Soaker hoses are an inexpensive and efficient way to water plants and gardens. But what if you need a shorter length? Is it possible to cut a soaker hose to size? And how do you cut and connect soaker hoses?
You can cut a soaker hose with a utility knife or a sharp pair of scissors. Be sure to make a clean, straight cut. If the ends of the hose are jagged, they may leak. Attach a fitting to the cut hose and screw on the end cap or connector based on how you will use the hose.
Let‘s look at how to shorten a soaker hose and install it in your garden. You‘ll also learn about the pros and cons of do-it-yourself (DIY) irrigation systems versus kits.
Can You Shorten a Soaker Hose?
Yes, you can shorten a soaker hose, which is a great way to custom-fit it to your garden‘s needs. Because soaker hoses typically come in lengths of 25 feet, 50 feet, or 100 feet, it is often necessary to shorten them to fit the specific garden layout.
For example, if your soaker hose is 100 feet long but you only need to water a garden that is 30 feet wide, shortening the hose is the best way to go. Not only will it be more manageable, but it will also be more efficient since you won‘t be wasting water in areas that don‘t need it.
How to Cut a Soaker Hose
Cutting a soaker hose is relatively easy and only requires a few tools you likely already have. The best way to shorten a soaker hose is by cutting it and attaching a new fitting.
To cut a soaker hose, you will need the following:
- A sharp pair of scissors or a utility knife
- A screwdriver
- Soaker hose fittings
Once you have gathered your supplies, follow these steps to cut your soaker hose:
- Disconnect your soaker hose from the water source and drain any excess water by elevating it until no more water drips out.
- Place the soaker hose exactly where you want to use it in your garden by running it from the spout or water source to the areas you want to water. The length you want to cut should be outside the area you are watering.
- Once you have decided where to make the cut, use a sharp pair of scissors or a utility knife to make an even, straight cut through the hose. If using a utility knife, be careful not to cut yourself—the blades are incredibly sharp.
- Now that you‘ve cut the hose, you can attach the new fitting and tighten it with a screwdriver. Be careful not to over-tighten the fitting, as this can damage the hose.
- Once the new fitting is attached, turn the water back on and check for leaks. Turn the water off if you find a leak and tighten the fitting with your screwdriver until the leak stops.
- Test your newly shortened and fitted hose by attaching it to the water source and turning on the water. Make sure there are no leaks at the new fitting before using it in your garden.
Now that you know how to shorten a soaker hose, you can customize it to fit any garden size or shape.
How to Install Your Cut Soaker Hose
If you‘ve cut your soaker hose but aren‘t sure about the best way to install it, these tips will help.
Identifying what you need to water is the first step. That will help you determine the best course of action for where to place your soaker hose and how to install it.
For example, do you need to water raised beds? Or is your garden on level ground? Are there any larger plants, like trees or shrubs, that you‘ll need to water?
Once you know where to place your soaker hose, the next step is determining how long the hose needs to be for each area.
For the best results, individual hose lengths shouldn‘t exceed 25 feet. You can connect multiple hoses using hose connectors with shut-off valves if your hose is longer. These connectors allow you to water different areas of your garden independently by turning the valve to the “on” or “off” position.
Alternatively, you can use a Y-connector at the water source and connect multiple hoses to it. Then, you can turn off the water for all the hoses simultaneously.
If you‘re planting in raised beds, the process is pretty simple. Just lay the soaker hose on the soil, make sure it‘s level, and then cover it with mulch.
For watering a garden on level ground, you‘ll need to secure the soaker hose. You can do this using garden staples.
With trees or shrubs, you can form the soaker hose into a loose loop around the base of the plant. Place the hose 2-3 feet from the trunk for mature trees. You can place the hose 6-12 inches from the trunk for young trees. Just be sure not to put it directly against the trunk, which can cause the tree to rot.
DIY vs. Kit Irrigation Systems: Which is Better?
DIY irrigation systems and soaker hose kits are your two main options when setting up a soaker hose system. But which one is better? Both have pros and cons, so it’s important to know which is right for you before making a purchase.
Here‘s a look at the key differences:
DIY Soaker Hose System
With a DIY system, you can choose the components you want, giving you more freedom and flexibility to customize the system to your needs. That means you can tailor the setup to your specific watering needs.
However, a DIY system requires more planning and installation time than a soaker hose kit. You‘ll need to research to figure out which components you need and how to best set up your system.
For example, if you‘re planning on watering a large garden, you‘ll need to determine how many hoses you‘ll need and how to connect them. You‘ll also need to make sure the water pressure is strong enough to support the entire system.
So, in addition to purchasing hoses, like this one from Rocky Mountain Goods (on Amazon), you may need to buy additional components like pressure regulators (on Amazon) and hose splitters (on Amazon).
Soaker Hose Kit
Soaker hose kits, like this one from Garden Supply Co. (on Amazon), come with everything you need to get started. So they‘re much easier and faster to install. The kits are also a good option if you don‘t have much experience with irrigation systems and don‘t have an extensive area to water.
A kit is also good if you‘re unsure how best to set up a system for your needs. The components included in the kit work well together, so you won‘t have to worry about compatibility issues.
The downside of a soaker hose kit is that they‘re not as customizable as DIY systems.
You may not get the exact configuration you want, and you may spend more money in the long run if you need more components than what‘s included in the kit or if your needs change.
For example, if you have a large garden, you may need multiple kits to get the coverage you need. Or, if you have a small garden, you may end up with hoses and components you don‘t need.
So which is better? It depends on your needs. If you want a customizable system and don‘t mind spending a bit more time on the installation, then a DIY soaker hose system is the way to go. But, if you want an easy-to-install system ready to use out of the box, then a soaker hose kit is your best bet.