Flex Daily with Mixed Zone Types

I have a couple drip zones where there are multiple plant types. One has a couple conifers, some shrubs and perennials. The other has conifers, shrubs, perennials, groundcover and some scattered annuals. They are in full sun. The soil is for the most part clay with the first couple inches of topsoil clay loam. The drip is .5 in/hr running throughout the zone.

Right now, I have the zone type set to shrubs to water at least deep enough for those. It watered deep, but it seems to not water often enough for the perennials and annuals before the top part of soil gets dry. I turned the crop coefficient up to have it water more often, but I worry about watering too often because I know it is not good for the trees.

I am willing to take the annuals out of the equation as I can hand water those as necessary, but what is the best way to have perennials, shrubs, perennial ground cover, and trees coexist in the same drip zone?

Mixed zones are hard just due to variable root zone lengths and different crop coefficient needs per crop type. I don’t have much useful information as not having experienced this directly. @Kubisuro @Linn wondering if you have any suggestions as you are uber gardeners compared to me :wink:


I have two drip zones that are a mix of annuals, perennials and shrubs. I use Flex Daily, and I quickly learned that my best bet was to water for the annuals. I did set my root depth to 7" , my allowed depletion to 25% and my crop coefficient to 89%. I played with different settings over a summer, and found that this works for me. The annuals get the water they need, and all the other plants seem to do just fine with it (even my hydrangeas, which are water lovers in the heat). But I do live in NC, where I normally get a little rain to balance things out.


The problem is most drip systems were designed with fixed schedules in mind. I suspect your trees have more emitters or higher total GPH than, say, your annuals or shrubs. So on a fixed schedule, your trees would get way more water than the other plants. They may have been designed for daily fixed watering. So that is still an option and you’d still benefit from the various smart skips.

If your trees are responding well to deep watering with Flex, what I’ve done in the past to good result, is adding a daily or every other day Fixed schedule to “top off” the shallow rooted plants. The trees will get some shallow water, and they might be OK with that. There’s not much one can do, really, with plants of such deeply different characteristics are involved. In an ideal world where money and time were of no limit, trees, shrubs, annuals would all get their own zones.

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Thanks for the suggestions…I will give them a try and play around. @Linn @Kubisuro While I have your ear, what soil type would you set it at if you have different soil horizons. Mine is generally clay soil, but has a layer of topsoil that is about 3" of nice loamy garden soil (which was also mixed into the backfill when planting). Do I have clay loam or still just clay since that is what it is about 3" down?

Your plants will likely root mostly in the bulk soil, so I’d select clay.