Individual vs Group schedules?

I have six zones on my Rachio. Two warm season grass, two annual flowers, and two perennials.

I originally had each plant type set up on individual schedules yet felt they were not getting enough water and constantly tweaking or manually watering.

I have now experimented with group schedules where everything gets some in the Am and some in the Pm.

Wondering if anyone has tried or experimented with different schedules types and what the best recommended set up is.

Do you have them on Fixed, Flex Monthly, or Flex Daily schedules? Watering twice daily seems to be an unhealthy way of scheduling watering, unless you are in a desert environment (in which case I would suggest switching to different plants).

New to the South from California. Originally it was flex daily now structured under flex monthly.

When I had it on flex daily the grass and annuals were too dry. I built a schedule for 10m every day in the AM for annuals and they came back with vigor.

Just trying to figure out how to get a good cycle and schedule together. The question I had was around single zones or grouped zones. Any thoughts?

I’m in SC, and have found that my back yard zone, which includes Centipede grass and a flower garden, does well with Flex Daily, but the flowers do not. I added a Fixed schedule to water the zone 2-3 minutes a day, in the middle of the day, to cool and wet the flowers, and then also keep Flex Daily for the zone. Flex Daily takes into account water received from the Fixed Schedule, so it seems to work well.

I use Flex Daily with my annuals and perennials but they are on drip emitters. To get it to work well I had to set the allowed depletion to 25% and I set the root depth for the annuals, not the perennials. (And don’t use the Rachio provided figures for drip emitters. Most of mine are 1/2 GPH and I have my Inches per Hour set to .2 - they water for 74 minutes at a time) The perennials don’t seem to mind at all. I’m in NC, almost on the SC border.

I do have some annuals on a Fixed Spray Head. at 1.5 inches/hour. They are on a Flex Daily schedule and water pretty much every day for 9 minutes.

I would not use Flex Monthly — some years we are way wetter than normal and some years very dry (like this year – we’ve had so little rain). Flex Daily will account for what is happening now. Just make sure you pick a PWS near you that seems to be recording precipitation accurately.

During the hot summer months, my annuals get watered pretty much every other day, and sometimes every day. And they do well.

Good feedback. Thank you.

Good feedback. Thank you to all that have responded.

Do you by any chance have a method for figuring IpH from GpH? I’m running drip spot emitters on Rachio’s defaults and the plants seem ok, but I keep wondering whether there are more water/$$ savings to be had.

Since there are 3.78541 liters in a gallon (just ask Google), then if you have gallons per hour, multiple that by 3.785 to get litres per hour.

Sorry, that was an upper case I as in Inches per Hour.

Ah, well that’s a different story. The inches per hour depends both on the gallons per hour (total volume of water) divided by the area of the zone being watered. So if you have GPM, you also need to measure the area of the zone in square feet. Having done so, the formula is:

Nozzle Inches per Hour = GPM / Area (sq ft) x 96.25

So if you have 11 GPM, and 1500 sq ft:

Inches per Hour = 11 / 1500 x 96.25 = 0.706"/h

Oh, yeh, I’ve seen this formula before, but I don’t understand it. If I water a tree with a canopy of, say, 3’ radius, the area is 28 sq. ft. Is this the area I use? But with a spot emitter I’m not covering that much by a very long shot. If this is supposed to be the area actually receiving water, then with maybe a 2" radius of a micro bubbler the area is only 12.5 sq. in. Is that what I use? If so, wouldn’t the efficiency going to be an abysmal 0.3% (12.5 sq.ft. / 28 sq.ft = 0.003)? If I’m using one of those flag emitters, the area is even smaller (~1/8" radius). I feel like I’m missing something obvious here :slight_smile:

The above formula, like many calculations you’ll see here, apply only to lawns or large areas of the same crop. When using emitters, you’re better off determining the actual water needs of the tree, and using the output of the emitter, calculating how long to water.

Sure. But as I mentioned in the other thread, I still need to be able to convert to Inches per Hour because that the only input affecting watering time that Rachio can take. I suppose that or trial and error. But I am an engineer too, so my preference is for a more precise method :smiley: But if trial and error is the only way, I can put a tinkerer’s hat on :slight_smile:

Back in 2016, I used a combination of reading the meter before/after running a zone and to figure out how much water I should be putting down. We had a long thread on this, and there’s another recommendation a couple of replies down from my original post on this thread.

Here’s another method: GPH nozzle to in/hr conversion for single point drip emitters

And this might be the best resource for you:Drip Emitter Calculator for Precipitation Rate & Area

I’m not an expert with emitters, and there’s a spreadsheet here that can help with that. But in my experience, with emitters, you usually know how much water a plant or plants need. So you can calculate from that, backwards, to what the Nozzle Inches per Hour needs to be. There are two ways. I’ll make a simplified example:

You have 5 5-gallon plants and 5 3-gallon plants, and I’ve heard that such plants require 1 gallon of water per week per plant size in gallons, and that this gives about 1" of water per week.

Method 1: You know how many and what size emitters you have. Say you have twenty 1 GPH emitters, that’s a total of 20 GPH. Further, from above, 1" of water per week is 5x5+5x3= 40 gallons. So you need to water for 40/20 = 2 hours per week. Working backwards, 1" of water in 2 hours gives a Nozzle Inches per Hour of 1/2 = 0.5 "/hr.

Method 2: If you have a bunch of emitters and are not sure how many or what size they are, you can measure the GPM of the zone using your water meter. Water for say 10 minutes, taking gallon readings before and after, to calculate GPM and GPH. If you’re watering the entire area where you shrubs are located, then you can use that area and calculate in/h in the normal method. If not, again, you need to know the water requirements for the plants, and calculate as above.

The main thing is: For Lawns, you’re calculating in/h based on flow of water divided by area (or from tables of typical values). With shrubs, where you’re often not watering the entire area, you have to calculate an equivalent in/h, based on the crop’s water needs and how much water your system supplies. The result doesn’t mean much, but it’s at least one method of determining this important Nozzle Inches per Hour setting in Rachio.

Hope this helps.