Cycle Soak, Flex Schedules and Clay Oh My!

I’m a new user here in Pittsburgh and I have a 7-zone system with a Hunter rain-sensor and a Hunter flow-sensor (which apparently isn’t compatible).

I have a newer home and I have what seems to be very dense clay soil only an inch or two (if that in some areas) beneath loamy soil. I get a lot of cracked soil in my flower beds during hot weather and dry spells. I also get a lot of run-off and saturated ground that then will quickly seems to dry out and start cracking.

I set up a flexible daily schedule recently and haven’t yet started watering - rain storms this week. If I water like being suggested in some areas of my house it is going to turn into a giant muddy squishy mess! Should I just go with it and see what happens? I assume the watering will be less frequent and less voluminous once the schedule is established??

Also, on the schedule I noticed that my zones have dedicated watering times separated out over the course of a single watering sessions - apparently to limit run-off. Then there is a separate “cycle soak” for 20 minutes that shows up for 3 or 4 times during a single days watering. What is that?


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Cycle soak is just a “pause” for a zone that needs more time for the water to absorb before more water is added. Sometimes separating the zones over the course of a single watering session still doesn’t give a zone enough time to absorb everything.

I love Flex Daily, but it can take some tuning of the parameters if you run into any problems (like a squishy wet lawn) before it’s perfect. The problem I ran into was the opposite – a crunchy lawn.

The issue was that when you setup a zone with “rotor heads”, it assumes that the rotor heads water at the rate of 1 in/hour. Turns out the Hunter rotor heads in my lawn only water at the rate of of 0.4 in/hour.

So every time that a schedule ran, the lawn only received 40% of the water that it was supposed to get.

Took me a bit to figure that out, but since then, it’s been working great!


Assuming you don’t change any settings, frequency will only change with changing weather conditions (i.e. it rains, so your next watering day is pushed back 1 day)

Amount of water put out in a zone per watering session will not change any time unless you adjust a setting (i.e. increase root depth so you’ll water more at one time but then you may push out your watering by a day more).

@TonyF How do you feel about all your settings? If you need some help or feedback on those, post a screenshot.