- A Quick Answer: The Best Soaker Hose for Blueberries
- Recommended Soaker Hoses for Blueberry Plants:
- The Root Structure of Blueberries
- Why a Soaker Hose is Good for Blueberry Plants
- Drip Irrigation vs. Soaker Hose
- Drip Irrigation vs. Soaker Hose
- The Best Soaker Hose Configuration for Blueberry Plants
- Useful Video on The Best Soaker Hose Layout
- How to setup a Soaker Hose Watering Sytem for Blueberries: A Guide
- Equipment Needed for Blueberry Plant Soaker Hose Setup
- Soaker Hose for Blueberry Plants: Step by Step Instructions
- 1) Attach Back-flow Preventer to water Source
- 1) Connect Garden Hose to Back-flow Preventer
- 2) Attach 4 Way Split Valve to Garden Hose
- 3) Measure the distance from your split valve to the end of your tree line.
- 4) Attach 2 Polyurethane Hoses and 2 Soaker Hoses to 4 Way Splitter
- 5) Run Poly Tubing Parallel to Tree Line and Attach Elbow Coupler
- 6) Run Soaker Hoses in Inverted Figure "8" Formation Around Trees, Connect to Elbow Coupler
- 7) Turn Water On and Observe
- Life Cycle of a Blueberry Plant
- Soaker Hose Watering Schedule for Blueberries
A soaker hose is a great way to water blueberries and other small fruit producing plants. If you’re looking for the best soaker hose for blueberries, and general tips on how to water your blueberry plant with a soaker hose, you’ve come to the right place.
The porous walls on a soaker hose allow it to emit, or “weep” water over a large surface area of ground, making them more ideal for plants that have a sprawling root system.
A Quick Answer: The Best Soaker Hose for Blueberries
We’ve done a ton of research both on Amazon pouring through customer reviews and scouring the gardening forums. We’ve discovered that the Water Right Soaker Hose is the best soaker hose for blueberries. It’s expensive, but as with most things, paying a little more is worth it.
We noticed that the major complaint about the Water Right Soaker Hose a similar complaint we see about all soaker hoses: that too much water is emitted from the part of the hose closest to the water source, leaving little for the far end of the hose.
You can jump ahead to find out how to solve that problem for both the Water Right and any other brand of soaker hose.
Under the break below, you’ll see a description of what you’ll get with the Water Right Soaker Hose along with some less expensive options.
Unlike a soaker hose used for garden plants, a soaker hose for blueberries, especially when watering newly planted blueberries, needs to be durable.
Unless you live in an area that gets consistent weekly rainfall in the winter, you’ll need to leave it out all year to make sure your blueberries are getting enough water.
That means that your soaker hose is going to be exposed to weather all year long.
Make sure you get a 50% thicker or double walled soaker hose. This will minimize the chances of leaking due to prolonged exposure. They are also less prone to kinks.
Stay away from the soaker hoses that are flat, collapsable and easy to store. Those are great for summer vegetable gardens. Not for year-round watering, which is what is required for blueberries.
Here are our top 3 picks for the best soaker hose for blueberries and other small, perennial fruit bushes.
Recommended Soaker Hoses for Blueberry Plants:
Here are the top 3 soaker hoses on the market to use for blueberry plants
Water Right Soaker Hose Review
Overall Rating: 5/5
- Very few complaints about durability
- Drinking water safe. Good for pets
- Made with recycled rubber
- Most expensive of the 3
- More of a porous garden hose than a weeper hose. Will spray, rather than weep, if pressure is too high.
Dramm Soaker Hose Review
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
- Dramm is a trusted brand in the industry with good customer service
- Made from recycled material
- Customers complain about the end-caps being faulty
Rocky Mountain Soaker Hose Review
Overall Rating: 4/5
- Least expensive of the 3
- Comes with fittings to attach additional hoses to
- Made with recycled rubber
- Some users complain that the hose does not last as long as expected
The Root Structure of Blueberries
Most blueberry plants have a shallow root system that extends horizontally just below the soil surface. The depth of the root system varies depending on the type of blueberry plant, but it typically ranges from 10 to 20 inches.
