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Old August 2, 2019   #1
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 109
Default Soaker hose with woven fabric mulch

Hello all, I'm wondering if it would be possible to use soaker hoses on top of woven fabric mulch because it's midseason and I don't want to remove the mulch and lay the soaker hoses underneath. I've watered by hand and by oscillating sprinkler until now and I'm thinking that maybe the soaker hoses would be better because they would water the soil and they would save time. Any advice would be welcome!
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Old August 2, 2019   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Brownville, Ne
Posts: 2,973

Water should go through the woven fabric just fine. Any way to put additional mulch on top? Like straw or grass clippings.
there's two things money can't buy; true love and home grown tomatoes.
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Old August 3, 2019   #3
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 46

If by woven mulch you mean "run of the mill" landscape fabric such as you might purchase at any hardware store, my answer would be a definite "maybe, but I wouldn't count on it".

I have been very, very unimpressed with the water permeability of the various landscape fabrics I have used. If there is any slope, the water will run off before soaking through. If there is wind and heat, more water will evaporate than penetrate.

I have tried cheap brands and I have tried more expensive brands and I have noted little difference in performance. I have ended up cutting holes in it at every dip and valley in order to get the water to drain in a timely and useful fashion.

Try it. It doesn't hurt to try. Maybe I have been buying the wrong stuff from the wrong places.
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Old August 3, 2019   #4
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 46

What does the water do that you apply by hose or sprinkler do? The water from the soaker hose will do the same. If it soaks through nicely, so will the water from the soaker hose. If it runs off to open soil that the tomato roots have access to, so will the water from the soaker hose.

So, I am modifying my response. If the water you were applying before by sprinkler was doing the trick, then so will the water that arrives via a soaker hose.
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Old August 19, 2019   #5
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: SE PA
Posts: 674
Default next year, lay twine ahead of time in hose route

I realize the thread is a couple weeks old, but I don't think laying on top would work on my woven fabric. It is new this year, and beads up some. I have some heavier stuff 4ft wide with the 3 yellow stripes for 1 ft spacing.

I was able to run tape under some of mine midseason without picking it up. To do that, I taped the drip tape to a long length of skinny PVC and used it as a 10' long shuttle. I guided/advanced the shuttle when necessary by lifting the fabric a bit and reaching in the planting holes. On one bed I used a fiberglass driveway marker instead of 1/2" pvc. It took some stretching and leaning, but it worked to lay the tape underneath, mid-season.

I write this because I could have done it even easier with one more step in my thought process. I knew when I laid down the woven fabric that I might want to run drip tape later on, but I wasn't sure at the time how my setup would be. On one bed I cut the tape ahead of time and let it lay there until the time came. That worked and I didn't need to shuttle the line through. The other beds required the pvc pipe shuttle because I was less certain I wanted to install drip tape on those beds.

I SHOULD HAVE cut a piece of nylon/poly twine/string and lay that in place before covering with the mulch. Right down the lane where I wanted the water. Then, if I wanted to install later, I could have easily tied the tape (or soaker hose) to one end of the twine and pulled it through in 15 seconds. I specify nylon or polypropylene string instead of cotton or jute only because the natural fibers might biodegrade and end up snapping when you need to pull hard.

Also, with a soaker hose that may go in an out, remember to pull that string through again when you remove the hose by tying to the hose before pulling it out.

Please remind me next year to lay twine for BEFORE putting down any mulch!
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