Flex Schedule or As Needed?

Got my Rachio up and running, no issues, no problems and AWESOME unit. It CAN’T be any easier! Question on the “As Needed” schedule which was automated for me after I entered the zones, type of grass, etc. First, is the “As Needed” the same as “Flex”? I only see As Needed as a choice when I go in to edit the schedule.

Second, I have 1.5 acres of St. Augustine grass in South Florida. Most recommend 1/2"-3/4" water 2 times a week with deeper waterings being better than more frequent less soaking ones. That’s the conventional wisdom at least. The Flex Schedule that the unit set up runs every zone for 14 minutes every day of the week. Is 7 days a week a normal Flex Schedule? I am going to let it go and see but it seems to be a little light on water for a week and only uses shallow rather than deep waterings. I know this isn’t science, the unit doesn’t know everything and that I should see how the grass does and go from there but does 7 days a week sound normal?

I’m anxious to know more also. However, from my initial observations, it might appear initially Flex wishes to water many consecutive days in the future, only to have it recalculate an hour prior to the scheduled time. Flex is wonderful!

Thanks. Not sure I understand but sounds like you are saying that it sets up to water all zones for 14 minutes and then checks in with the weather station an hour before hand and then determines what it is going to do for that day? it could be 14 minutes, could be an hour, could skip, who knows except the Iro?

@hdsteele Do you know what your vegetation setting is for your grass? I would guess that St. Augustine is a warm season grass ? Also, note that Flex and As Needed are distinctly different. If you set your schedule up through an app. you’re running ‘As Needed’, and it should be labeled as such. This article shows how you can tweak the settings to affect the duration and frequency using ‘As Needed’: http://support.rachio.com/article/492-fine-tuning-water-as-needed

The only way to set up a Flex schedule right now is through this web portal (https://flex-app.rach.io/), so if you didn’t go there you’re not on Flex. If you did, however, to affect the duration and frequency of Flex I found this article helpful: http://support.rachio.com/article/385-flex-schedule-tips

I’m not sure if As Needed will be the same as Flex with regards to settings that directly affect watering duration and frequency, but for me (on Flex) I found that the Vegetation type, Nozzle setting and Root Zone Depth had a pretty big impact. It might be worth a review of each of those and the other settings. Rachio is very powerful, and smart. You can get going pretty quickly, but if you have the time it can be fun to dig around and optimize your setup. There are many other support articles that help a ton. Have fun…

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Thanks for the tips @azdavidr! @hdsteele I’ll just add that it seem like you might have an As Needed schedule setup with too large a variety of zones. What I mean is that the best way to setup As Needed schedules is to break it up into 3 or 4 different As Needed schedules based on plant type (primarily). So you may want a grass schedule, a shrub schedule, and a tree schedule. We’re working on a way to automatically break these schedules in the future. If that was the problem, I apologize for the confusion.

@brad. Does your description of breaking out 'As Needed ’ schedules stand for Flex too? I set up separate Flex schedules for grass, trees, shrubs and garden. I’ve been wondering if I’m somehow missing out by not having combined them?

@azdavidr with Flex, the I only have two schedules. One for all my non-drip zones, and one for my drip zones. Makes it really simple.

Thanks folks. I’m 3 days in to my learning and using my Iro so still a newb. St. Augustine is a warm season grass which is somewhat more …lets call it sensitive…than other types here in South Florida. Large yard with 12 zones of which 10 are rotor heads spraying grass and 2 zones spray heads for nooks and crannies of grass as well as some large garden plants such as 20’ high Birds of Paradise. Mixing grass with garden plantings on the same zone is’t the way I would have gone with the install but they both seem to be doing ok with it. I have customized my zones for type of spray head and root depth is set at 9" which is a guess but should be close.

I live in an an area with no water restrictions and I use well or “reclaimed” water. I see the discussions on Flex vs. As Needed and check out the beta Flex app but I don’t understand the differences between the two or any exacts. I do understand that my grass will tell me pretty much everything I need to know. So I customized my zones as required and set up an As Needed schedule and am going to let it rip for a while and then listen to the yard. Was just curious if, given my situation and setup, if a little water everyday rather than a couple of bigger soaks was a normal As Needed schedule.

St. Augustine will benefit from less frequent but deeper waterings, as far as the root depth goes, I don’t know, I see stuff all over the place on the net. If it was mine I I would set the root depth to 6 inches. Most creeping grass will develope deeper roots if the grass undergoes microdroughts. They will burn carbs to stretch roots to reach deeper water, but that water has to be there or the root will die back.

http://grounds-mag.com/mag/grounds_maintenance_help_bentgrass_beat/ even creeping bent can develope deep roots.

This might force you to stick with more frequent waterings, I have no idea how birds of paradise best utilize water.

@azdavidr Nope, no need to break out separate schedules for flex. It handles every zone independently. I don’t think there’s any problem with doing that, just no real benefit.

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@brad Thanks, that’s good to know!

Creat the flex schedule for you smart water zones first, the create the schedule for your drip second. This way when the schedules compete for the same day, you turf gets sprayed first and the drip can run on into the late morning.

I just realized that if you have a wan schedule as well (shadow schedule of me to compare with) this sort order breaks, I just removed my shadow schedule. Now my turfs run before my drips.

Dang, I wish we could adjust schedule priority.

Dang it, I ment to respond to @hdsteele, sorry

@plainsane Interesting point. In my case I have 1 cycle soak zone (grass), and the other 3 are drip. Right now I have 4 separate schedules. It sounds like there is no benefit in combining the 3 drip, but would putting all 4 of them together (1 soak + 3 drip) allow the drip to run at the same time as the 1 grass zone while it’s soaking ? My drip durations are measured in hours. The soaks are 30mins.

sorry, I forgot that drips disable soak…so put all the drips in a schedule and the single turf in its own. I’m editing my response real quick.

I don’t know if cycle soak with drips worked in beta or if I just made it up, probably just made it up out of thin air.

Is there a benefit to combining the 3 drip zones into one schedule versus keeping them separate ? It sounds like they’d still water in a linear fashion if they hit the same day. Now that I have things working, I’m gun shy on messing with it if there isn’t a benefit. Thanks for your responses.

I trampled on @brad, like he said, it doesn’t matter.

I guess a straw man argument could be made around the increased verbosity of the schedule start/end messages?

That works for me. Once I got past the intimidation of setting up Flex I’m amazed at how powerful this system is. I still have some knobs to turn though so the feedback here is huge. Thanks…

newb Question: where is the cycle soak option setting, or is this something the flex scheduling does itself? Can’t find the toggle, but that may be because I have drips included in the schedule (although they are called emitters, because I couldn’t find “drip line” as a nozzle type.).