The shallow nature of the blueberry root system makes the plants particularly susceptible to drought stress. During periods of dry weather, blueberry plants need to be watered deeply and regularly in order to prevent the roots from drying out.
When watering, it is important to wet the entire root zone, which means applying enough water to penetrate the entire depth of the root system.
Why a Soaker Hose is Good for Blueberry Plants
A soaker hose is more ideal for blueberries than drip irrigation because it weeps water through hundreds of tiny holes across the length of the hose line.
That’s not as ideal for smaller plants because much of the water from a soaker hose goes to waste, soaking the soil between the plants where there are no roots.
It is, however, an ideal design for a blueberry plant, which has a sprawling, shallow root system.
Additionally, a blueberry plant’s root system benefits from a layer of much covering the ground’s surface. This helps to keep moisture in the ground and protect the soil and root system from direct sunlight.
A soaker hose also benefits from that same protection. You can easily lay mulch over your soaker hose once it’s in place to shield both your soaker hose and blueberry roots from the elements.
2 birds one stone!
Drip Irrigation vs. Soaker Hose
You may be considering whether you should use a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose for your blueberry plants in your yard.
Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are very similar and will help you avoid the pitfalls of watering your plants with a standard garden hose:
Though both drip irrigation or a soaker hose could work well to water your blueberry plants, a soaker hose has some distinct advantages
Similarities of Drip Irrigation vs. Soaker Hoses
1) Water Conservation. Drip Irrigation & Soaker hoses both allow you to target the plants’ roots that you want watered. When you spray a large surface area with a garden hose, however, most of that water drains right through your soil or evaporates.
2) Discourages Weed Growth: Most of the the water you spray with a garden hose not only misses the plants roots you wish to water, it will often find the roots of plants you don’t want in your garden. Why create unnecessary weeding work for yourself?
3) Less Leaf Decay: Drip irrigation and soaker hoses both emit water directly into the soil avoiding contact with the plants leaves above. Standing water left on the plants leaves invites fungal growth which will kill your plants if left unattended.
The Difference Between a Soaker Hose and Drip Irrigation
A soaker hose differs from a drip irrigation line, which releases water through emitters spaced out along nodes throughout the length of the tubing, ideal for plants with smaller root balls.
Soaker hoses, on the other hand, are perforated along the entire length of the hose allowing you to “soak” your soil wherever the hose meets dirt.
Drip Irrigation vs. Soaker Hose
Drip Irrigation Emitters
Most drip irrigation systems allow you to place those emitters where you’d like on the hose to help you target the plant’s roots you want watered.
You can even purchase emitters that release different amounts of water. Maybe one plant needs 1 gallon per minute and another along the same line needs 5 gallon per minute. You can adjust the water output on a drip line through emitter selection.
Drip Irrigation Brackets
With a drip system, you can also purchase elbow brackets to change the direction of the line, even install a shut off valve if you want to give some plants along the line a watering break for a given time.
In other words, a drip system is more customizable than a soaker hose, which comes with all its tiny emitters already punched out for you.
The ability to customize a drip irrigation system is what makes it better or worse than a soaker hose depending on the job.
Say you’re trying to water a vegetable garden with zucchini & tomatoes – plants that need some space between them. A drip irrigation system is efficient in this case because you can water the areas around the base of the plants and not the space between them.
Maybe you have several raised beds in different locations in your yard and you want one inclusive irrigation system. Well placed brackets on a drip line allow you to make directional changes in the shape of your garden.
Simple Irrigation is Sometimes Better
Although the level of customization that a drip irrigation system offers is is often useful, it is not always necessary.
I’ll paint a picture of the bin that I keep all my drip irrigation equipment in to help you understand. There are 5 bags of different types of emitters, 2 different sized rolls of hoses, 20 different brackets and end caps strewn across the bottom of the bin…..You get the drift.
