Product Review – Soaker Dripline

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July is Smart Irrigation Month, and to get you ready, we are sharing an irrigation product that is simple to use and may have a place in your garden. Although I (Jacqueline Soule) am an avowed “Darwinistic Gardener,” growing mostly tough survivor-type plants, I do water my plants, and I do use an irrigation system. But I like to keep it simple.

Perennials grow well in the shade under trees and can easily be watered with soaker driplines. Photo Courtesy of Dripworks.

As discussed in an earlier post, in a Southwest garden it is advised to plant perennials under trees and shrubs to help shade the soil and reduce evaporation. Perennials have shallow roots and only use water from the top foot of the soil, encouraging tree and shrub roots to grow deeply for water, and incidentally anchoring them better. But this means we will have to apply extra water in a garden setting so that all plants get enough, even low-water natives.

Soaker dripline can be laid on a slope and will easily irrigate the area. This was covered with cedar bark mulch until the plants spread to cover the area. Photo Courtesy of Dripworks.

I told you that to tell you this: The easiest way to irrigate a bed of perennials is with ¼ inch “soaker dripline” attached to your ½ inch main irrigation line. Rather than fuss with multiple drip emitters and spaghetti tubing everywhere, you simply lay down a length of this soaker line and allow it to coil around the plants, soaking the soil in an even fashion.

Soaker dripline comes in brown and black. Both colors have good UV resistance. Photo Courtesy of Dripworks.

Soaker dripline has small emitters pre-installed into the ¼ inch tubing at regular intervals, either 6, 9 or 12 inches apart. I use the 6-inch intervals for perennial beds and the vegetable garden, and 12 inch intervals around trees. Soaker dripline is far more flexible than soaker hose, and much more UV resistant. My soaker driplines have lasted for years, rather than a single summer like soaker hose.

Rather than drip emitters on the ends of tubes, the built in emitters are less likely to be disturbed as you garden. Photo Courtesy of Dripworks.

Soaker dripline is simple to install. If you can assemble Tinker Toys, you can do this! You just connect the dripline to the mainline with a straight barbed connector, and use an end plug (also called goof plug) to seal the open end.

Not many tools are required to become an irrigation installer with soaker dripline.

Soaker dripline is wonderfully flexible and can be wound through flower beds or along borders, or placed along slopes where you wish to establish groundcovers. If you wish, you can use u-shaped landscape staples to hold it in place. The DripWorks soaker dripline comes in 500-foot rolls. Or you can find similar products in 100-foot rolls.

You can cover soaker line with mulch – but do remember that it’s there before you dig with a sharp spade. If you accidentally cut the line – no big deal! You can easily reattach it by joining the cut ends with a straight barbed connector – the same fitting you attach it to your main line with.

A barbed connector makes for easy dripline repairs.
If you (or critters) cut through your soaker dripline, simply trim the rough ends and reconnect them with a barbed connector.

I am told that soaker dripline also works well with gravity and low pressure systems, such as irrigation fed by water harvesting systems or rain barrels. Such harvest systems are (alas) a day-dream awaiting a roof gutter system at my home, but at least I have my irrigation system ready for it!

If you live in Southeastern Arizona, please come to one of my free lectures. Check our events page for locations and times. After each event I will be signing copies of my books, including “Month-by-Month Guide to Gardening in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada” (Cool Springs Press, $26).
© Article is copyright by Jacqueline A. Soule. All rights reserved. Republishing an entire blog post or article is prohibited without permission. I receive many requests to reprint my work. My policy is that you may use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit to the author, and must include a link back to the original post on our site. Photos may not be used.

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  • Sandy Smith

    Thanks J, sorry for the delayed reply. We implemented your advice! And added a timer too :)) Will let you know how it works out. (We started with 3 identical containers on the front patio. Semi-shade, with Coolaroo Shade Cloth above on pergola. Keep your fingers crossed.) xo

  • Jacqueline Soule

    You might consider adding a “hose manifold” to your hose bib. It splits your hose bib into 2, 3, or 4 hose link ups. They have a shut off switch for each individual on the manifold so you can leave things linked but off while still using a hose elsewhere. Very handy!

  • Sandy Smith

    Thanks for posting this information! I personally wasn’t familiar with this product, just the ‘weep hoses’ and/or the underground ‘soaker hoses’ which I’m using in places where there are no drippers on the property of my rental home. I have to attach the aforementioned periodically to a regular hose (connected to a tap). Fortunately, the plants needing water are well established (bougainvillea and older palms).