We bought a new house in Rockwall Texas and are new to the irrigation sprinkler system world. I switched our rain bird out to the rachio yesterday, but I am so confused on how to set up the schedule. It shows over 8 hours of watering on the next 6/2 run! That’s way more than the 1hr50min I used to do on rainbird. I did the flex daily for the biggest savings and tried to input info about my yard as best as possible. Would anyone be willing to help a girl out? Pointers? Also, how does it know my soil moisture if I don’t have the sensors in the ground, only a rain sensor on my gutter?
I typically recommend starting with one or two flex daily zones for a week or two, getting them dialed in, and then rolling them out to other zones. Flex daily will tend to water longer, but less frequently. If you post the advanced settings for one of the zones the community can usually help with feedback.
Definitely start with a fixed schedule like you had on your Rainbird, then slowly roll out Flex Daily. Key is finding your precipitation rate or nozzle/inches per hour:
Then you can change that setting in Advanced Zone settings:
In Flex Dialy, Rachio estimates your soil moisture using weather stations (if you select one, which Is highly recommended if you have a reliable WX station nearby in the Rachio app) or WI+'s interpolated estimates. Rachio knows about how much it rained, how much you irrigated, how much water the plants used, and calculates moisture levels.
34 and 54 minutes for lawns seems reasonable, assuming nozzle in/hr settings are correct. Cycle and soak is adding 1 hr 4 minutes of soak time to prevent run off. The drip line run time is necessarily longer than sprinkler watering times (though nozzle in/hr will likely need to be adjusted if you keep that zone on Flex). These water times are for a deeper watering than you may be used to, but watering less frequently. I also recommend seeing if there’s a reliable weather station nearby and switching to that under Rachio controller settings. If there isn’t, then WI+ for weather is fine.
Thanks so much! I plan to do the precipitation rate test today on all zones after we mow. Once I get the rate per hour, I change it under nozzle inches per hour? How do I measure a buried drip line? What would you change the drip to as a start?
Sounds like a solid plan for the lawn. As for the buried drip line – hmmmmm. That doesn’t sound easy to figure out! I highly recommend removing the drip line from Flex Daily and putting it under a Fixed schedule with the duration you had set on the Rainbird. And yes, the precipitation rate would be set under Nozzle Inches Per Hour.
That said, here’s a post where I explain how I figure out my drip line nozzle in/hr (can work for shrubs if you don’t have trees in your drip area):
One more question, it has root depth of 9 inches, but with out clay ground several areas are compacted and grass isn’t growing well, I am worried about run off and definitely don’t think the roots go that deep. Should I adjust or? (I do plan on getting an aerator today to start using that in major compacted areas.)
Yeah it’s no use watering deeply on compacted areas. You can dig a hole or use a soil augur in a discrete part of the lawn to measure how far the roots go down and use that plus an inch maybe. Perhaps try 6” or 4”. That will also reduce your watering duration but increase frequency. Good luck dealing with that compaction!
I found this with GPM for each zone, so I should be able to use this with equation for PR and get my numbers right?
Nice diagram. Using the GPM and square feet of each zone in that formula will certainly get you in/hr closer to reality. Especially for the sprays.
Fellow metroplex resident here. If you have clay soil like i do, best to water each zone for 7 to 10 minutes, wait an hour, repeat water, wait another hour, then final watering. So you end up with 21-30 minutes per zone, but not all at once, allowing water to soak in rather than runoff like it tends to do on clay soils. This is a way to start out manually, then go to a flex schedule. If going for flex with weather intelligence, find a weather station close to you so forecast and actual rainfall will be accurate for your location. Try to have your watering schedule finish just before sunrise. That way, you get minimum evaporation, but your roots don’t sit wet all night long which leads to other problems.
Getting the “Nozzle Inches per Hour” rate is key: Try a saucepan or frying pan under the sprinklers for 5 or 10 minutes, measure the collected water in a measuring beaker, and then some simple math. Then make sure soil type is set (to Clay?), and tap on the Soil Moisture percentage to see the projected watering next week or so. If everything else is set right, under “Edit”/“Advanced”, “Coefficient” is the easiest way to adjust the total water put down over many days, while “Allowable Depletion” is the quickest way to distribute that water more or less frequently.
Actually the point of entering in all the info of your Yard is so you can avoid doing all that manually. It will stop and let water soak in and then start again latter all on its own. You just need to enable the function. Also need to make sure it knows you have clay soil and so forth.