Multiple As Needed Schedules Scheduled

I have recently set up As Needed schedules. I first set up a schedule that included all of my zones. When I checked the schedule, it looked as though all of the zones would run in that schedule when a watering was needed. I didn’t want that as I have a few areas with a lot more shade that others, so I created multiple As Needed schedules that combined zones that were similar. I have a total of five zones and a total of four As Needed schedules. I looked at some future waterings and noticed that some days, multiple schedules will run, which is fine, but instead of combining those schedules, each schedule runs independently. This isn’t necessarily a problem, more of an inconvenience. When I had flex scheduling enabled, it would combine zones into one watering. It went from watering 2 hours to almost 4 hours. I like to get schedules done early so that I do not have to walk through sprinklers and to minimize exposure to the wind. Is there any way to do this on the new As Needed schedules?


Thank you for asking this question and is closely relates to my setup as well. I have 6 rather different zones, and thus, created 6 different As-Needed schedules. Due to our clay soil, each schedule uses multiple 30-minute soak cycles. If all 6 schedules run on the same day (serially as they all have the same starting time), it takes almost 12 hours to complete. With flex schedules, I liked how I could get a single 6-zone schedule to start around midnight and finish around 6 AM. Like you, the As-Needed schedules will take about twice as long to complete for me.

I realize that merging multiple As-Needed schedules together is probably a programming nightmare from hell, so I’m not sure what the solution may be. For now, I have the 6 As-Needed schedules all starting at 9 PM instead of midnight, so at worst, they’ll finish around 9 AM the next morning.


Not threading in other portions of the schedule is brutal for my total time.

I have recreated my schedules a few times. On one hand it bothers me that all zones get water when 1 zone reaches mad, but breaking them out to a schedule per zone means I don’t finish for quite some time.

I’m very conflicted right now.

I can’t start my watering at 9pm, that is way tooooo long for moisture to sit on my turf, I’ll get blight mid summer for sure.

Damn, I hadn’t thought about that. Blight might end up being an issue for me here in north Alabama too. I may just change the standard starting time of the 6 WAN schedules to midnight and keep an eye on the calendar. For nights when too many of the schedules are projected to run (and thus still be running at sun-up), I’ll tweak the starting times to be a bit earlier. I was hoping to not have to babysit the system like this.

It could, Pythium blight would seem reasonable. If you are keeping it long it is harder to take hold.

I have just sucked it up and put all my turfs into a single schedule, it’s less than flex but better than 5 schedules running linearly to create an fungi orgy.

This has come up before. The fact that multiple schedules cannot currently be interleaved looks like it might be even worse on Water As Needed, since you’re now recommending creating multiple schedules - one for each set of like zones.

I know you’ve said that interleaved schedules is “not easy” (Long Run Times following best practice), but I think you’ve got to figure it out to avoid this non-intuitive result. I also know that, in general, the scheduling problem is (NP) hard ( etc.), but it seems like a heuristic based on filling dead times as available and maybe letting soak times push out a bit would let scheduled interleave to some degree. Rather than queuing up entire schedules, you might queue up each watering duration (split by cycle soaks), not queuing up a new cycle soak duration until 1/2 hour after the previous one ran, etc. In the worst case, the combined schedules would run as long as they currently do, but that would be the odd case. Most of the time, I bet it would finish significantly sooner. Some people might be confused when their individual schedules don’t start at the scheduled time, but that already happens with your current queue anyway.

This kind of thing is what a smart system should do. It is going to seem dumb to more people that just us in the forums: “Hey, why aren’t any of the sprinklers running right now? It has several more zones to water and it’s just waiting to let one soak? How does this ‘smart’ system not know that no water is running now and use that time to water something else?”

If nothing else, you guys should sponsor a university research group to investigate this type of scheduling problem. It would make a nice research paper (I couldn’t find a scheduling problem online that was quite like this). They might come up with an elegant solution - or at least bound the problem mathematically so you know the limits and potential downsides.

Okay, rant over. I think you guys have an awesome product and trying to match everyone’s needs and keeping it simple is a crazy difficult problem. I appreciate your level of involvement in the community here, too. I’ve never seen a company this responsive and willing to incorporate user feedback. You guys are rock stars!


but part of me feels that this problem could be made polynomial by removing a few variables and ordering runtimes from shortest to longest, then just inject delays for the longer zone soak times. i know im over simplifying it, but that is the only way to tackle np problems right now, just accept some tolerable inefficiencies by reducing the problem.

then when rachio buys a quatum computer, they can fully solve the problem.

@cdirk07, @kevmcgrath, @plainsane, @briansusername – great conversion and ideas here. Can we move them to our new As Needed thread? I’d love to have your feedback shared with others :slight_smile:


Move it wherever you need to. I decided to go back to Flex for now. I do like the convenience of knowing that my schedule will run when the lawn theoretically needs it according to the moisture levels. I do want to give the new schedules a try, but I’m going to let the kinks get worked out before I try them. I feel bad for the Rachio guys. They worked really hard to make a new type of schedule that would work for everyone, but it looks as though they are getting bombarded with questions. I would like to add this as a feature request in upcoming releases. Thanks for the hard work Rachio, I still love the product!

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No worries, @cdirk07, we understand. Please keep an eye on the new thread and add feedback/ideas once you have a chance to test drive As Needed schedules. Thanks for your support :slight_smile: