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soaker hose

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Joful, May 27, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I am preparing to plant about 50 shrubs (burning bush, lilacs, forsythia, skip laurels, raspberry, blueberry) along the side of our lot, and it's on quite a bit of a hill. Garden is maybe 20 feet deep x 150 feet long, so it would be great to just buy three 150' soaker hoses and run them down the hill between the three rows of plantings... but anyone who's read anything on soaker hoses has likely read they can't be laid down a hill.

    Looks like the recommendation is to lay them parallel to the hill, so each soaker is level. That means numerous 20' runs for me, all fed by some common irrigation line. Not exactly rocket science, but I've not done it before. I'm looking for recommendations on specifically what to buy, to make this happen quick and cheap. It will be used for this summer, maybe a bit next summer, but I have no use for the system beyond that. I'll likely box it up at the end of this season, and save it for some day when I need such a system again, but have no immediate need for it beyond this project

    I also planted 42 new Norway Spruce across the back of our lot two months ago, in a lower, shadier area with often moist soil. I'll need to think about watering them as well, at some point before the July heat and drought roll in. They're planted on level ground (no hill), but spanning a space of more than 300 feet. Since both systems will be needed at the same time (July/August), I'm guessing there's no chance to share them. I should have considered planting all this stuff in two consecutive years, but circumstances forced me to get both done this year.

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  2. briansol

    briansol Minister of Fire

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    if its just for a season, but a sprinkler lol I used them on my moderately sloping garden (maybe 2 or 3 degrees) and they performed fine, but still all the water ended up at the bottom eventually anyway. it didn't really soak in and stay... it kinda just dribled on down and created its own 'river' carving path downhill. I fear with the cross bars, you'll end up with the same thing.
  3. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    re: sprinkler: These shrubs are being planted right in front of a natural hedge row, full of various weeds, ivys, etc. They grow in the summer, and die back each winter. I do some minimal maintenance, to keep the poison ivy and aggressive vines at bay, but not much more. In any case, a sprinkler will do just as good a job at watering the undesirable as it does with my new shrubs, and I don't want to help those weeds any more than I have to.

    re: drip irrigation: I had considered this, but then figured the time to research and assemble would likely be more than a simple soaker hose solution. Am I wrong? Looking for something I can buy today, assemble tomorrow, and then put to use. The goal is something where I can run outside before breakfast each day, turn on my little hose bib timer, and let it do its job.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Go to home depot and find the big rolls of cheap/thin black poly irrigation line. It's half inch diameter and really thin walled. You use plastic barbed fittings or the somewhat fancier push-over fittings made for it. You can leave this in the sun and it won't rot. With all of these hoses, the pressure in the line will be very low. I lay this stuff on the surface and connect up to sprinkler heads mounted on fence posts. The sprinkler heads are the normally buried ones and are only a dollar or so each. The worst thing for these temporary systems is freezing in the winter.
  6. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I figure I'll be draining it and boxing it up when the fall rains start.

    I see the soaker hose is sold in many diameters, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8... and that was going to be one of my questions... which diameter to use, and should the irrigation line be matched to the soaker diameter? I'm assuming those cheap barbed tees are easier to find in 1/2" x 1/2" x 1/2" than in 1/2" x 1/2" x 3/8".
  7. brian89gp

    brian89gp Feeling the Heat

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    Another option is to cut up a hose as the vertical feeder line and put in "T" fittings to attach the soker hoses to that then run horizontally.
    Joful likes this.
  8. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Is the natural hedge row doing well without supplemental water?

    I just can't imagine putting out that much water for ornamentals on an even weekly basis
    daveswoodhauler likes this.
  9. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Pressure in the hose will vary by 0.43 PSI per foot of elevation.
    If you're working with a pressure of say, 40 PSI at the hose bib then 10 ft. of elevation would result in about 44 PSI at the bottom and 40 at the top, not a major difference. I'm not sure 10 ft. of elevation would make much difference in flow in a pressurized soaker hose. You may just want to give it a try.

    On the other hand, if you're talking big elevation changes....

    For those that might point it out....yes; the pressures above do not take into account flow resistance pressure losses.
  10. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I've never been much of a fan of soaker hoses. We used them sparingly at a nursery I worked at but they always gave me trouble. Sprinklers are easy and you can control where they spray pretty effectively. Another vote for sprinklers.

