How do you interact with soil sensors?

Hi @drew_thayer
I’ve posted some of this in multiple other Soil Moisture Sensor threads but just found your “official” thread here. Yes, yes, yes please enable a Smart Closed Loop systems with Soil Moisture Sensors.

Here in Phoenix Zone 9B we we try to conserve water, while also not inadvertently frying our turf and landscaping - which is quite easy to do. We are usually only 1 or 2 “rain delays” away from crunchy plants and wilted trees. And sadly our fruit trees will drop their fruit if stressed too much.
My setup is likely fairly common:

  • 1/3 acre suburban yard
  • 2 Zones for Citrus and Succulents - 4-7 day interval, long deep watering. These zones are not so sensitive but should not be blocked by “weather delays” as these are simply inaccurate here. We can get a 1/4" rain that never hits the ground.
  • 4 Zones for Turf
    • 1 in front - Bermuda summer/fall, Rye overseed winter/spring
    • 3 in back - Bermuda summer/fall, Rye overseed winter/spring
    • typically run every 2-3 days with a target penetration of 6"
    • these are ideal for a soil moisture sensors
  • 2 Zones - Raised Bed Garden, Potted Flowers
    • Up to twice/day
    • Ideal for soil moisture sensors

If you could put together an Closed Loop control system for us it would be great. Again, here we need to avoid drying out, as opposed to swamping out but both High/Low limits would be great to have.
Ideally we could assign each Sensor on a By Zone basis for both high moisture Delay and low moisture Run. Here in Phoenix we need the Delay to not wait until next scheduled cycle, but to trigger when Low Moisture is detected (again, hate to drop our fruits due to stress).

I’m also a Hubitat Elevation (Zigbee/ZWave) user so looking at integrating with Spruce Sensors. But of course, ideally Rachio would either integrate with existing sensors (Toro?) or come out with your own line that directly integrates. I would probably start with Ziqbee (good range, 900MHz, good battery life) if you were to launch Rachio sensors as you can easily put simple mesh repeaters at each corner of the house on inside outlets (I use Ikea plug in’s).

All for now. Thanks for looking into adding Soil Moisture Sensors.

Hi @diabetic_debate ,

I’m also a Hubitat user as well. EcoWitt looks like a reasonable solution - good advertised functionality and reasonable pricing.
How happy are you with the EcoWitt + Hubitat + Rachio setup? Any concerns I should look out for?


Hey this might be against the rules, so I apologize for that. I’m a long time Rachio user and was taking a look at the community and noticed this discussion on soil sensors. I work for Verdmo so I thought I would mention it. We have an outdoor soil sensor and connection to Rachio is coming soon. I’m happy to answer any questions, but I don’t want to break any rules either!


I do not use the soil sensor with rachio directly. What I do is, use home assistant to skip watering if soil moisture is more than a set percentage in each zone. It’s working good so far.

I’ve tried Moisture sensors and I’ve found that since it requires an mechanical connection to the soil, that it’s highly hit-and-miss if you get a satisfactory connection and even less likely that it will remain good for period of months or years to be relied upon. A better design is needed for anything beyond manual spot-checks.

I now use spruce with hubitat. So far it’s been working well. I have not yet connected that to automation but I may do that in the future.

I’m interested in using soil moisture sensors with Rachio as well. Seems intuitive that they would be useful, which is what led me to here. But I don’t know much about irrigation advanced settings or practicality of the sensors. When I’ve used them, it’s been to trigger irrigation when the drier parts of the lawn get below a threshold level that I just guess at with trial and error. Very rudimentary. Would love to see something sophisticated here for closer loop irrigation control.

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I recently purchased some Spruce Soil Moisture sensor. I utilize a routine in Smartthings to send me the moisture level the day before my system runs. If it has sufficient water I skip the watering schedule. The integration with Rachio and ST is limited. I’d love the ability to skip the schedule via the automation or start one of my flex daily schedules if the lawn is dry. There was a community created driver that allowed more functionality but once native support for Rachio was available. Another option would be to integrate the sensor directly into Rachio.

@drew_thayer There is somewhat of a common trend here - that people with soil sensors are using the information from them to do xxx with their Rachio.

What about initially having a product which simply gives a graph within the Rachio app - a visual aid, on it’s own screen in the app, tied to nothing initially ?

Sounds like Rachio need IFTTT support, so people can then decide as to how they want to use this info. Have you looked at IFTTT at all ?

This is a good suggestion, we may consider this when we want to test out appetite for a soil moisture sensor.

There are quite a few user-written IFTTT routines for Rachio

My suggestion:
Ecowitt Sensors & gateway - reasonable and good.

Rachio and Ecowitt bound to a smart home hub - in my case Homey does a very good job. In Homey you can create every flow / AI you wish for. Did well for me!

I don’t currently use soil sensors, but I would think a wireless/portable probe would be ideal to “calibrate” the accuracy of my Rachio system. It’s my understanding that Rachio uses weather and watering history to estimate saturation. By probing various zones and marking the reading in each zone with the app, Rachio could confirm or correct the estimates. I would think this data would be invaluable for building future models.

Have you purchased a soil sensor to augment your irrigation? How do you use it?

No, this is my first house so all irrigation is new to me. I was looking to see if Rachio sold such an accessory.

Does anyone track soil moisture on their own? How does this data help you make irrigation decisions?

No but interested in learning how.

If you had one soil moisture sensor that you could move around your yard, and it provided useful input to your zone watering, what zones would you put it in? Why?

Front yard because that gets the most sun so I’m worried about it the most.

For what specific use cases would you want to measure a zone with a moisture sensor (e.g. overseeding, new turf, growing tomatos, potted plants…)

Mainly for optimizing efficiency to make sure the lawn is getting the right amount of water. Not too much and not too little. I want a green lawn with the smallest water bill.

Any news on this? Looks like this thread started in 21 but still no soil sensor integration?