Customization is nice, but it’s also more complicated, more time consuming, and costly.
If you can get away with setting up a watering system with one or two simple hoses that you can lay down, and forget about, you should!
The Best Soaker Hose Configuration for Blueberry Plants
Assuming you have your soaker hose in hand, how do you set it up?
If you have a blueberry plant that you want to give the best chance of survival, you need to water it properly. While blueberry plants are pretty resilient, they do need a consistent supply of water – especially when they’re fruiting.
How you set up your soaker hose around your blueberry plants will depend on how many blueberry plants you have.
If you have several blueberry plants in a line, try a figure 8 formation weaving around your blueberry plants:
You’ll either need to buy 2 soaker hoses for this setup or 1 large hose that you cut into 2 pieces. More on that below. Click to jump there now
Most Common Complaint About Soaker Hoses
I’ve read hundreds of reviews on soaker hoses and I’ve noticed the biggest complaint about them has nothing to do with the hose itself. It’s as a result of how it it used.
The complaint is that the hose dumps the majority of the water out of the first few feet of the hose, leaving nothing for the section of the hose furthest from the water source.
Luckily there is a solution to this. First I’d suggest watching the video below to give you a basic understanding of how to combat this problem. I’ll then go on to explain how it applies specifically to blueberry plants.
Useful Video on The Best Soaker Hose Layout
So lets assume you’ve tried setting up 2 soaker hoses in a figure 8 formation and you run into the uneven watering problem that so many soaker hose users have.
Using the same logic described in the video above, we’re going to set up a system to feed water into the soaker hoses from both ends.
Here’s a diagram of the end result. And don’t worry! You can (and should) cover all your hoses with mulch so none of these hoses will be visible. This will look tidy and protect your hoses from UV damage.
The mulch will be good for your soaker hose as well as the shallow roots of the blueberry plant, which can get scorched by the sun without mulch.
How to setup a Soaker Hose Watering Sytem for Blueberries: A Guide
Here I’ll go over everything you need to set up the optimal soaker system above for a tree wall. I’ll detail the equipment needed followed by step by step instructions.
Equipment Needed for Blueberry Plant Soaker Hose Setup
Here’s a list of equipment needed or the setup in the diagram above. Links are provided to see the equipment on Amazon, if needed.
1) Soaker Hose – jump here for recommendations
- If you have some garden hoses lying around that you’re not using, you can use those in place of the poly tubing.
4) Elbow or “L” brackets
- You may end up needing to cut your soaker hose to fit your desired configuration. If you do, you’ll need this 1/2″ to 1/2″ tubing elbow adapter to connect your soaker to poly tubing
- If you don’t cut your soaker hose, you’ll likely have the factory male thread coupler at the end of the soaker. If that’s the case, you’ll need this 1/2″ tubing to 3/4″ FTH adapter to connect your soaker to the poly tubing.
- The soaker hoses I recommended above all come with one of these. You should only need 2 of these to connect the poly tubing to the 4 way splitter.
- Sometimes soil containing harmful bacteria can make its way into a soaker hose. This 2 in 1 contraption will prevent any of those materials from flowing back through the hose into your home’s water supply.
- It will also regulate the water pressure coming from your faucet, which helps prevent hose leaks.
Optional Equipment to Consider
Here are some items you might consider picking up. Either now or the next time you’re at your local hardware store.
- Irrigation Timer – Not required, but very handy if you’re busy traveling or just a little forgetful. Just be sure you examine your plants once a week for leaf discoloration and adjust your watering schedule accordingly. More on that here.
- 1/2″ Hose Clamps – Handy if you notice leaking around the ends of your hose where you’ve cut and installed a coupler. Tighten these down on the hose where it meets the coupler and it should seal things nicely.
- 1/2″ tube to 3/4″ MTH Coupler – You’ll need this if you decide to cut a long soaker hose into 2 pieces. Make sure you also have an extra FTH coupler to connect to the 4 way valve.
