Insanely jacked auto (flex) schedule


first time rachio (new) user, but not a total luddite… evolving from an old-school orbit timer where each station (6) ran between 30 and 60mins each — mostly via drip (1/2 and 1gal heads) and a section via rotator sprinkler. everything was fine.

the auto schedule for rachio (flex-daily) was set up and the schedule is whack — 2.5 hours for some drip areas and 45m for others (and 4min for the rotator). all soil is clay-loam with little/no slope and all areas are a mix of shrubs and perennials… with the rotator being lawn. i caught it before my lawn died from thirst. even set to finish before sunrise, it was watering my lawn at 5PM.

now i’m back to manually timing it, but i’m really no better off than with the older orbit. using some sort of weather-specific intel would be nice. emails to support yielded the equivalent to “turn it on/off”. happy to give any details, but any wisdom on why it’s so random?

[edit: should i shift this to the flex-forum?]


What do you mean by ‘auto schedule’ ? Assuming that you mean Flex Daily, take a look here for my recommendations on how to get going. Flex Daily is awesome, but you need to invest some time in figuring out a bunch of the settings. I spent that time setting mine up years ago and barely touch it now, but the watering varies throughout the year as our crazy summer heat comes in and then leaves.


thanks for the reply: yes (flex daily – and edited for clarity above). thanks for the link — i’ll check it out shortly and invest some time (less time, thanks to folks like yourself who stepped FWD first). i’m still trying to sort out the best buttons to push, of course, but… undoubtedly when i figure it all out, it will be swell. it’s odd that the water hungry grass gets, like 10mins, while the drought tolerant shrubs are getting 2.5 hours … and still left wondering if it’s actually delivering water that whole time. that and the “turn it off and back on” advice from support left me hanging.



My advice to everyone is if you are trying out flex daily its usually best to start with one zone, get it dialed in (some trial and error), then if you think it works well for you, apply to the rest.



You do understand that sprinklers and drip put down completely different precipitation rates, right? You said you have a mix 1/2 and 1 gallon emitters. Just one per plant or more? What sprinklers do you have? Do you know the actual precipitation rate of them?

Think about it this way, you put down 1 gallon of water per hour with your emitter…a small established shrub should have between 4-6 gallons per water per watering…how do the Rachio times sound now?

My drip runs for over 3 hours, trees closer to 4…FYI.


“You do understand that sprinklers and drip put down completely different precipitation rates, right?” … yep… but my sprinklers are fairly “low flow” (will have to look at specifics, but the MP-Rotator line). the more water hungry plants in the vicinity have the 1GA and really only the water-averse have the 1/2GA (drought-tolerant natives)

“My drip runs for over 3 hours, trees closer to 4…FYI.” … this is good context, thanks. with the traditional timer-box, things thrived on a bit less for me – probably more like 1-1.5 hours max (some of the trees do have multiple emitters and a “deep root spike” with a 2GA emitter).

… but 10mins for the lawn (4mins at one point) – watering at 5PM seemed silly. the advice above to essentially “tread lightly” was good. that will likely be my next move — keep on something close to the old timer setting at first and slowly migrate to the flex as i can learn more about the nuances… i guess i really wasn’t expecting to need to deep-dive into that (as in: the box being smart vs. me)… :wink:


I have some very established, gargantuan shrubs. I’m at 7.5 hours with 1 GPH head per shrub. Note that that equates to a shrub that has about a 3’ diameter canopy. A number of mine are larger than that, and some are smaller. I just watered today (5/9), and prior to that the shrubs were watered on 5/4. Temps have been around 100-105F here in that time frame.




Another option to explore is flex monthly. Its is predictable and adjusts schedules at the beginning of each month. You can even scroll on the calendar to view what your frequency will be from month-to-month. We built that for folks that didn’t want to spend a lot of time adjusting in the beginning.

My goal is to have a schedule that combines flex monthly and daily but actually learns :wink:



Definitely a good idea.

You don’t have to of course. As you know, you can set it like your old timer but not have to turn A/B/C dials and 1/2/3 knobs. But, to get the most out of it you do have to spend some quality time dialing things in. Unlike other ‘smart’ systems, there are a whole bunch of variables (soil type, plant type, root depth, emitters, nozzles, etc.), and no real feedback other than you watching your vegetation. Compare that to something like Nest where you set a desired temperature and have a thermostat feed back the actual temperature in the room, and you can see the difference.


a “learning” smart device? now //that’s// a great idea… oh, wait… (looks at nest thermostat). :wink: (yes… that would indeed be useful/ideal).


I’d kill to have the problems that nest has to tackle versus irrigation smart scheduling. :smile:



yeah… that was a bit of a surprise. funny thing, we had this in the box for about a year and just installed it last week after the gen-3 announcement. :confused: … hopefully in digging through the forums, i’ll pick up some wisdom. i’m already a more “knowledgable” rachio user than i was an hour or so ago, so thanks to all above.


Drought tolerant is fine, but it doesn’t mean they don’t need water. Drought tolerant usually means they can go longer between waterings, but not live on small amounts. Small shrubs still should have 4 gallons of water or so, and trees should have close to 20 or more gallons per watering depending on size…So my zones run 3-4 hours each, but right now, there is 10 days between waterings. In the winter it’s more like 14 days. I too used to run my drip 2-3 times a week for 1.5 hours at the longest. I have learned my ways…:wink:

What do you have your sprinkler zones set at? Did you use the built in “rotor” setting? If so, those water A LOT more than MP Rotators, but 5 minutes still doesn’t sound right.

I have the MP Rotators as well. You will need to set a custom precipitation rate I. The advanced settings of each grass zones. In perfect world, the MP’s should put down .45"/hr. I did a catch cup test, and in my setup, they are closer to .60"/hr.


dunno… ask me after i link my 7 nest cams and thermostat to my new nest-secure and sensibo-AC controllers after i swap the whole wifi network to an eero-mesh network… actually, ask alexa instead. :wink:


I have the MP Rotators as well. I ended up at 0.4 in/hr after a catch cup test.


i tried a few “colors” of the MPs and can’t recall which i settled on (mix of flow and distance), but will check and dial in accordingly.

overall, it seems like (historically) i might be watering less, but more frequently… probably not the best strategy long-term. i’m also keeping an eye on it and hitting it with a bump when they seem stressed which is something the unit i’m sure is aiming to eliminate… i’ll dig in and perhaps re-examine some of the drip layout as well.

(and thanks for the input… much better than the “turn it on/off” advice)


All the MP’s are pretty close to .45"/hr, but can vary depending on water pressure.


If you get stuck, post up where you live or the climate and then all the settings for a zone. The flex schedule is pretty cool. When you set it up correctly it will seem like to much watering is going to occur but it keeps track and only waters certain days skipping some in the schedule depending on saturation and climate. My flex is set for three days a week but zones skip for ten days lately. The deep watering has made the yard look better than ever. The trees especially are happier. No more 4" inch lawn type watering that a fixed schedule imposes.


+1 to what @Lars said. I thought my flex daily schedule was running too much last year. Flex daily feels like it is always watering, and one of my trouble spots was thriving, but I bit my tongue and let it do its thing.

I finally downloaded my usage data this weekend and my Rachio system ran 55% (estimated gallons)-66% (runtime) less than the fixed schedule I was using for the two years prior.



I love this. :wink: