Olbrich Home Holiday Express

Soaker Hoses

by Wendy Gasch, Horticulturist

Water is an essential part of gardening. Whether it falls from the sky or flows out of a hose, plants cannot live without water. In order to help conserve this precious resource and enjoy our gardens at the same time, it's important to water more efficiently.

One way to improve your watering efficiency is to use soaker hoses. Soaker hoses, available at most garden centers, work by slowly releasing small amounts of water over a longer period of time. By releasing water slowly, more water can soak deeper into the soil and less is wasted through evaporation and run off.

Soaker hoses look like black gardening hoses, the difference being they're permeated with tiny holes. They come in a variety of sizes so they're easily adapted to most garden spaces. Once they're set up in the garden, they can be left in place for a number of years with some simple annual maintenance.

Soaker hoses can be used on trees and shrubs, in perennial and annual beds, even in vegetable gardens. They can be connected directly to the hose bib on the side of the house or fitted with a piece of plastic tubing or gardening hose to reduce the amount of water wasted between the house and flower beds. Once placed in the garden, cover the soaker hoses with mulch to hide them from view and protect them from damaging sunlight.

Make sure to flush your soaker hoses at the beginning and end of every season to remove any sediment that may have accumulated. Used correctly, soaker hoses can promote deep, healthy root systems. By using water more efficiently and effectively, both plants and people benefit.

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Olbrich Botanical Gardens is operated as a public-private partnership between the City of Madison Parks Division and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens | 3330 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704. | Phone: (608)246-4550 | Fax: (608)246-4719