Using Soaker Hoses

Q. I have recently installed a soaker hose system throughout my garden. How long do I let the water run in order to water adequately?

A. The amount of time a soaker hose should run depends on the length of the hose, whether it is buried or on the soil surface, what type of plants you are watering and whether or not it rained that week. For herbaceous plants, water must seep down only 6 to 8 inches. Woody trees and shrubs, which have deeper roots, require a longer soak. Most hoses are rated by the number of gallons of water they emit per foot over a one-hour period. As an experiment with the water pressure, turn the hose on for one hour and then actually dig with a spade in different areas and see how far down the water has reached. Keep a record of how deep the water seeped in the different garden areas, and let that be your guide for future waterings. In general, plants require one inch of water per week, spread throughout the root zone.