The Q&A Archives: Using soaker hoses

Question: I am considering purchasing a soaker hose for my garden and have a couple of questions.

1. How long do you need to leave the water on typically?
2. Can a soaker hose be left under the mulch over the winter or does it have to be pulled up?

Answer: I wish there were an easy answer to your question, but there really isn't. You'll have to experiment to determine how long to run the water. Begin by running the hose for an hour. Then carefully dig a hole, and see how deep the water has gone. It's likely you will need to run the hose for a few hours to get enough saturation--you want the plants' entire root zone moist. Once you've determined how long it takes to get the top 12" of soil moist, then you'll know how long to keep the water running each time you water. As long as you drain water from the hose it should be fine during the winter months under a cover of mulch. Water in the hose can cause it to burst. Best wishes with your landscape!

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