Adaptive Watering - Answers Please!

I search here indicates not a single thread about Adaptive Watering, yet it is a major feature in the latest Rachio software release. I got some answers while testing this feature, but the production version has this feature without any documentation. At least I /think/ I’m using a production version: it has the new Dynamic Crop Coefficient in it, so I assume it is.

Before I start asking a lot of questions and asking for clarification on the operation of it, can someone confirm whether Adaptive Watering IS or IS NOT a production feature in the latest Android and iPhone releases (neither being in the web version, unfortunately).

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I think the adaptive watering was a carryover from the Thrive service, later rolled into the production. I’ve had it for well over a year (I had Thrive), so I can’t tell you exactly when it implemented to all.

Well that description is completely different than what I was given when I beta-tested this feature. twin1 says that adaptive watering will increase the zone’s run time (which to my mind is already capped/determines based on soil, root depth and allowed depletion), while beta-testers were told it would be applied to the Crop Coefficient (a MUCH better idea). (Fact is, increasing run time with Flex Daily only changes the water applied at once, with overall water usage remaining unchanged.) twin1 says the steps were 20% and 60% for a Little and a Lot, while testers were told it would start at 30% and go to 200%, with no other information. FYI, twin1’s comments, as you mention, are concerning Thrive, while the beta-testing was started for me last July.

During testing we were told the changes were cumulative, but now the only way to change Little or Lot is to Undo, then reset it. There are SO many better ways to do this, which I suggested in testing. Testing was stopped in March, in favor of working on the next (this) version. But now this version includes the same feature, with no explanation.

Again, a simple slider or text field going from -50% to +50% or so would be so much easier and precise and understandable. Easier to change and reset. And it MUST be applied to the Crop Coefficient with Flex Daily, or it’s worthless IMHO.

I agree, some more quantitative figures rather then “a little more” or “a lot less” would have been helpful, but I get that they are trying to simplify some things for those that think Rachio is overcomplicated.

I’m not really sure how I feel about the fact that it adjust run time as opposed to frequency. My zones are pretty well dialed in, and I’ve split my two units into testing two of the “new” features. I have my 8 zone running the dynamic crop coefficients, and I have my 16 zone that I plan to leave with “winter” crop coefficient settings, and see how well the adaptive watering works…

When completed, please let us know the results of your test.

I don’t really expect either to suffer, assuming the dynamic raises enough in the summer months here in Arizona. My plants are established and been watering for 6 years with deep, infrequent waterings, so everything should be able to handle some stress more than other yards. The extra water applied via duration or frequency I’m not expecting to really matter in my case, but we’ll see.

The problem here is that the one and ONLY factor that determines only how much water is applied over time is the Crop Coefficient. Rachio uses the soil type, root depth, allowed depletion, efficiency and nozzle flow to determine how long to water each time. (I’m talking about Flex Daily here, which to me is the only type of schedule to use.) Using those factors, they’re trying to fill the soil with water, to the root depth, letting only the allowed depletion amount running out again before filling once more. Changing any of those factors will simply over-fill the soil, or under-fill it, but will not change how much water is applied over time, except for nozzle flow. But to water more by decreasing nozzle flow will again simply over-fill the soil - not what we want.

But Crop Coefficient determines how quickly the water evaporates or is used by the soil, thus when to water. And that is the only factor that really determines how much water is put down over time. That’s fine, but with Dynamic Crop Coefficient, we now have no control over it. Therefore, to my mind, any More/Less water needs to simply be a multiplier to Crop Coefficient. The only other accurate way I can think of is to determine the proper seasonal/monthly Crop Coefficient by turn Dynamic ON, noting it, then turning it OFF and manually multiplying the recorded setting by the factor you want to change it by. Like 1.1 or 0.9 for a plus or minus 10% change. If that’s how Adapative watering works with Flex Daily schedules, fine, but it would be good to know how much you’re changing it by.

And again, a simple slider or single number for a multiplier would be so simple and give us all the flexibility we need.


Is this a gradual rollout feature? I don’t see it in my app (v 2.5.1). Thanks.

Thanks. So adaptive watering is the same feature as dynamic crop coefficient? I do use the latter.

No, they’re not the same. Dynamic Crop Coefficient varies the set Crop Coefficient (under Advanced settings) for each zone, taking into account the changing needs due to the crop/grass’s stage at the time (seeding, active growth, semi-dormant, etc.). It’s more accurate than using the constant value throughout the year, varying only on temperature.

Adaptive Watering is you manually asking for More or Less water than Rachio is applying, based on your yard’s condition.

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Thanks @rraisley. That’s the part I don’t see in my app. I can fiddle the zone times up and down in the flex daily schedule, but that’s it. I don’t think that’s what you’re referring to, is it?

I can’t answer about whether it’s a general rollout or not. I’m using an Android with Rachio Version 4.5.3. As your version number is so much lower, I’m thinking you have an iPhone.

I Beta-Tested this feature, downloading a special test version of the software, last year. In March, Rachio said they were abandoning the feature to concentrate on new stuff for the upcoming release. When I saw that Dynamic Crop Coefficient was available, I updated to it on May 3 (4.5.3). Looking at this version, Adaptive Watering is still there on my phone, so I assume included in the new upgrade.

On my phone, the Zone settings show it like this:

and this:

But I’m not sure I recommend it, as I really don’t know how it’s used. For example, I set this zone a few days ago to “Somewhat Less Water”, but now that it’s watered, it no longer indicates that. I have no idea if I’ve set it at all. If I go to the zone’s Advanced screen I have the option to Reset Zone Adjustment, clearing the previous change, but I have to remember what if anything I previously set. And on top of that I don’t know what Somewhat is. It’s confusing, which is why I asked for clarification, because beta testing information differed from Thrive version information.

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Okay, thanks @rraisley. I appreciate the explanation. By the way, thanks also for your detailed posts on how the algorithm works. I found those extremely helpful when I got started with Rachio last month.

@rraisley : I came across this article, which explains that the feature is being beta tested; that’s why I don’t see it. But it also gives percentage values for each of the adaptive settings. I’m not sure if that gives you the information you need.

Right, I was part of the beta testing group using that information. Rachio notified us in March that this feature beta test was completed and would be set aside while other features for the new rollout were concentrated on. We now have the new rollout (with Dynamic Crop Control). But Enhanced Watering is still there (at least on my and some others’ phones), so is it the same? We don’t know.

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