Help a reader: Is there a trick to using soaker hoses?

hose among phlox and lady's mantle in garden in Amherst NY
No, this isn’t a soaker hose. It’s just a regular hose. But you get the idea. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

I received this question from a reader:

Is there some trick to using soaking hoses?

The round black ones that are slightly smaller around than a regular hose are the ones I bought and they are made by Swan so that’s usually a good brand. I have a 100-foot perennial bed that I have been nagged about literally for years to put in hoses so I don’t have to spend so much time watering. I bought the hoses last year but then everything got too big before I got them in.

This year I fought 125 feet of hose in amongst the plants and followed the directions for connecting them. I have two hoses and removed the restrictor washer from the second hose, but when I connect them to the hose from the house, it floods out the end where it is connected which is the shadier end, and on the hot end it just trickles out and doesn’t do any good.

I really thought this was going to be a time saver, but now I’m just thoroughly frustrated! Any advice? I even tried taking out the restrictor washer thinking that might get the water down to the hot end faster, but it just did basically the same thing. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Vicki Carr

I haven’t used soaker hoses, but I’m sure some of my readers have used them. If you have some advice, please leave a comment below, and if you want to know the answer to this question, check back later to read the comments.

Is the end of the hose that’s closer to the faucet going to distribute more water than the far end of the hose? Is there anything that can be done to even out the amount of water that is delivered?

Have you had a similar experience?

Please share by leaving a comment below.


I’m not a gardening expert. I’m a writer by profession who interviews knowledgeable people in order to provide you with great articles on

So when someone asks a question I can’t answer, I post the question and rely on my readers to share their expertise.

A more efficient route for getting your questions answered is to turn to Master Gardeners with Cornell Cooperative Extension or to turn to your local garden center.

For Master Gardeners at Cornell Cooperative Extension Erie County, call (716) 652-5400 from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays or email them at For Chautauqua County, email your question to; call the Helpline at (716) 664-9502, ext. 224, or stop in to the Ag Center, 3542 Turner Rd., Jamestown,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays.

There are helpful Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in other counties, too. Find contact information here for your county’s Cooperative Extension office.

The businesses that support this magazine have very knowledgeable staff. Check out our Gardening Directory and Garden Resources or click on an ad to get their contact information.

20 Comments on “Help a reader: Is there a trick to using soaker hoses?

  1. can i connect 2 25ft. soakers with nothing in between or do i need 2 pressure regulators
    and what about the blue disks? do i need one for each hose?

  2. Thank you so much! It never occured to me that a hose extension existed and I wasn’t prepared to buy a full length hose to do the trick. Found a 3′ one on Amazon for a not terrible price, considering it’s heavy duty.

  3. Could you attach a short section of regular hose to your soaker hose? The regular hose would be as long as your patio, then the soaker hose starts where your garden starts.

  4. I can’t find anyone having the problem I have, so maybe someone here can help. My soaker hose floods my patio because that’s where the spigot is, how do I keep the first foot or so from releasing water?

  5. The optimal PSI is zero. Any PSI is working against you by pushing the water out of the holes. You want the water to leak out, not get pushed out.

    This means a lot of on-time, but with the blue washer in place and low flow there’s no reason you can’t use really long runs successfully.

    Imagine the hose half full of water, leaking out the holes in the bottom and the sides, and not out of the top, over the course of a few hours.

  6. David Clark, you keep referring to the need to use low water pressure. It would be helpful to know the approximate PSI since low is relative. Are you saying low as compared to municipal residential water pressure which can go as high as 70 or 80 PSI? I have a well and my pressure gauge at the tank shows 35 PSI which is certainly low compared to city water. In my garden application, I have rain barrels and want to build a platform just uphill of the garden but since you gain .43 PSI for every vertical foot you drop, how many vertical feet above the garden do I need to move the barrels so the hoses will soak properly?

    I am getting a lot of conflicting information online about the optimal PSI for soaker hoses and you seem to be experienced in this area. Thanks for your time.

  7. Unfortunately I’m having the same problem right now with my soaker hose and was wondering the same thing. I see you never got an answer since this is originally from 2014. Please let me know if you ever figured it out @SamSpain Thanks!

  8. Can you remove the restrictor for more covered dripping? I have two 150 ft of hose, not all the hose is allowing water to be release.

  9. Hello Vicki-
    I have used garden hose lengths of 100 feet without affecting the performance of the soaker hose. It is more important to use low water pressure in the system.

  10. The soaker hoses that I bought said not to connect more than 150 feet. I have 125 feet connected.

    Does it matter how long of a piece of hose the water has to travel through from the faucet to the connection with the soaker hose for optimal results??

  11. Hello and good morning–this is a great question–I hope I can help here:
    Soaker hoses are awesome watering tools that can save you up to 50% of the water laid down by an overhead sprinkler. However there are some tricks to get these guys to perform correctly.
    The main thing is to use VERY low faucet pressure. If water is squirting out of the hose, then you have the water turned up too high. About a quarter turn open is just enough. You want the pressure equalized through the entire length. The water should drip out the bottom of the hose.
    Low and slow is the key here. Soaker hoses can be left running up to 2 hours at a time – use a water timer on your faucet, and aim to put down an inch of water. How to check that? – a tuna fish can under the hose to measure an inch.
    Sometimes it is good to water an inch, wait an hour and water another inch. The “one inch per week’ idea is sometimes not enough, especially in very warm weather.
    Soaker hose systems laid out with 18″ between the hoses should be able to water 12″ wide on each side and expanding in the soil horizon below. Imagine this as an equilateral triangle with one point up [where the soaker hose contacts the soil] and the flat side at the bottom. This is how water moves downward and outward. +
    + +
    + +
    + 24″ +

    Also, there is a limit of approximately 50′ per run of hose length. Soaker hoses may also be installed 6” below the soil surface – now the water will move BOTH upward and downward. They should be covered with mulch to protect the hose from ultra-violet light breakdown and this will help move water if the hose is laid directly on the soil surface.
    Installed and used correctly, soakers can save you a ton of money on your water bill!!


  12. I’ve successfully connected two soaker hoses to one supply hose by using a splitter. You can have both soakers turned on at the same time, or alternate to better control the volume of water in each.

    But, yes, the first soaker generally distributes more water than a second one in succession.

  13. Debbi, thanks for that information. That makes sense. Perhaps Vicki could get a rain barrel situated somewhere in her backyard, like near a garage or shed, and run a second hose from there.

  14. There is a distance limit on the soaker hoses. You can not run over 50ft lengths. I think it tells you that on the card or box. You have to lay it out and have to hook up the hose to each section separately. Sorry, it is a learning experience. I tried to do that with a garden area I was doing for work once.

  15. Donna, I was hoping you might have some advice. It sounds like they are supposed to distribute the water more evenly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *