Flex schedules- lawn disease


#1

Hello-

This is my first post and I’m hoping for a bit of guidance. I have been a bit disappointed with my Rachio in its first year of use.

I started with my controller set on a daily flex schedule, which initially seemed fine. However, I was getting frequent short waterings, rather than the less frequent deep waterings that I was used to. Unfortunately, this lead my yard to develop what appeared to be significant fungal disease (brown patch). I live in Kansas City and we have a fair bit of humidity and I have experienced brown patch issues in the past, but the very frequent watering appears to have made the problem much worse.

I subsequently changed my controller to a flex monthly schedule, which seemed to have less frequent and longer watering times. I had always been under the impression that less frequent and longer watering is ideal in preventing lawn disease and encouraging deeper root growth, so this seemed to fit the bill.

However, the monthly flex schedule is a lot less intelligent. Several times, we’ve had 2-3" of rain and my Rachio is running 72 hours later. This week is a good example. We had record rains 3 days ago with area flooding and another 0.5" of rain predicted over the next several days. There has been no rain for the last 2 days and none today, but the overall rain totals have been more than adequate. However, my Rachio was running this morning and I manually stopped it.

Does anyone have advice? I like the idea of the flex daily schedule, as that level of automation and personalization is the entire reason I put in the Rachio. However, having slightly damp blades of grass on a very regular basis harbors fungal disease. The flex monthly solves this issue, but seems to only use predictive rain values for the current day (doesn’t skip for rain over the last week or predicted for the following week).

Thanks,
Sam


#2

Can you show us what your zone settings are now?
How close is the weather station you’re linked to?


#3

Let’s rule out a few things.
Are you watering at night? If yes, change your start to the early hours of the morning. Nighttime watering increases disease pressure.

Have you applied fertilizer during the summer? Fescue is a cool season grass and should only be fertilizer during the fall and very early spring . Nitrogen, high temperatures and humidity will increase brown patch.

If none of this is the case, perhaps you can take some soil cores to determine your actual root depth. You could also use the flex schedule but put your system on an odd or even schedule.

Use a fungicide such as Pillar G or Headway G next year as a preventative measure. Brown patch is bad every year in Oklahoma.

You might also create a custom rotor and use .40 or .50 as the precipitation rate. Rachio uses a custom precipitation of 1.0 inch per hour. This is too high. Rain Bird, Hunter and Toro rotors are all in the .40 to .60 inch range.

Maybe this helps. I hate brown patch.


#4

Thanks for this, it looks like it solved the issue I’m running into where now that the weekly rains have stopped, some of my zones are starting to dry out!

I was using the default 1.0 inch per hour (for rotor) settings. Looked up my Hunter I-20 and it’s just as you said, .40 inch per hour. Creating a custom rotor for that and updating my zones now has them with a runtime that looks more like what I’d expect.


#5

Thanks for all of the great advice.

I use a lawn company for my fertilizer application, and I think their timing is spot on. The sprinklers run in the early mornings only. I’m also wondering if I need to sharpen my mower blades, as I’ve noticed a bit of grass blade tearing.

Next year, I’m going to be more proactive with the fungicide, as I applied it after observing damage.

I recently purchased catch cups and I’ll check the precipitation rate closely. Does anyone have advice on the other custom settings- root depth, depletion, etc?

Thanks,
Sam


#6

In regards to your issue with rain and the system is water, where are you getting your precipation numbers from? Also, post a picture of your settings and moisture graph


#7

That is great. Rachio, would you please review the precipitation rates of typical residential rotors (RB 5000, Toro T5P-Rapid Set, Hunter PGP an I20. The 1 inch per default precipitation rate for rotors is too high. It’s more like .40 to .50 inch per hour.