Tag Archives: watering

How to build a spot-watering system for berries, bushes, and trees

So you’ve planted some blackberries or raspberries or blueberries, and you spent your first year trying to remember to water them deeply once a week.  Occasionally you’d leave the water on all night by accident.  Occasionally you’d forget to water on that one week when it was blisteringly hot, and your berries nearly died.  And all you can think of is how annoying it was to get the water hose at that precise drip-stream, set the timer to remind yourself to go out and move the hose to the next bush after 30 minutes…okay, so is it sounding like I’m really just describing my own nightmarish problem?  Then you’re right.

Watering a garden is fairly easy.  Line a soaker hose down each row, because you’ve got a constant row of plants that need water.  But for plants that are 5 to 10 feet apart, running a soaker hose would simply be an exercise in watering the weeds in between them:

In this case, it’s fairly simple to build a hybrid soaker hose that only waters at the plant.  Get a new hose, or find an old one that leaks and cut out the leaky part.  Attach the female end of the hose to your water faucet.  (Better yet, attach it to an automated timer on the faucet, so you never have to worry about it again.)  Run the hose to the first bush.  (For better aesthetics and to prevent the hose from cracking due to UV-ray exposure, dig a small trench and bury the hose.)

Cut the hose at the first bush.  To connect the regular hose to the soaker hose, you will use “hose menders” which are available in the garden hose section of your home supply store.  You’ll need 2 hose menders for each bush…maybe only 1 mender for the final bush.  The menders are available in plastic (cheaper but not as durable) and metal.  Plastic menders run about $2-$3 each, with metal ones running $4-$5.

First, slip the hose clamp onto the hose, then push the joining nipple halfway into the hose.  (It’s a good idea to leave the hose out in the sun for a few hours so that it’s nice and pliable.  You won’t be able to get the nipple into a cold, stiff hose.)  Using a screwdriver, tighten the clamp onto the hose.

Now take the cut end of the soaker hose, slip the clamp onto it, and push the nipple into it.  Tighten the nipple, but as soaker hoses are much softer than normal hoses, don’t overtighten or you might cut into the hose!

Curl the soaker hose around the base of your bush or tree:

Do your best to bury the hose beneath the mulch.  Now cut the soaker hose, and attach it to another section of normal hose using another hose mender.  Run the hose to the next bush, and lather, rinse, repeat!

Once you reach the final bush, just cut off the last section of soaker hose that has the end cap on it, and use that section around the bush.  That way you only have to use one hose mender.

You may need to use a stake or a rock or brick to hold the end of the hose in place around the bush, so that it doesn’t straighten out when the water pressure comes on.

Cover the hose up with mulch to prevent the water inside from heating up, and to prolong the life of the hose, which will become brittle and crack over years of UV exposure.  Heavily mulching the whole area will help reduce weeds and retain water.

Another important note is that if your house has extremely high water pressure, or if you want a low flow rate coming from the soaker hose. you may want to include a pressure regulator where the normal hose attaches to the faucet:

These regulators are included with almost all soaker hoses, just pry it out of the female end of the soaker hose and push it into the female end of the normal hose.  Some soaker hoses come with several different pressure regulators so you can have control over the amount of water entering the hose.

This setup will mean that watering your berry bushes will never be more complicated than turning on the water and setting a timer to turn it off…or as simple as programming an automatic timer once and forgetting about ever watering again.  That way you can focus on more important things, like planning what you’re going to do with all those delicious berries!

Feel free to comment below, especially if you have your own unique way of watering your berry bushes.  And subscribe to my blog near the top right corner of the screen to get updates every time I post a new blog on gardening, DIY, cooking, or travel.  Thanks for reading!