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Useful tricks your hose can play ... with the right nozzles.

Useful tricks your hose can play...with the right nozzles

Use them to water more carefully, more efficiently When water problems grow, water districts often ask customers to switch from sprinkler watering to hose watering. Each device pictured here is made to go onto the end of a hose, and each affects either how much water comes out or how it's delivered. We show nozzles (including the related bubbler), valves, and the hoses they fit on. Expect to pay $2 to $13 for most nozzles and valves, up to $20 for the wand nozzle. There's an old one-hole brass nozzle in almost everybody's garage. And, though you can adjust it to deliver a mist, jet, or stream and even shut water off, it's probably not as efficient as these others for watering plants, because it delivers water too fast or too slowly. For day-to-day garden use, you're better off with a nozzle designed for the purpose.

Tricks your nozzle should know For hand-watering, get a nozzle that breaks water into rain-size droplets that don't wash soil away as they fall. Some of these nozzles are fan-shaped, others are round, but almost all pass water through a rose (a perforated cap) to break water up. An exception: the trigger nozzle passes water through something that may remind you of a turbine. The best nozzles have built-in flow and spray pattern adjustments. Watering wands help you put water exactly where you want it. They're especially useful for watering hanging baskets and densely planted pots. For basin or row irrigation, use a bubbler. Bubblers, like many nozzles, usually come without built-in on-off valves. Such valves save on the water you'd normally waste on the walk between hose bibb and watering spot; they're easy to add on.

Four kinds of hose-end valves You're already familiar with gate valves: one is probably on your hose bibb. They're nice because they can tune the water's flow so finely. As you shop for one to put on the far end of your hose, remember that gate valves come with either pipe threads or hose threads; you want hose threads. Inexpensive thumb valves are sold in plastic or brass at nurseries and garden centers. They turn on and off quickly, but they don't let you finesse the water flow as a gate valve would. Gun nozzles let you squeeze or release a lever to control water flow. Look for one that is threaded at both ends, so you can put it in-line--that is, between the hose and the hose-end nozzle. Trigger nozzles look even more like a pistol, but water flow is controlled by a trigger, not a lever. The spinning nozzle pictured here is one of these.

A word about exploding hoses When you turn off water suddenly with a hose-end valve, pressure surges against the hose walls. If your water supply is much above common city water pressure of 40 to 60 psi (pounds per square inch), the hose could burst. You can do a lot to prevent that. First, don't snap the hose valve shut: close it gently to give the hose a couple of seconds to adjust to the change in pressure. Second, use only first-quality hoses. The best ones are multiple-ply (four-ply is common) and reinforced with radial belts, like good tires. These hoses usually promote their own burst-resistance on the packaging; some can handle pressures as high as 500 psi. Manufacturers of most good hoses offer money back or a replacement for failure. You should be able to buy a tough 5/8-inch by 50-foot burst-resistant hose for $12 to $25. Finally, never run over your hose with your car. Every time you do, you weaken hose walls and increase the chance that the hose will fail under pressure later.

PHOTO : Trigger-controlled spinning nozzle sends droplets out in a gently swirling pattern that

PHOTO : gives even distribution with minimal soil erosion

PHOTO : Thumb valve controls the flow to this bubbler, which breaks the force of the water before

PHOTO : it reaches the soil

PHOTO : Gun nozzle is threaded on both ends, so it fits between watering wand and hose. Like most

PHOTO : good gun nozzles, this one can lock water flow on

PHOTO : Off-the-shelf plumbing parts made this watering wand-gate valve combination. Seattle

PHOTO : gardener Larry Capellaro designed it for very precise flow control

PHOTO : Heavy wire stake holds rose nozzle doubling as a sprinkler for tiny places

PHOTO : Check labels: they often tell if the hose can handle high pressure from nozzle shut-offs

PHOTO : Rose on the end of this spray wand breaks stream into fine droplets, so water's force

PHOTO : doesn't knock leaves off plant or wash away soil
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1988
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