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How do you overwinter a soaker hose?

No, I’m not setting up a lame gardening joke. I’m asking this because I’m getting semi-conflicting reports via the internet. And because a lot of them say to definitely take the soaker hoses inside for the winter, but I so don’t want to do that. Because it was a pain in the ass to bury the things in 4 raised beds, and I want someone to tell me I don’t have to do that every year. But also I don’t want to have to buy new soaker hoses every couple years.

The soaker hoses are buried about 4-6 inches down – give or take – in my raised beds, which are topped off with some mulch. I’m in zone 7A. It gets cold here, but the ground isn’t frozen solid all winter long (except if we have a crazy freak winter like we did last year and get like 20 feet of snow – which reminds me that I should make a ‘snow’ category). Zone 7′s winter lows are defined as 0-10°F, but it rarely gets that low. Most often it’s in the low 30s.

So if it’s OK to leave them in the raised beds, tell me. It’ll save me some work both now and (especially) in the spring. I can already see myself procrastinating planting in the spring because I have to rebury them. But if leaving them in the ground really will destroy them by next year or soon after, save me about $75 or so and let me know.

3 Comments

  1. JeanNo Gravatar says:

    Jennah, I’ve struggled with this issue, too, and have done it both ways. In my Maine garden (zone 5a/4b), I always take them up and bring them indoors for the winter. In my mother’s Massachusetts garden (zone 5b) and in my Gettysburg, Pennsylvania garden (zone 6b), I have left them in place. The ones left in place did deteriorate, but I’ve only had to replace them every 4-5 years, not every 1-2 years. I should note, too, that I don’t have them buried as deep as you do (just under 1-2″ of mulch); I would think the fact yours are buried deeper would add protection. Do you know what the frost depth is in your area? I would think that if your hoses are buried deeper than the ground freezes, you’d be fine to leave them in place.

  2. JennahNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks. That’s VERY helpful. According to this chart: http://is.gd/fV9Xj, the frost depth here is 15-20 inches. That seems pretty extreme, though, so I’m not sure how I feel about that. I *think* I may leave them in. I feel like I’d have to replace them every 4-5 years no matter what, so that’s not too bad. Might just bury the ends (they currently pop out of the soil to connect), and I was planning on mulching with raked leaves anyway.

  3. ~ferNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, I can’t even imagine what 20 ft of snow would be!
    I guess from a gardeners point of view i was lucky i never have to deal with frost, back in my city it didn’t snow at all. But I always wanted to be in a city with some snow, I only got that wish now that I am living in japan.

    Good luck with the frosts, I hope you don’t have to struggle much.

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