soaker hose timing help

Harleylove(9)April 17, 2013


Any suggestions on how long and how often to use soaker hose?

I had mine set at 2 hours every 3 days and hubby changed it to 45 minutes every day. We both researched and came up with different times. He feels 2 hours is too long but I am concerned because my tomatoes were leggy and were buried deep (probably 12 inches).

Any thoughts or how long do you run yours?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

If those are the only two choices then your approach is much better than the hubby approach. Deep infrequent watering is always better than frequent shallow watering. Shallow watering only encourages shallow rooting of plants. Ideally it should even be needed that often however.

This question comes up for discussion often and the easy test to set the timing is the "bury a can" test. Bury a can so the top sits right at soil level and the hose runs over it about mid way down the hose and time how long it takes to fill the can. Then you don't water again until your hand stock into the soil fingers-deep comes out dry.

In my gardens/soil that requires approx. 4 hours with the soaker hose (mine are 5/8" hose, 1/2" hose would take longer) once every 7-10 days if no rain.

In your zone you might need more frequently but it isn't something to be "scheduled" it is "as needed" and every 3 days is often over-watering. Tomatoes need approx. 1- 1 1/2" per week only including rain.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 10:17AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Deep infrequent watering is always better than frequent shallow watering"

He hit the nail on the head!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 10:23AM
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As someone mentioned on another thread, a good method is to let the hose run for an hour or so, then dig down and see if you find a dry layer of soil below the top, damp layer (and then a deeper damp layer below that). Keep the hose running until the dry layer disappears.

That's your length of time. Where I live it is 1.5-2 hours for vegies, 3 hours for stuff I water less often such as shrubs.

For frequency, do as Dave says and see when the soil gets dry a couple inches down. For me, that's 2-3 weeks for vegies, 4-5 weeks for shrubs.

Of course, the dry layer thing might not work if you live in a desert, but anywhere else it should :).

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 1:44PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

I can only get to my garden on the weekends so that's the only time I run the soaker hoses. I usually do it for about 2 hours per hose. I've never noticed a problem with dried out plants doing it this way.

Most of my plants are under a thick landscaping fabric so that probably helps conserve moisture too.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 8:21AM
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