What is an Irrigation Hose?

Mary McMahon

An irrigation hose is a hose which is designed to be used in an irrigation system. Irrigation systems come in a wide variety of styles, ranging from systems used in small gardens to the massive systems utilized in industrial agriculture. In all cases, the goal of an irrigation system is to get water to plants, providing a low-maintenance watering method and reducing water wastage by operating efficiently.

Underground irrigation systems use hoses to distribute water.
Underground irrigation systems use hoses to distribute water.

In a permanent irrigation system which is in place at all times, an irrigation hose is part of a network of hoses which are established throughout a garden so that when water flows through the system, it will penetrate the garden fully. Irrigation hoses may be as simple as soaker hoses, hoses which allow water to trickle through a sponge-like membrane to deliver water slowly and evenly to plants. Irrigation hoses can also be designed as part of portable systems which are brought out for watering and then put away.

Setting up a hose irrigation system can be done in a variety of ways. Some are controlled manually, with the operator determining when the garden needs water and turning the water on. Others are on timers which are programmed to provide watering at set intervals, with the operator usually choosing a time during which water loss through evaporation will be minimal. Systems can also be more sophisticated, with sensors which determine when the soil is getting dry which will trigger the system to start a watering cycle.

One advantage to an irrigation hose rather than a sprayer or similar system is that the hose delivers water close to the roots of the plants. This means that less water is needed for irrigation cycles because there is less water loss. It also prevents damage which may be caused by accumulations of water on the leaves of plants, as seen when mold and disease occur in plants which are routinely wet, or when plants experience sun damage as a result of droplets of water on their leaves during the heat of the day.

Garden supply stores usually carry several irrigation hose options, along with systems which connect to them. People may want to think about considerations such as where the system will be installed and how it will be used when selecting the right hose for their needs. For a permanent system, for example, it is important to purchase durable and weatherized irrigation hose which will not break down as a result of exposure to the elements on a constant basis.

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