to be, avoid creating a length of connected hoses any longer than 150 feet per spout or water source. Design your soaker hose network’s path carefully to avoid needing more than 150 feet of a soaker hose. If your garden area is too large for this size constraint, you will need a second water source for another hose’s length/network.
How Effective Is A Soaker Hose?
A soaker hose is an incredibly useful watering tool as part of a larger irrigation plan. Soaker hoses, both flat and round ones, bring water directly to the locations that you have selected. There is far less chance for water waste and areas missed as there would be a sprinkler or a plain hose.
A soaker hose’s magic is that water emerges from the holes in the hose slowly, giving it time to soak into the affected area gradually. Unlike when you place a sprinkler in one area and drench it quickly, water doesn’t pool and go down any existing hills, ending up where it is not intended to be and causing waste.
Here’s a great video about soaker hose installation from YouTube:
As we have discussed, a soaker hose of any type can face shortening successfully, and it is a worthwhile use of a gardener’s time to do so. Shortening your soaker hose with care will give you an effective method to water a small garden area while preventing water waste. We highly recommend using soaker hoses and customizing their length as you need them.