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Soaker hose irrigation

Hi, I'm spending the cold weather planning a new irrigation system and am going to test out soaker hose in one of my herbaceous borders. I'm looking for real-life guidance on how far either side of the hose the water will reach, ie how big a gap between runs of hose I can leave and still get water to the plants in a densely packed border.  What's people's experience? Thanks for any guidance. 

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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,181
    Hello @jo370 and welcome to the forum  :)

    I 'snake' the soaker hose over the border from front to back, with the 'loops' probably about three feet apart at the most.  
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,861
    I have a 50m large bore soaker for one of my borders and the loops are about 18"-2ft apart.
    I only kept the loops that close as the length of hose allowed it.
    Works very well.
    Best laid on a warm or hot day as the hose is quite inflexible in cold weather and will kink rather than loop and will keep trying to coil up.
    Also important to keep it on top of the soil so it's visible when digging.
    I've only had to repair mine once (so far) when I cut through it.
    I have another in the garage that I'll install for another border when it warms up a bit.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,538
    I used to use soaker hose in the vegetable garden and it was spaced about 30cm apart and that was enough to soak the whole bed. There are lots of variables of course, such as how long you keep it running for, whether your soil is free-draining or more retentive and how practical spacing is. For larger plants or clumps you just have to work around them. Thirstier plants may need additional watering or the system set to run longer, but set it going for too long and more drought tolerant plants may not appreciate the ensuing wet feet. So, depending on the composition of your soil and your border, a bit of experimentation is needed in both spacing and run duration 😊 

    The advantage of soaker hose is that it’s sufficiently flexible if laid when the weather is warm to loop and sweep around different plants. A disadvantage is the inability to target each plant’s individual needs as you can with a drip system. Another is if you have very hard water - by the end of the season it can be clogged up with calcium and need lifting and soaking in a large vinegar bath to get it functioning again. I speak from experience of the latter!
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