Lawn Keeps Drying Out


I have had Rachio for a couple seasons now and my lawn always seems to dry out, can someone help me figure out the settings? I just raised the Available Water setting to .2 in hopes that will help?

I am located in New Jersey - here are settings for one of my zones:


Have you done a catch cup test to make sure your nozzles are really putting out 2 inches per hour? There’s a chance they are not actually putting that much out, but Rachio will think it’s been getting enough water.

Hey, thank you for your quick reply!

I have not - how would I go about doing that? Where does the cup get placed and what size cup should it be?

Thanks again

Here’s an article on it.

You can use cans like tuna cans, but I just went ahead and bought some Orbit catch cups on Amazon. More expensive but they will get the job done right.

Hey @Linn - thank you for that great information! I bought Orbit Catch Cups and just finished running my test, most of my zones came out to only 0.36 in/hr!

I calculated it using this website:

Now that I adjusted it though, I see something else that seems off - my schedule for tomorrow is now showing around 2 hours of water time for each zones, that’s excessive…

Does this seem right to you? Here are the settings for one of my zones.

Thanks for all the help!

Actually, I just reset each zone to default since I had been messing with the settings, then I readjusted the inches per hour.

Available water was reduced to 0.17 from 0.20. This dropped the amount of water time to 1 hour 45 minutes per zone, but that still seems like a lot?

It is currently showing a 71% Soil Moisture.

If the 0.35 in/hr seems low to you, you may want to double check the catch cup procedure. But if you’re certain of the result, then yes, at 0.35 in/hr the 1 hour and 45 minute watering times would be reasonable. At 0.35 in/hr, it is no wonder that your lawns dried out with the previous 2 in/hr setting.

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@Kubisuro I believe I did it all correct, and also got the same amount in most of my zones.

I put the Orbit Catch Cups all over the zone area.
Ran the zone for 20 minutes.
I kept track of ML in each cup, so used this site to calculate the total

One example zone had these amounts (in mL)


When I use that website and enter 16.25 throat area, 20 minutes, and all those mL amounts, it says 0.35 inches per hour.

I am assuming the website is calculating correctly?

It just seems strange, my lawn does look very wet after running for only 20 minutes, but I don’t know enough about watering lawns to understand how much water they really need.

Yes, that seems correct. I got 0.3in/hr using these instructions (same formula you’re using after looking at its javascript sourcecode) but close enough. I think you’ll need to try out this irrigation schedule for a few weeks and see. Don’t think about how wet the grass looks, look for runoff over the next few weeks from the grass instead (taking into account any overspray that hits non-grass areas). If there’s regular runoff because the soil just can’t consistently take that much water , let us know. There’s a few strategies to reduce that including cycle and soak, reducing the AWC, etc.

Great, I will keep an eye on it and update you. Thank you all for your help!