If you’re an avid gardener like myself then you probably have played around with soaker hoses a fair bit among your garden and other landscapes.
I find a common thing we all wonder is how long we should be watering our gardens and flower beds with soaker hoses.
I started using soaker hoses a couple of years ago. I honestly didn’t have a huge garden and so I didn’t mind watering with my hose nozzle or watering can. I actually kind of liked that.
But as time went on and my gardens expanded and kids came along the way, I didn’t have as much time with my gardening as I used to – so I started using soaker hoses!
So with my experience, it honestly varies how long you have to water depending on what soil type you have, the vegetation/plants you are growing, and how long your soaker hose is.
But I will go into more detail below to help you out.
How Long Should I Water With My Soaker Hose?
Well we all know that the main goal of watering our plants is to keep the soil constantly moist and saturated, so we know our plants are getting an efficient water supply. The soil should never be completely dry or soaked after your vegetation is watered.
Remember, since soaker hoses are directly laid out on the soil or even below, they will efficiently penetrate the root systems of your plants due to the slow perforating irrigation system. So it’s important to not over-do it.
Test Your Soil Efficiency
A good way to test your soil is to water an area of your soil with your soaker hose for approximately 5 minutes. Then allow the soil to absorb and soak up the water for 5-6 hours. Then dig a hole where you watered to see exactly how far the water penetrated into the soil.
A better way or more professional way (if you’re an experienced gardener) is to use a wooden dowel if you have that. Simply shove it into your soil to reach the root area and water with your soaker hose for 5 minutes. Let the water soak and then pull out the dowel to see how far the water penetrated.
So depending on your soil type, you will have to adjust your water time accordingly. Clay, sand, and silt are your three main soil types. Loam is an even concentration of all three of them, which is generally the most preferred for gardening.
Generally, sandy soil does not hold nutrients well, clay soil does not drain well, and silty soil can become waterlogged very easily.
Each soil absorbs nutrients differently and as such will require different water times.
What Is The Secret Number Then?
So now you have completed your test but what does this mean? Well generally with flowers and vegetables, the root zones needing water extend 18 inches deep into the ground.
Measure how many inches deep into the soil your 5-minute water test penetrated. Now divide 18 by that number and then multiply by 5 to determine how long you should water your garden or flower beds.
For example, if I have loamy soil and the water penetrated 3 inches deep during the soil test, then I would do 18 divided by 3 multiplied by 5 which equals 30 minutes.
Start watering with your soaker hose with the time you get during your test for twice a week. After a couple of watering days, measure again how far the water has penetrated into the soil. Then adjust accordingly, probably give or take up to 10 minutes.
Finally, when you find your magic number, it is best to water your gardens and flower beds at the same hour of the day for the same duration during each watering session. You can use a soaker hose timer to make sure you are watering the same number of minutes each time.
Do This If You Don’t Want To Run Your Own Soil Test
Simply put, if you don’t want to run the soil test to get your magic number or you don’t know how deep your plant root zones are anyways and just want to be in the ballpark, then what majority of gardeners with soakers hoses do is they will start with watering for 30 minutes twice a week.
With my example above, I got 30 minutes anyways – kind of ironic!
But 30 minutes will never be too little nor too much for your garden when you start. After this, you will be more comfortable adjusting the watering duration and frequency since you have already witnessed your garden’s watering process a couple of times with your soaker hose.
I hope you found this article informative. I am sorry if I couldn’t have been more help! Everyone finds their own secret number that works for them and their garden.
The type of soil, type of vegetation, proximity of vegetation, and the pathway and length of soaker hose really all play apart in determining that secret number. But that’s why we have trial and error and the ability to keep adjusting. It’s fun anyways!
If you have any questions or concerns, just leave me a comment below and I’ll be happy to get back to you.