    Drip systems are nice, but if you get some sort of a critter in there it will re-arrange and disconnect everything.
  11. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    Looking at the type of shrubs you are planting, they don't appear to be those that would require watering on a daily basis. When I plants shrubs and other perenials, I make a little burm of soil around the base of the plant, and then just water each one individually. (You should only need to make a half circle burm if on a slope) Sounds like you have a lot of plants to water, but I can't see you using a soaker hose on that much of a slope. Is there anyway you could terrace the soil perhaps flat where the plants are planted, therefore you would have some somewhat flat areas to water? Maybe give us an idea of how steep the slope is? (Drop over the 150 foot span?)
  12. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Good ideas! I'll have to get out a measuring tape and my little pocket transit to estimate the drop, but off the top of my head, we're talking about maybe 20 feet drop over 150 foot run.

    My original concept was to do as brian89gp suggested, a vertical run of irrigation hose, with horizontal runs of soaker teed off of it. Maybe it's all overkill, though. We get hot and dry in July and August. Actually, it's already getting sort of dry, but we have some rain today. Highs will be 90F each day in the second half of this week. Under those conditions, I had always assumed daily watering of new plantings was necessary, and that I could back off when things cooled off mid- to late-August.
  13. daveswoodhauler

    daveswoodhauler Minister of Fire

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    20 Feet over 150 feet isn't too much of a drop at all.....I was thinking the slope was much greater. If you need to water several days a week, I would try the verticle runs, and several sections of the soaker hose. If you only need to water once a week, I'd go with the little burm idea around each plant and just water by hand. Good luck
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Soaker hoses fail over time for a number of reasons. We never had them work well for more than a season. They act as filters so if the water in them is not perfectly clean their pores clog with silt. It the water in them sits for awhile algae forms inside and also plugs up the pores. We almost lost a corn crop due to plugged soaker hoses. Now we irrigate with Dripworks products. They have a very complete line of drip irrigation and sprinkler products that work year after year.

    www.dripworks.com
  15. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Just throwing this out there Joful.
    I've watered new plants using old 5 gallon buckets with a small hole drilled in the bottom. You leave the bucket by the plant and fill it up every once in a while with a hole or rain will do it for you.

    I realize you're talking quite a few plants though...
  16. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    I've tried several soaker hoses and they weren't worth a damn nor the trouble.
    They don't work well with lower well pressures and not only can/will pores block, some open up and all of a sudden you're only watering a couple of places. The first couple I bought are full of electrical tape stemming ( somewhat ) the leaks.
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I have a soaker that has been "installed" for years and still works great with no clogging and a fine flow rate from my well water system. No troubles at all, I rather like it for my long row of arborvitae.
  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    One thing I find written, which most seem to ignore, is that you must run a line filter on the inlet to the soaker. If your well pressure is much over 50 PSI, you should be running a regulator, as well. Seems most of the advice against them (clogging and blow-outs) could be simply avoided by following the manufacturer's instructions on using these two devices.

    That said, I've made a decision to not do anything until the shrubs are in, and I can gauge how much watering I really need to do. No sense in coming up with a solution that's more work than the problem itself.
  19. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I've used soaker hose in our garden for years without problem (or filter or regulator).
    Perhaps there are variations in quality among manufacturers (or water quality/pressure) that explains the disparity in experiences here.
    Joful likes this.
  20. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    I use the nylon soaker hoses in my vegetable garden and it has a grade to it. I have 3 50ft's running off a 3-way hose connector. The hoses made by Gilmore have lasted ~5yrs now without issue
    They seem to work best with a slight depression around the plants this way the water runs from high spot towards the depressions. It's a good idea to plant shrubs this way anyways with a raised ridge for rainwater collection.
    It might make sense to start the row with a wye connection then a regular hose length and additional wye's off to the soakers as you snake them back&forth through the shrubs.

    I've run Netafim drip systems in greenhouses for hanging baskets and outdoor ground setups for potted mums(8500 of them) the product and those similar work excellent but have a cost associated with them in special tools and time associated with making up all the dripper lengths/connectors/stakes. It's not the easiest thing to store either and will be basically useless for any future different layout.
    Joful likes this.

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