Garden Tool Series – Hoses

I know you have never sworn a blue streak over a kinked, clogged, or blown out hose, right?  Right! These problems seem to be the mainstay of watering with hoses.  When buying a new hose for the garden, you probably look for the length first, but most hoses come in different lengths. Let’s look at some of the characteristics of garden hoses to help you make your selection.

Materials

Most garden hoses are made from vinyl, rubber, or a blend of each. Rubber seems to be the favorite for colder climates and heavy use. The rubber garden hose is more durable, although it is also heavier.  With proper care though and indoor storage in winter, the rubber hose can last a long time. When combined, rubber and vinyl hoses have the durability of rubber and the lighter weight of vinyl.  There can also be nylon and rayon mesh used to strengthen and protect the outer areas of the hose.

Lengths

Garden hoses range in length from 10 to 100 feet or more and come in diameters of ½ inch to ¾ inches.  If you need the hose to reach farther than 100 feet, you can combine hoses to get the reach you need. Just be aware that the longer hoses are more difficult to curl up, so durability may be a consideration if you want to leave it out or cover with mulch to protect from sun and weather. One style of hose is the retracting hose that plumps up when filled with water. These are great if you remember to release the pressure on them after each use. Leaving them full can cause them to blow out.

Fittings

When selecting a garden hose, pay attention to the kinds of fittings available. Plastic works if you use the hose occasionally, but you may want to buy hoses with brass fittings if you will be using them for watering the garden frequently.  The connection to the faucet may leak more often with plastic connectors since it is harder to fasten them really tight.  Washers to use inside the connectors will help deter leaks.