Does a Flex Daily Schedule encourage deep healthy roots to grow?


#1

Fellow community of lawn enthusiasts! I have a question regarding the Flex Daily Scheduling. I’ve read that deep and infrequent watering encourages a healthy and deep root structure. (Which I’m seeking for my cool season lawn) For example watering 1" per week broken up into .5" twice a week or so. Obviously I could setup a fixed schedule and the mission would be accomplished, but the Flex Daily functionality has me curious. I understand that a Flex Daily program can be dialed-in so that the grass stays green, but my question is can a dialed-in Flex Daily program (the max allowed depletion model) also encourage deep healthy roots to grow? Or does it simply keep the grass watered enough to keep it green?

Here is possibly some helpful context around my question. Last year my family and I moved into a new house that has an irrigation system, a shady lawn, and a lot of moss. Before I installed the Rachio 3, the irrigation system did not have an electronic controller. The water I use to irrigate comes from a well. It appears the previous owners watered this lawn with reckless abandon due to a seemingly endless supply of water and a manual controller that was not on a timer and thus easy to forget to turn off. My lawn appears to have a rather shallow root structure and I would like to change that. Obviously my sprinkler controller will only be part of the equation towards making my lawn healthy, but I want to make sure that I’m doing this properly and would love to take advantage of a Flex Daily schedule at the same time if possible.

Thanks in advance!


#2

Short answer: yes. Long answer:

I have a half acre yard with 19 zones and did much research before I overhalled my landscape about 5 years ago. I had installed rotor heads (Hunter MP rotors) and an intelligent controller with it’s own weather station and all seemed good. Fast forward 4.5 years and I had some brown areas and some plants were suffering and I really wanted a flow meter so I could know where the water was going. Two months ago I bought a Gen3 with flow meter. I configured it but didn’t connect it to any valves. I let it run for over a month in “test” mode. Comparing run times and frequencies and I found a drastic difference between what I was running and what Rachio was showing. The max run time for my grass with my old controller was 50 minutes 3-4 times a week. Rachio was 90-120 minutes every 4-5 days. I was shocked by the Rachio long run times but overall the weekly total was about the same or a little less. I was apprehensive about switching over but I made the switch about 3 weeks ago. Boy…what an improvement and I’m sure I’ll see more after it’s been running a few more months. Yes, all the industry literature is correct; less frequent longer run times promote deeper roots which results in less water usage.

You’ll notice that I have 19 zones but the Rachio can only handle 16 so I doubled-up 3 of them. Sure wish they made a 20 zone controller.

Take the leap and buy a gen3. If you want to do it right…spend an afternoon and measure the square footage and perception rate (spend another $30 and buy catch cups) of each zone.

After you configure each zone as described in their documentation go back to each zone and key in the square footage and precipitation rate (catch cups) in the advanced area. Create daily flex schedule and group all like plants in the same schedule. I have most of my schedules starting at midnight each one 5 minutes later than the previous one to control the order. I have all of my schedules set to run every day except for Saturday when my lawn gets mowed.

After a few weeks let us know how it worked out.

Catch cups: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CBZB8U8/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


#3

You can always extend the running time on you schedule that is what you probably are looking for to promote the roots grow. My guess is that the Rachio calculations doesn’t take that in consideration since this is more for “advance” users. I could be wrong.