Do you use sprinkler, sprinkler system or soaker hoses?

marti8aMay 15, 2007

I used to have a sprinkler system around my foundation & used a pulsating sprinkler if I ever needed anywhere away from the house. But the foundation people told us to replace with soaker hoses & of course with water rationing, sometimes the only thing allowed. So I finally replaced the foundation sprinklers with soaker hoses, but now I don't know how much water is actually getting to the plants & foundation. Anyone know how to measure? The package said 3-4 hours on low pressure with the knob turned 1/4 turn, but I have an underground frostproof handle that just pulls up & is hard to determine the flow.

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Hi Marti, this is the info that came with some of our hoses.

The manufacturer recommends spacing between soaker hoses based on soil type. On sandy soils the hose should be 1 to 1.5 feet apart. On loam soils, hose spacing should be 1.5 to 2 feet apart. And on clay soils spacing should be 2 to 3 feet apart. If you have a heavy soil, which is hard to dig, then use the 2 to 3 feet spacing as you wind or spiral the hosing in and around the plants to be watered.
The manufacturer also indicates that the hose should be operated at low pressure and flow  10 to 30 pounds per square inch (PSI). However, this requires the addition of a pressure regulator at the supply end of the hose. Rather than attaching a pressure regulator, I suggest just barely opening the hose bib to obtain the smallest amount of water flow through the hose. Although not scientific, my tests have indicated that by just opening the hose bib slightly, the flow rate of water out the hose is about .6 gallons per foot-of-hose per hour. So, a 50 foot soaker hose would apply about 30 gallons of water per hour. Comparing this to the output of one gallon drip emitters on standard 3-foot spacings, the soaker hose applies double the amount of water over the same given time.
The time needed to water with a soaker hose will depend in great part on the type of plants being watered. Trees require the longest soaking since their roots can extend down 3 feet. Small garden plants and ground covers need the shortest soaking since their roots extend down only 12 to 18 inches. The object is to allow the water to penetrate down to the rooting depth.
When laying out the hose over the area to be watered, remember to watch spacing. When watering trees, start the soaker hose a few feet from the trunk. Spiral the hose out several feet beyond the edge of the branches. This will allow watering of a substantial portion of the roots. When watering shrub or ground cover beds, snake the hose through the area, extending the hose just a foot or so beyond the outermost branches.
Turn the hose on and allow the water to run 30 to 60 minutes, then check the depth of wetting. You can do this by using a metal soil probe. A 3-foot piece of metal re-bar or a thick wooden dowel will work. The rod can be pushed through moist soil, but stops when dry soil is encountered. Measure the depth of wetting and adjust the watering time of the soaker hose accordingly. It may take several hours to properly water a tree.
A final suggestion. Rather than run your soaker hose for a continuous time period, try running it in cycles  one hour on and one hour off until the desired depth of wetting is reached. This will further slow the rate of application and increase absorption.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 9:59PM
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Wow jolana, your soaker hose has more info than mine. I think I read somewhere that the soaker hose should be about 12-18 inches from the foundation. That & my vegetable garden is the only thing I water unless it is just getting established.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 10:33PM
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That's what I have read also

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 10:46PM
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I hope I don't regret pulling out my sprinkler system. Maybe I'll get the hang of these hoses. I still don't see that sprinkler systems are so bad, a lot of my neighbors have them.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 2:11PM
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rick_mcdaniel(Lewisville, TX)

Sprinkler system. No other way to adequately water, in peak heat.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 3:35PM
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Sprinkler system, but since I expanded the garden beds, I noticed that the front of the bed is not watered adequately, so I am laying soaker hoses as well, which will allow twice a week sprinkler and once a week soaker - easier and cheaper than expanding the sprinkler system...


    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 5:12PM
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denisew(z8 TX)

I put soaker hoses throughout the flowerbeds, but also use my sprinklers. Sometimes in the summer when things get really parched, the sprinkler system doesn't quite get the water soaked through, so I use the soaker hoses for awhile before turning on the sprinkler system. It helps break the surface tension by getting things wet from below.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 5:23PM
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Bev__(z7/8 TX)

I have a sprinkler & drip systems. I live on a lake and have a lake pump that my sprinkler system is hooked to and I water my grass with lake water.
The drip system is from our water co-op well and is thru out my raised flower & veggie beds and around much of our foundation. Our lake water is very acidic and kills most plants, trees, & many shrubs if it hits the leaves. Just burns them up. If lake water is used in the drip system it clogs up the drips, even though I have the water filtered at the pump and thru out the system. My st. augustine grass likes it.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 2:51AM
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