- Hose Staples – These will help you keep your hoses in the desired formation.
- Mulch – This is one of many varieties of mulch. Pick a style that suits your taste, which you can find at your nursery or hardware store. You do want to cover your hoses to protect them from UV damage.
- Hose Repair Couplings – These are handy to have in case your soaker or drip tubing springs a leak. Take some scissors to either side of the leak, fit the open ends of tube onto this coupling, and tighten.
Soaker Hose for Blueberry Plants: Step by Step Instructions
1) Attach Back-flow Preventer to water Source
Also if you’ve elected to install a timer, you can install that before the back-flow preventer.
First attach the timer to the faucet, then the back-flow preventer to the timer, followed by the garden hose to the back-flow preventer.
1) Connect Garden Hose to Back-flow Preventer
If your trees are far from your water source, you’ll want to use a garden hose or non-porous poly tubing to carry water over the area of your yard where water is not needed.
A soaker hose releases water through the full length of it’s walls. In order to maintain optimal pressure, you want to make sure water is not seeping out where it’s not needed.
If you’re in need of a garden hose, here’s a link to my recommendation for the best garden hose on the market.
2) Attach 4 Way Split Valve to Garden Hose
Attach to the exposed male threading of the hose.
3) Measure the distance from your split valve to the end of your tree line.
The poly tubing will run relatively straight next to your tree line, whereas the soaker hose will run in a figure “8” formation. Keeping this in mind, cut your hose accordingly.
4) Attach 2 Polyurethane Hoses and 2 Soaker Hoses to 4 Way Splitter
5) Run Poly Tubing Parallel to Tree Line and Attach Elbow Coupler
One pro tip here is to boil some water and keep it with you in an insulated canteen. Dip the end of the poly tubing into the water before installing the coupler.
The heat makes the polyurethane easier to work with.
6) Run Soaker Hoses in Inverted Figure “8” Formation Around Trees, Connect to Elbow Coupler
You want to encircle each tree with soaker hose. To do this you’ll run one hose in a figure “8” formation around the line of trees followed by the second soaker hose in the opposite figure “8” formation.
Attach the open end of the soaker hose to the open end of the elbow coupler attached to the poly tubing.
7) Turn Water On and Observe
At this point your arborvitae soaker hose system is set up. Examine your soaker hoses for any uneven weeping of water on the line.
If you notice that the end closer to the water source is releasing more water than the back end, you can adjust by partially closing the valves on the 4 way splitter that feed the soaker hoses.
In doing so, you send less water to the front of the line, diverting it to the back of the soaker line through the poly tubing.
Life Cycle of a Blueberry Plant
Blueberry plants are perennial and go dormant in the winter. A typical cycle is an early summer growth season, fruiting mid-summer, followed by leaf loss in late summer early fall, and finally dormancy in the winter. Leaves will begin to grow back in the spring & early summer.
Keep in mind that this is the average cycle, which will vary depending on your planting zone. If your zone reaches consistent temperatures approaching 0°F your blueberry plants will behave differently than if you’re living in Southern California.
Soaker Hose Watering Schedule for Blueberries
Unless exposed to extreme cold, blueberries should survive the winter, thus they require water all year long.
You’ll want to ensure that the soil your blueberry plants are in is moist all year long, which requires an inch of water once per week during the winter and 4 inches of water during growth & fruiting season.
In most zones an inch of water can be achieved by running your soaker hose that surrounds the blueberry plant for 15-20 minutes once a week. To achieve 4 inches in the growth and fruiting season, increase that to 30 minutes twice per week.
Note that this watering schedule is a guideline. It could vary depending on rainfall, humidity, temperature, and elevation.
Check your soil between waterings for moisture. If you notice a browning of the leaves, it’s most likely because they are not getting enough water. If that’s the case, add 10 minutes of soaking time to each interval. Apply another layer of mulch surrounding your blueberries to help prevent evaporation.