Fricking Flex Love!


#1

Just wanted to share some flex daily love. I’ve been using flex for 3 years . First year was a little rough, my yard was really mad at me and looked a bit stressed. Second year I made a few adjustments and learned a few things, and made sure users could adjust crop coefficient and have an easy lever to modify flex frequency. Yard looked good and I watered easily half of my neighbors. Third year I’ve finally found the flex zen and made it through the hottest month (July) again where I believe flex is tested for its true mettle. The cool months are easy because we have more leeway to screw it up. The hottest months (July/August) is where it’s do or die. I watered 5 times last August, which for most people watering every other day would be about 15 waterings.

This year I’m on track for 5 or less waterings in August. Watered August 1st and my next scheduled watering is August 15th(!) due to a few significant showers we’ve received.

Wanted to share some screenshots of my moisture graph and some yard pr0n. Also, my dirty little secret is that I use above ground hoses with impact sprinklers :wink: The irony is that the only stressed areas are due to poor/inefficient zone coverage.

I know some people will have different experiences, but just wanted to share mine. :cheers:




Real drip irrigation from scratch
#2

And you can say that three times fast! Right?:grinning:

Thanks for sharing pics. I’ll bet the neighbors are envious!


#3

Key for satisfaction is a reliable and accurate weather conditions data feed as closely matched to the Iro’s user as possible. And, that the user appreciates the effort required to find it, spends some time learning how to do it, and actually is successful.


#4

Yesterday, Sat., was a good example of flex daily operation.

My zone 3 was at 3% of Allowed Depletion at the end of the day on Fri. (Aug. 11th).

My flex daily schedule runs at 1 AM every day. When it thus ran the next day, on Sat. at 1 AM, it saw that 0.6" rain was forecasted some time that day during the 24 hour day. The ‘engine’ thus removed watering zone 3 from the day’s schedule.

This is exactly how the flex daily ‘engine’ is supposed to work.

It indeed rained 0.55" inches starting at about 5 PM on Sat. And so yesterday was a saved day - one for which watering was avoided (for zone 3).


#5

I was at the new TreeHouse location in Dallas yesterday ( https://tree.house/locations/dallas/ ).

They are prominently displaying Rachio’s Iro Gen 2 as the best sprinkler controller available for residential purposes.


#6

My friends pre-owned auto dealership is moving to a new location. Involved was considerable landscape work as required by the city.

The landscape contractor installed a Hunter I-Core controller for 15 valves. Some zones are spray heads, some are drip in grass areas, and some are drip in flower areas.

It’s set to run twice per day. Nothing fancier.

Don’t know if the contractor considered anything else, or if this is simply what the commercial guys use a lot.


#7

I’m in year two of flex watering and am also seeing amazing results, less water and the greenest lawn in the neighborhood in August. And in Texas, August is a real test of watering efficiently. Kudos to the developers!


#8

Thanks for sharing your experience. I would concur and my experience is similar with my Rachio controller. The first year was a bit rocky. This second year has been much better. Like you, it takes a bit of tweaking to get your particular situation right, but once the ‘sweet spot’ is determined, I’ve found my controller to be pretty much spot on. And, like you, I still have to water some ‘trouble spots’ by hand when it gets really hot and dry. Let’s face it, even irrigation zones, no matter how carefully laid out, have ‘micro-climates.’

Part of the difficulty I deal with is the irrigation system that I inherited with this home is set up with zones that don’t totally conform to the types plants the zone waters or the sun/shade situation they are in. I have to strike a balance. Also, my back yard, even though it is in mostly shade, has some huge trees that really suck up the moisture from the soil. Consequently, I have to set that zone as “Lots of Sun” even thought it’s mostly in shade.

Tweaking the crop coefficient and the allowed depletion have allowed me to have things watered at the appropriate times and amounts. Additionally, even though my front lawn is fairly level and I have the controller set for “clay soil”, I’ve also put it on “steep” terrain and “Smart Cycle” so I don’t get run off. Now irrigation is done more efficiently. There is definitely a learning curve to get things set up right and where you want them, but once that is achieved, the system works pretty much flawlessly.

