Flex Daily schedule rarely runs

I have a Rachio 3. Have set up 6 zones (2 lawn and 4 shrubs) on a Flex Daily schedule – but they almost never run.

For example: my Front Shrubs zone hasn’t run since 5/9. It’s been in the mid-60s to high 80s since then, and less than 1/2" of rain. Rachio was telling me that the soil moisture was over 100%, but everything looks dry and near wilting. All the zones are having the same issue. I think one zone ran once in the past 4 weeks, and everything looks like it needs water.

What am I doing wrong? I spent a fair amount of time setting this up with correct settings (I think) for each zone. I’ve finally resorted to manually running some of them just to keep my plants alive.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!


What are your zone settings? Post up a screen shot of the basic and advanced zone settings and lets make sure you have everything set up correctly. Chances are, if you’ve been watering incorrectly for years (most people do, including myself), your root systems might be pretty shallow, so some tweaks might needed.

Once I got my roots trained to go deep, my system runs VERY infrequently in the winter months. Summer here in Arizona is a different story.

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Yeah, I get that the sprinklers will run longer and less frequently. When the Front Shrub zone ran on May 9 it ran for almost an hour, which I expected. What doesn’t make sense is that the soil moisture has barely changed over 4 weeks, despite warmer than normal temperatures and almost zero rain. Seems like there should be some change in moisture over time.

I’ve attached a couple of screen shots for one of my zones. The advanced settings are all default.

what does the moisture graph for that zone look like? (If you do it on the web page you get more detail without having to click through like on the app)

Here it is. Is there a way to see further back than a week?

Yes, there is a little arrow to the right and left of the graph that allows you to go back a week.

Well, a couple things right off the bat in your settings…

I highly doubt that your nozzles are putting out .7in/hr, so we can fine tune that a bit. Can you identify the manufacturer and/or model of your sprinkler/nozzle combo?

As expected, I’d probably say that you need to up the root depth since you have probably been watering much more frequently. This will tell Rachio to run more often. I’d try 12" to start.

I assume that you checked your soil type correctly based on the Web Soil Survey for your area?

But, I have some concerns for your moisture graph. Unless you have a crazy cloud cover every day, you should have more Crop Evap than you are seeing (I think). Maybe @franz can take a look at this. Is there a chance that the weather intelligence is a little FUBAR’d?

I don’t have any experience with rain input for the system (no rain here most of the year) but it looks like it thinks the rain you are getting is mostly covering the water the plants are getting.

Maybe check what the crop coefficient in your advanced settings, as well as root depth (for frequency)

Also when you make changes to the zone, (regular or advanced) go check the moisture graph (click the % moisture on the zone page) and you can click forward to see the next watering if it is in the next two weeks. One issue I had with that is on the website it doesn’t reflect changes you make until you reload the page. But it is handy to try and figure what is going to happen, if a little clunky to keep changing and reloading pages.

I did check the web soil survey, and did my own mason jar test, so I’m reasonably confident about the soil type. The sprinklers are Hunter PRS40s, and the heads are Hunter MP1000 (I think – I’m not home right now so will need to double check later today).

I will change the root depth for sure. If I’m reading the Hunter specs correctly it looks like the sprinklers put out about .48 in/hour so I’ll change that too after I confirm the sprinklers.

Not much cloud cover the past month. And with temps in the 70s (and briefly in the 80s) it does seem like the crop evap would be higher.

Interestingly, when I jump forward in the moisture graph (which I didn’t even realize I could do – thanks!) the predicted moisture drops to 55% after one week and 31% after two weeks. And the weather forecast for the next two weeks is only slightly warmer than the actual weather from the past two weeks.

Still no upcoming waterings during the next two weeks.

I have Hunter MP’s all over my yard as well. Probably my favorite nozzle on the market…

So there are some slight variation depending on the arc angles in your yard, so I usually look for an average to get me started. But, since you are lucky enough to have the PRS-40 bodies, you don’t have much to worry about, because all arc angles are .41in/hr (or .48in/hr depending on sprinkler layout), so I’d start there…watering time will be MUCH longer than they have been, so be ready for it.

I’d still like @franz to take a look at your moisture graph. The Evap just seems off to me…

Try changing the crop coefficient to be something higher, save, and reload the moisture graph and see what that does. Your shrubs may need more moisture than the generic ‘shrub’ used in the default. There is some details on what the advanced settings do here https://support.rachio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115010379087-How-do-I-edit-duration-and-frequency-on-Flexible-Daily-Schedules-#how-can-i-adjust-flexible-daily-schedules . just look down a little bit past the initial ‘quick’ change stuff.


Thanks everyone for the help and suggestions. I’ve learned a lot today. Making some adjustments now and we’ll see how it goes.