Maximizing Efficiency

Hello all,

So now that I have this wonderful controller I am now on a quest to maximize its efficiency. Here is some background information:

Location - Colorado (80640)
Zones - 5 Total (1 front yard, 3 back yard, 1 shrubs/trees/gardens)
Soil - 2-3" Loam - clay underneath?

Zone settings
Front Yard Cool season grass, clay loam, mostly shade, rotor head, slope slight
Back Yard Cool season grass, clay loam, lots of sun. fixed spray head, slope flat
Trees/shrubs/garden Perennial, clay loam, lots of sun, drip line (1.0 cu in hr) slope flat

Zone schedule
Every 3 days, 5am (-1% seasonal adjustment currently)
Front yard 15min / back rear 19 / back front 18min / back side 15min / shrubs 30min
Smart cycle, weather budgeting, weather intelligence - ON
Rain delay 14"

So for starters, do I have the correct soil type selected? As far as I can tell the first couple of inches is loam and beneath seems to be clay.

The grass as far as I can tell (and so I was told) is a “Contractors blend” - which appears to mostly be bluegrass and perennial ryegrass?

The root system is really good. I just planted a tree and pulled up some grass and the roots looked to be 6-8" long.

I don’t want to over water and don’t want to under water, I want to find the perfect balance. I did recently purchase the Toro soil sensor which I plan to hook up this weekend. I assume if the soil is moist it will delay the whole schedule by a day per day until it allows watering? or does it skip the day and wait another 3 days to water again?

Any tips or adjustments appreciated, I’m sure I will post more questions here as I tweak the system.


Hi @djkms, good evening. Thanks for reaching out. Great questions, I’ll do my best to answer them below:

I’d recommend either Clay Loam or Clay pending if you’re seeing any runoff. It’s great that your had soil amendments added to the top 2-3", but if you’re roots are going down 6-8", we should be watering for the lower infiltration rates of the two.

“Contractor’s blend” is a pretty loose term – if you know the brand of seed that was installed, that helps – but in general Colorado has cool season grasses.

That’s awesome! Sounds like you’ve been managing your watering times well with your old controller. Deeper the better.

The Toro soil sensor acts the same as a rain sensor and will only interrupt the common anytime it senses a certain level of resistance in the soil (i.e. moisture content). Pending if you’re on a fixed or flex schedule (coming in v2.0), the watering time will be delayed until the next scheduled watering time (fixed) or until you’re hit your allowed depletion (flex).

I hope this helps. Please keep us posted on your tweaks.

Best, Emil

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Thanks for the reply. I wish I could take full credit for the lawn but I bought my house in November, the previous owner did a fantastic job with the landscaping, which I hope to improve on :smile:

So, with the soil sensor, it sounds like I should change the water schedule to daily and let the sensor push the schedule back as needed?

Are you familiar with the soil sensor? I did read one reviewer state he was in Colorado and suggested putting the threshold to 65% (instead of the default 50%). The reasoning behind it is because Colorado soil is clay and at 50% he couldn’t get the sensor back up to 100%. Any thoughts on this?

Also, with the sensor its recommended to water your lawn before placing the sensor so it starts out reading from 100% and calibrates this way. Should I just run a regular schedule before placing or should I over water - maybe double? I’m thinking to over water since I am not a 100% positive that a regular schedule will get the ground to 100% watered. Any issues with my train of thought?

Hi Emil,

I am new to the posting system, so please forgive me if I should make this question in a new post. I am presently using my Iro on a flex schedule in conjunction with a Toro Precision Soil Sensor. I just installed and calibrated the soil sensor this week. Based on the behavior of the flex schedule, watering different zones based on sun exposure, type of plants, etc; there seems to be a logic problem when using the flex schedule in conjunction with a soil sensor. The soil sensor is supposed to be placed in the sunniest part of the yard and mine is set to allow watering when 50% depletion is noted in the soil. The issue I see here is that once the soil sensor is in the permissive state and allows watering, it will allow the iro to run a flex watering. The flex schedule waters the sunny grass areas more frequently, exactly where my soil sensor is placed. So, once the zone where my soil sensor is placed gets watered, the soil sensor notes the soil water content going up and, after a 4 hour delay will go into a non-permissive state, that keeping the Iro from watering. The problem I see here is that the other zones that were not watered might need it in a few days, but they will be prevented from watering until the sensor goes back into the permissive state. Please let me know if my logic is correct here. If so, what would you recommend as a solution?