What are soaker hoses?
They slowly emit a steady stream of water to the bases of plants and are easy to move throughout the garden. Wind soaker hoses around trees and shrubs, along rows of vegetables, or through flowerbeds. The water slowly sweats from the hoses' perforations and saturates the soil around the plants. They are easy to install and available at nurseries and home-improvement stores. If you prefer, you can hide the hoses with mulch.
What is drip irrigation?
The most efficient option, drip irrigation delivers water drop by drop right to each plant. It slows evaporation, reduces water loss due to runoff, and can alleviate foliage fungus. In this method, plants get personal attention from drip emitters, which deliver water even more slowly than soaker hoses, allowing the soil to absorb each drop. That way, roots can achieve maximum hydration without being overwatered.
Should I buy a timer?
If you have ever accidentally left the water running, then these gadgets could save you money and keep you from wasting water. Install them on your faucets to make sure they are turned on and off at specific times. Simply adjust them according to the weather; there's no need to irrigate right after a rain.
This article is from the August 2005 issue of Southern Living.