I set up 2 different schedules with identical zones, options, etc. The Flex Daily, according to my calculations, will distribute right at 1.5" of water per week here in July in sunny South Carolina. The Flex Monthly, using the same settings, will distribute only 1.17" of water. That’s almost 30% more for Flex Daily, and our current 95 degree temperature is pretty normal for this time of year, so don’t think it’s that.
Have others found that watering using these two methods result in greatly different amounts of water applied?
Early on when I first got my Rachio, I did notice that kind of issue.
Ultimately what matters is to decide on a type of schedule based on convenience and how you wish to manage watering, then tune for it.
Yeah, I hear that a lot. But like some other users have pointed out, “Tuning”, in this case, is just another word for “Lying”. In my example above, one method puts down 1.17" of water, the other over 1.5" of water. They aren’t both right. They both use identical zone and soil definitions. If I believe the 1.5" by the Daily program is right, but want to use Monthly, I have to Tune/Lie about my soil conditions and zones until it comes up right. That’s darnright silly.
Not even Rachio can get everything 100% on every yard, and I’m sure they agree with that. So there’s /gotta/ be a method to fine-tune the results. That should /not/ be changing your actual conditions. It should simply be an Adjustment, overall, to the amount of water used. I wouldn’t call it a “Budget” like other systems do; that’s intended. But an Adjuster of some sort.
Just now thinking more about it, I think I see why it’s so difficult for Rachio to do this with their Flex Daily, at least: If I had an adjustment that overall just applied, say, 10% more water, Rachio could easily do that. But now the daily graph will show more water saturation (because nothing else was changed). So, sooner or later, it will think the ground is saturated, even though it may not be, and will not water when you want it to. Same with 10% less water. So, yes, that is a problem. We need something that affects how much water Rachio /thinks/ the soil needs. Maybe that does involve some lying.
I’m also in a hot area, NC near the SC border. When Flex Monthly and Flex Daily first came out, I did some testing and took a look at both of them, and quickly realized that with Flex Monthly, my plants were just not going to get the water that they needed. Perhaps I was a bit prejudiced, because I was using the precursor to what is now Flex Daily. I would much rather have my watering adjust to what is going on currently in my yard, not what has historically been happening. Just not a fan of Flex Monthly, and I’d rather put some time and effort into understanding my yard. In my opinion, it’s been worth it. (Although I now know more about irrigation than I ever thought I would have, and I realized that there is tons and tons more to learn! Rachio really has made it easier.)
Well, I mean it’s lying in that you are giving the program known incorrect information. Like saying you’ve planted alfalfa rather than grass. Tuning is moving parameters known to vary (not absolute), yet affect the result. Most of the soil/grass parameters are approximate. Even the crop coefficient is known to vary throughout the year for a given crop. So it’s very possible mine is different than my apparently identical neighbor’s.
I’m not too far from you in Mint Hill. I have most of my lawn set up as Cool seaon Grass (I have fescue), silty clay, .14 available water inches, 6 inch root depth, allowed depletion of 50%, efficiency of 70%, and a crop coefficient of 80%.
I haven’t turned on the lawn sprinklers yet - I normally wait until May to turn the lawn on, but may need to do it soon since it’s been so dry this year. My drip system has been on for a couple of weeks now.
I’ve been using Flex Daily since it came out (and it’s predecessor) – it cut my old Rainbird ESP watering costs in half during the driest months! (Part of that savings was also putting in a separate irrigation meter and taking advantage of the Mecklenburg Smart watering system charges)