Spreading mulch around plants helps hold moisture in the soil. However, in areas with little rainfall and hot summers, mulch can dry out so that it actually repels water, dooming plants to a slow, thirsty death.
The solution is soaker hoses. Soaker hoses use much less water than spray hoses or sprinklers, and are easy to set up and use.
Lay the hose around plants first, and then mulch over them. Soaker hoses have tiny holes that seep water slowly into the root zone of your plants, so not a drop is wasted. This keeps the soil moist, and plants hydrated.
How to Use Soaker Hoses:
- Buy enough hose to wind once or twice through flowerbeds.
- Let the hose sit in the sun for an hour. This makes it easier to unwind and helps prevent kinking.
- Make sure the area you are going to cover is weed-free.
- Lay the hose close enough to a plant so that water reaches the root zone, but not so close that the hose touches the plant’s stem, which can cause rot. Wire landscape pins will hold the hose in place.
- Attach the soaker hose to the faucet, and turn the faucet on slowly. Water should seep out in drops and not spray from the hose.
- When the flow of water is right, spread 2”-3” of shredded bark, wood chips or pine straw over the hose by hand or with a trowel, garden fork or shovel. Don’t cover the hose with soil or compost; it can clog.
- Run the soaker hose until moisture has penetrated at least 6” into the soil.