This August we recently planted about 28 white cedars (7-8 feet tall) in East York. Any recommended brands to look for as well what the diameter and hose length should be? We were told any soaker hose from dollar store would be sufficient but I’m worried about how effective they are with respect to leaks or cracks.
Thank you contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
Installing a soaker hose to water your cedar hedge is a good choice.
The maximum length a soaker hose should be is 100 feet. Any longer and the hose will not be effective. Soaker hoses are generally made of recycled tires in such a way that the water slowly seeps through the porous materials. This is an efficient way to water since the water slowly seeps directly into the root zone of the plant and does not evaporate in the sun. To ensure that you have watered enough, stick you finger two inches deep into the soil. If it is damp, you have watered enough. Before watering again, repeat this process. If the soil is still damp hold off until the soil is dry to a depth of 2 inches. Less frequent long soaks that dry out between will encourage roots that reach out from the trunk and grow deeper. This will give better support and access more nutrients. Frequent shallow watering will encourage shallow roots that are less supportive and at more risk of damage.
Too frequent watering and too much water may harm the plant by filling the air pockets in the soil. These pockets provide the roots with oxygen. If they are filled with water, the plant in essence drowns.
Once you have installed your soaker hose you should test in 30 minute intervals the amount of water that is released by placing a shallow bowl under the hose while it is on. Once you have determined how much water your hedge needs depending upon your soil type, adding a timer to your tap will help regulate your watering scheduling. You may also want to add a few inches of mulch on top of the hose away from any stems and to the drip line of the hedge. This will conserve water and you will need to water less frequently.
Soaker hoses come in round or flat and of varying quality. If you would like to keep you hose for a few years you would want to get a higher quality hose. Hoses will burst or spring leaks if the water pressure is too high. 10 psi (pressure per square inch) are recommended. The best way to check your pressure is to add a pressure gauge to your tap. Always run water through the hose with the end cap off when you install the hose. Repeat this process a few times during the year to ensure there is no blockage in the line.
You could check the internet for reviews of soaker hoses to help you with your selection.
Your cedar hedge should thrive with this soaker watering system.