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WaterSaver newsletter
Monday, June 1, 2009 Back to Issue Archive
Don't Get Soaked – Get Drip Instead
By Mark Peterson

In Stage 2, soaker hoses may only be used on your designated watering day and only during approved hours.

Customers frequently ask what the difference is between drip irrigation and soaker hoses. Most of the time, they are grouped together as fairly efficient means of applying water directly to the soil without exposing it to evaporative loss. But, there are some differences and these become important in Stage 2 Drought Restrictions.

Think of them as different types of cars. One is slow and very efficient. The other strains to be fast, but is not very efficient.

Drip irrigation can be thought of as the slow, efficient car. It provides water to the soil and plant in a gradual, exact manner. Most drip systems are designed by professional irrigators to maximize coverage. Moreover, drip irrigation is pressure regulated to provide the same amount of water throughout the system.

Soaker hoses, on the other hand, provide water inexactly and in varied amounts. The variations can be extensive if the hose bib is turned too far. Never turn the bib more than a quarter turn. Even then, on a single hose, you may have a lot more water in one spot of the garden than another, and soaker hoses typically put out more water at the front end of the hose. This is because soaker hoses are not pressure regulated or have pressure regulated emitters built in.

During Stage 1 watering restrictions, soaker hoses can be used any day, any time. In Stage 2, the rules change; because they are less efficient, soaker hoses may only be used on your designated watering day and only during the approved hours of 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Drip irrigation can be used on any day as long as it's during the approved hours. Watering with a hand-held hose is allowed any time on any day in Stages 1 and 2.

Mark Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System.

Last Digit
of Street
0 or 1 Monday
2 or 3 Tuesday
4 or 5 Wednesday
6 or 7 Thursday
8 or 9 Friday
No watering on weekends with a sprinkler, soaker hose or irrigation system. Areas without a street address, such as medians and neighborhood entryways, water on Wednesday.
Watering with a sprinkler or irrigation system is allowed once a week before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. on your assigned day, as determined by your address.
Friday, May 23, 2014
0 in. Bermuda (Full Sun)
0 in. Buffalo (Full Sun)
0 in. St. Augustine (Full Sun)
0 in. St. Augustine (Shade)
0 in. Zoysia (Full Sun)
0 in. Zoysia (Shade)
Rain benefits continue this week with established plants. No water necessary. Hand water newly planted plants. Donna Fossum, SAWS Conservation Planner.

Ask A Garden Geek
There's a clover-looking plant taking over my grass. How can I get rid of it?
It could be either oxalis or dichondra. Both are often found in parts of the lawn that are shady or over-watered. Instead of trying to kill them, enjoy them as unique ground covers.
E-mail your question to
Good Gardening Tip
Pass on Planting
With the exception of palms, edible peppers and a few others, most plants will struggle as the scorching summer sun bears down. Hot, drought-like conditions often cause established plants to slow or halt normal growth as a survival mechanism. Instead of new plants, focus on mulching and deeply watering the leafy treasures you already have.
Wildlife Watch
Flavorful Flora
Brightly colored, tube-shaped flowers are enticing to hummingbirds. Gear up your garden for these zippy little birds with honeysuckle, desert willow, esperanza, agastache, cross vine or flame acanthus. Don't be surprised if you also see their entomological look-alike, the hummingbird moth.
Event Calendar
Kids Birding 101
June 6 9 - 11 a.m.
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, 10750 Pleasanton Road
Get the kiddos involved in this fun, family activity! They'll learn how to use binoculars and identify birds. And, they'll get a chance to explore the habitat at Mitchell Lake. Admission is free, but space is limited. RSVP to
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