Follow these irrigation steps to estimate how much water your irrigation system is applying.
- With wind conditions calm (you cannot feel a perceptible breeze on your face) turn on sprinklers for 15 minutes, recording the time of this operational test.
- Set several similar, flat bottomed, straight sided containers (all must be of equal size) equally spaced within one watering zone. Tuna cans work well for this.
- Add the collected water from all containers into one container (must be the same size). Measure the depth of the water in the container to the nearest 1/8”.
- Divide the measurement, in inches, by the number of collection containers. This determines the average depth of water applied in that zone in 15 minutes. Multiply this depth by 4 to get an approximate precipitation rate in inches per hour.
In the future, do not run the system any longer than needed and apply no more than ½” of water per application. Adjust run time as necessary based on soil type to avoid runoff or leaching.
There is only one way to calibrate a soaker hose – digging. Place the hose in the planting bed; under mulch. Run the water for 15 minutes. Dig down in the soil at several distances from the hose. Water will soak down like a cone-shape spreading away from the hose. Digging shows exactly how far and deep water reaches, and the location of dry spots. From this, you will know how close to weave the hoses around each area.
Soaker hoses are great for the vegetable garden, twining around shrub beds, around trees in concentric rings, or other individual plants in beds. Trickle, or drip, systems are very efficient in these settings too. Each system is engineered differently. Read the accompanying information in the kit to learn how much water it delivers.