I can’t vouch for water savings as my old system never kept things watered enough, or it overwatered them. I would say that the lawn and plants are much healthier now and the Rachio system does water only when it is needed. It does what it’s supposed to do – it adapts to the changing weather conditions! That is savings right there. Additionally, our local water conservation organization puts out a “weekly watering number” (amount of water in inches recommended for watering based on weather forecasts.) My Rachio has fairly consistently used about ½ to 2/3 of their recommended amount, yet things are still thriving. So, I know I’m saving some water.


#9

@dave97035

Thanks for sharing, this is such great feedback! One of our long term goals is to make these schedules easier to adjust. It would be great if everyone was using flexible schedules.

Thanks again, we love to hear stories from the frontlines :wink:

:cheers:


#10

Franz,

I’m glad you appreciated the feedback and comments.

Here’s my suggestion for making the Flex schedules easier to adjust for the average homeowner.

Perhaps you could create a simple setting feature in the Flex Schedules so that a person could select these two options:

  1. Water more or less often (no additional amount, just more or less frequency - perhaps on an adjustable scale of positive or negative percentages)
  2. Increase or decrease water amount (no additional frequency, just more or less water - perhaps on adjustable scale in plus or minus tenth’s of inches of water)

From my perspective, these are the ways a typical homeowner might want to adjust the zones in their Flex Schedules and it is the type of settings they are used to from regular irrigation controllers. Also, it provides language they understand vs. things like crop coefficients, allowed depletion, etc. I’m sure that is pretty daunting to your average homeowner.

However, I would hope you would not abandon the settings currently available. Professionals and those of us who know and understand soil science and plant evapotranspiration would like to retain that flexibility. These types of setting would remain as “advanced” settings.

That’s my 2 cents worth. :slight_smile:


#11

@dave97035

Those recommendations are definitely what I’ve had in mind. It shouldn’t take a lot to make it easier to adjust, and we’d absolutely leave the professional levers!

:cheers:


#12

Finally watering tomorrow. So, in Colorado for August which is our second hottest month, I haven’t watered for 16 days! August 1st to August 17th.

:cheers:


#13

But you don’t know yet if this zone will be sprinkled tomorrow. When your schedule ‘runs’ tomorrow it’s going to first look at the forecast for the day. And if the forecast meets certain minimum thresholds (I don’t know what they are) then tomorrow will be skipped for this zone.

Also, you must be getting frequent rain since you haven’t run this zone all this month. The distance between your Field Capacity and Allowed Depletion allows for only about 4 days at the moment, sans rain, without sprinkling this zone. I assume this zone will sprinkle if you get any period of days beyond about 4 where there’s no rain.


#14

Correct, we have received about 4 significant (.3 inch - .6 inch) rain events in Golden that keeps topping off the bucket. This is the same pattern I saw last year.

In July I was watering every 2-3 days based on field capacity and allowed depletion and the hotter temperatures.

August looks like about every 3-4 days (assuming no more precipitation events).

:cheers:


#15

At least your getting some rain. Here in the Portland OR area we’ve had no significant rain since the end of June, and two weeks ago had record breaking heat of up to 106 degrees! My controller was watering every 2-3 days those days as well. Last Sunday we had our first summer rain. . . O.1" That’s not even spit!


#16

This chart, http://www.welserver.com/perl/plot/WEL0343/Sprinkler2.png , shows that flex daily (‘automatic’) is working. It shows the controller instantly reacting to when there’s not much rain during the month (May, July) and holding back substantially in the other months when there’s been plenty of rain.

The blue line is a daily recording of the month-to-date run time, in hours, the controller is ‘on’ as measured at the MV terminal. This is a 13 month rolling average chart. ‘Yesterday’ is on the far right.


#17

@a0128958

What is month -13? Just trying to line up months with numbers.

:cheers:


#18

@franz - Thirteen months ago, is my take on it based on “13 month rolling average”. So July 2016.


#19

Ugh, math. :wink:

:cheers:


#20

@a0128958

That graph is awesome.

:cheers: