Water usage is on the minds of most people these days, especially gardeners. Here in the Inland Northwest, we had the hottest June ever on record, and one of driest ones, too. We had very little snow pack, so water tables are lower than normal, as are lakes. This has made many people aware of every drop that goes onto the garden.
About Soaker Hoses
Soaker hoses are very good tools in the move to cut down on water usage in the garden while still keeping plants happy. They’re designed to ooze water through small pores along the entire length of the hose when the water is turned on. They’re particularly helpful in densely planted areas, where soaker hoses are easy to install and keep all of your plants uniformly moist. A soaker may not be as useful in garden beds where plants are widely spaced; in those cases, a drip feed set up will be a better choice.
About the Dramm ColorStorm Premium Soaker Hose
The Dramm ColorStorm Premium Soaker Hose (50’ x 1/2”; also available in 25’ lengths; manufactured in the USA) is a beauty of a soaker hose. It’s made of high grade, recycled rubber which is kink and abrasion resistant due to the thick walls. The couplers are heavy-duty nickel plated brass – they’re thicker than many couplers and aren’t going to smash down the first time you drop something on them.
The hose has very fine pores; the water beads up on the surface and weeps downward rather than spraying out of holes. This makes for very slow, but very even, watering.
It supposedly uses 90% less water; I don’t know if this means 90% less than other soaker hoses or 90% less than conventional overhead watering but I can tell you that no water gets wasted. Because water seeps slowly through the pores, the water all has time to soak in before it can evaporate, and it all goes right where you put it.
The black color of the hose blends away under plants very well, especially in shady areas. It can be covered with mulch for both aesthetics and to make doubly sure no water evaporates.
I have used many soaker hoses in the past – I can even remember my parents using an old style, canvas soaker under the hedges when I was a kid. All had one thing in common: they put a lot more water at the end connected to the hose bib than they did to the further end. This hose doesn’t seem to do this. The soil was extremely dry when I first hooked it up and it would have been obvious if it had not been watering evenly. I’ve had this hose for about 3 weeks now, and so far it has continued to water evenly. It hasn’t sprung any leaks or ‘geysered’. I’ll keep you posted if that changes.
Best Uses for the Dramm ColorStorm Soaker Hose
Soaker hoses, like the Dramm ColorStorm, work best in areas of dense planting. They are ideal for hedges, vegetable gardens, and ground covers. In places where shrubs are widely spaced, you’ll save more water by using a drip system. At the moment I’ve got it in an area where shrubs are underplanted with hostas and pulmonarias. It’s hidden under the leaves and mulch so you can’t see it at all.
Lays Flat Easily
I was very happy to find that the Dramm hose unrolled easily and laid down flat. Some hoses want to stay coiled up and act like a sea serpent when laid out; with this hose, I had no trouble with laying it flat and making it curve where I wanted it to go.
If you want to ensure that it stays put once it’s in place, use some good loop stakes to anchor it in place (try these galvanized stakes from Orbit).
Check Your Water Pressure
All soaker hoses operate within a specific water pressure range – too high and the hose will blow out at the end or start “geysering”, too low and very little water will come out. This is something many homeowners overlook so before choosing to use a soaker hose, please check your water pressure at the hose bib. The Rain Bird P2A Pressure Gauge is a good option that’s priced under $10 – well worth it if it’ll help prevent your soaker hose from blowing up!
The Dramm ColorStorm Premium soaker hose works best at a pressure of 30 psi. If your water pressure is too high, use a pressure regulator. One I like is this one from Rain Bird (it’s under $15) that controls pressure to 30 psi and provides some filtration to remove larger particles that may be in your water (these could clog a soaker hose).
What About Water Quality?
Unfortunately, if you have water with a high mineral content (such as well water), a soaker hose may not be the best option for you as the mineral deposits can clog the pores over time.
Dirty water with lots of particulate matter can also clog the hose.
High Quality and Good Value
The Dramm premium soaker hose seems to be very high quality. The walls are very thick and the couplers are heavier than many of those on my garden hoses. It also has a life time guarantee. While higher priced than many other soaker hoses, I think this is a case of “you get what you pay for”.
I would definitely buy the Dramm ColorStorm Premium Soaker Hose for personal use; I have several other beds where this hose would be a valuable addition. It would be especially ideal out in the vegetable garden – we plant closely and it’s hard to get water to some of the plants in the corn patch because of that. This soaker hose is tough, waters evenly along the entire length, and lays down flat. Five shovels up for the Dramm ColorStorm Premium Soaker Hose!
Note: Dramm also sells a ColorStorm Soaker Hose which we did not review. The difference between the Soaker Hose and the Premium Soaker Hose is that the premium model has a thicker wall, meaning that you can connect up to 100′ of hose and still have even water dispersal. Dramm doesn’t recommend more than 50′ with the standard soaker hose.
Where To Buy
This hose is available online from Amazon for $29.95; free standard shipping if your order totals over $35.
You’ll also find it in your local independent garden center. Dramm doesn’t sell their products in mass market outlets or big box stores.
Now over to you – Have you tried a soaker hose before? How did it work? Let us know in the comments below!
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Disclaimer – GPReview would like to thank Dramm for giving us a free ColorStorm Premium Soaker Hose to review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review and we received no compensation for writing it. All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.
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