Deep soak trees in the desert

I noticed some other desert dwellers on the site but I’m not sure I saw a clean answer to my question.

During the summer months I usually try to do a deep soak on our trees at least once a month. Maybe as much as 12 hours to leach the salts out of the soil. I set up a schedule and used your on an interval schedule type to start on May 15 and run until October 15. I set it to run for five hours and would assume that the time will increase as we begin to get high temperatures here in Phoenix. Is that correct? Is there a better way?

I’m also assuming that my flex schedule will be affected considerably for the days following the deep soaks. Is that correct?

Thanks for the help.

Sorry, I forgot to add that I set the time for 21 days which is the maximum interval allowed.

Yes, each month the run time will be adjusted according to the season.[quote=“jackmarkle, post:1, topic:3432”]
I’m also assuming that my flex schedule will be affected considerably for the days following the deep soaks. Is that correct?

Curious how this is being used in conjunction with above?



I live in Phoenix and am super confused on how to water trees & shrubs. According to this website, intended for our area, if I have trees with a 6 canopy, I’ll want to give them 26 gals per watering. With three 2gph emitters on each tree, that turns out to be a 4.5 hour watering. Does that sound about right to you ? I’m curious as to how others here in the desert are using Rachio so I can have a baseline to work with. Any help would be appreciated.


On my fix the clock, once a month I would run a 10 hour cycle primarily to leech the salt out of the soil. Obviously, it would also fill up the tank or overfill the tank giving the trees an extra drink during the hot season. So on your system I set up a separate schedule on three week intervals. I ran one zone last night and see that pushed the flex schedule out so it won’t run for another week. I’m good with that and fine with the zone drying out after I do the deep soak. The desert trees down here aren’t so much an issue but I have some ash trees that are a little more fragile. I hope this answers your question. And, I look forward to understanding your system better and getting it dialed in for my needs. You guys of done a wonderful job and I’m very impressed both with the product and your attention to customer service on this board.

Hi David,

I’m not sure I’m the one to answer your question but I’ve killed quite a few trees in the process of learning and maybe can give you some direction. My trees are quite a bit larger and I stated in my reply to Franz the desert trees aren’t so much of an issue. They are tough and can handle the heat pretty well even if abused. I have quite a few ash trees and those are the ones that seem to be the most fragile. I water from a well and even though it’s pretty good water and not too salty when it gets really hot the ash trees tend to get distressed and what I found out is that quite a bit of the distress is salt damage and not lack of water. If anything I probably water too much. Anyway, it’s my understanding that it’s good to run a slow trickle overnight in order to push the salts out of the soil.

So, you get what you pay for. My advice is free and probably not worth too much. I would recommend that you find Brian Whitfill. Brian is a lot of fun to listen to and when he sneezes he loses more knowledge about these kind of issues than I’ll ever know. He used to be on 550 but has moved to another station I believe. He owns Whitfill nursery and is a great guy to get to know if you need some help.

Thanks Jack,

I’m actually a new user, rather than a Rachio employee. It just seems that there aren’t as many of us desert dwellers, so the peculiarities of desert watering makes us jump through hoops. I’ve gone to this website for some guidance on watering in Phoenix. Under the interactive guide, they list this first.

With the # of emitters and associated flow rate for each of them, it translates to recommendations of 4-8 hours of watering at a time, every 10-12 days. That happens to be the interval that the ‘As Needed’ schedules are showing, which is great, but the duration that I can set per zone is currently capped at 3 hours. The Rachio guys are still trying to address that, and I’m sure they will. I just wish it weren’t so complicated to figure out how to optimally water in the desert. The above website is great, but to date with my old Hunter Pro style timer, I’ve had landscapers water at much different intervals. I don’t necessarily trust their settings, as I think they have a tendency to over water, but now trying to figure out what is ‘real’ is a challenge. Thanks for providing info. on your situation. I might try to start a ‘Desert watering’ thread to see if there are enough of us out there to share our Rachio settings on Flex, Fixed or As Needed to make sense of it all.


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