Using a soaker hose

I know this is a stupid question, but I'm a fairly new gardener who is still learning so bear with me. What's the most effective way to use a soaker hose? I've been told to bury the hose under the mulch and let it run, but I don't know how to tell how much water my plants are getting that way. How long should the hose be left running? Is there any benefit to a soaker hose over a hose with holes in it that sprays up? If the mulch gets soaked, will any of that water leach into the ground and water the plants below ground level? Any assistance is appreciated. Thanks!
Rhonda Alexandria, VA Zone 7
********* Basic psychology is one of my subroutines.
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This is actually a smart question. I find that with my own experience using soaker hoses, the ones which are porous are better than those which spray up. Depending on how dry it has been, I will put the soakers on and go out and check the soil in a half hour. If I find the water has reached a depth of at least eight inches, I know a half hour is a good timing gauge. However, in beds where I have native plants, I have to be careful to not over water the beds. So, it really depends on many factors, some being what type of plants, how well does the soil drain, level of organic matter in the soil, how much runoff you have, slope, etc.
In some of my native beds I have put in among the xeric plants one plant which will wilt when extremely dry. I call it my indicator plant. If that plant is starting to wilt, I water the appropriate amount to get it turgid again.
Many different things to consider, but placement of the soaker hoses should be located under the mulch and within a foot or two of the plants you want to water with them.
Victoria

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The only advantage to pointing the holes upwards is that you cover a larger area. Of course you then have to let it run for longer. There is no botanical advantage to getting the leaves wet. In fact, it may even slow down your plants' metabolism on a sunny day.
After the mulch is saturated, water will drip through to the soil. You should let it run until the soil is good and wet. Knowing how long that takes is part of knowing your garden, you can test it by sticking your finger in the dirt until you have a feel for it.
-- spud_demon -at- thundermaker.net The above may not (yet) represent the opinions of my employer.
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On Fri, 16 Apr 2004 00:16:07 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@spyder.mitre.org (Spud Demon) wrote:

earth to potato devjl WTF did you get ths idea?
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-0700:

I tried it with a new soaker/sprinkler hose from Target by putting the red stripe on top. The spray covers 5' on each side of the hose.
-- spud_demon -at- thundermaker.net The above may not (yet) represent the opinions of my employer.
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but in the dirt it will move laterally as well as horizontally .. so it does spread out. Ingrid
snipped-for-privacy@spyder.mitre.org (Spud Demon) wrote:

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On Thu, 15 Apr 2004 18:35:44 +0000, Natty_Dread wrote:

The amount of water your beds/garden will need have to do with many factors. Soil type, temperature, plant types...etc. A rule of thumb is to aim for it an inch per week. A gallon or two per plant should be good enough. The bigger the plant, the more water. The more sandy the soil, more water. The higher the temperature, more water.
I personally like to bury my soaker hose. I don't like looking at it really. I would expect that a buried hose would be more efficient than an above ground hose. It would seem that a buried hose wouldn't loose water to evaporation. But that is just a guess.
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On Fri, 16 Apr 2004 03:45:27 +0000, Timothy wrote:

Almost forgot to add....
Take your soaker hose and put it in a 50 gallon drum, 35 gallon garbage can..etc. Turn on the hose like you would normally would and time it. See how much water your can/drum has after 10, 20, 30 minuets. This will give you a good feel on what your hose will put out in any given amount of time.
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You go out with a trowel and you move the mulch aside and you dig a small hole and you observe how moist the soil is. I hear that drip tubing and soaker hoses is more prone to damage by rodents and the like when burried. Don't depend on the irrigation system to make things brainless, go out and observe your plants for stress.
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