Need help (AZ, Ocotillo area)

Embarcadero (Ocotillo between Dobson and Alma School)

I’m happy to give you guys both a hand in getting your system set up.


Let me know when you can come by. I’m in the echelon.

whenever anyone could come by to help would be greatly appreciated. :slight_smile:

I can probably swing by this weekend. Message me your phone number so I can get ahold of you…

Got a chance to swing by @ssayet place to help him with his setup. This post is some info for general knowledge, as well as for Steven to see what changes were made.

I started messing with the grass, because that was easy. Soil set up looked good and zone type were fine (rye grass overseed). I set the root depth to 6", which is what I found to probably be pretty close in my research, and works well for my grass…I was able to identify that he has Hunter 10A Red Pro Adjustable nozzles, so I adjusted his Nozzle Inches Per Hour to match the Hunter literature of 1.93". If Steven really wants to get geeky, I’ll bring my catch cups next time, but this will dial it in much more than the default spray head setting. Similar to my findings when I blocked out certain days for watering, (not watering Thursdays and Fridays, landscaper comes), it looks like there may be a couple back to back runs some weeks to keep the moisture level up thru those blocked days.

Now, the drip is where things get a little more tricky. Steven has 1 drip zone for the front and back of his yard, which contains both shrubs and trees. To further complicate things for the short term, the front yard is relatively established (October 2017), but the backyard is less than one month old. Currently, the shrubs each have one 2gph emitter feeding them, while the trees each have two 2gph emitters. I adjusted some settings in the zone, but I’m looking for input on what to set the zone type to (I currently set to Trees), and what to set the root depth to (mixture of plant types and fairly new plants, so I have it set to 15"). Once the changes were made, Rachio is looking to put down 1.13" of water. So after plugging this info into the amazing @azdavidr Drip Emitter Calculator for Precipitation Rate & Area, I hit a bit of a wall.

“Water Use it Wisely” Table for reference:

There is a big disparity between the required PR’s for trees and shrubs given the current size of everything. Currently I have the “Nozzle Inches Per Hour” of this zone set in the middle of the two at .45". So tomorrow, the drip will be set to run for 2h 31m.

Now, if Steven were to change the emitters on the trees out to 4gph (remember, each tree has 2 emitters, so totally 8gph), something REALLY interesting happens…:wink:

Anyone have any input? @Modawg2k @sunny @Sprinklerman


My 2 cents is shrubs. The watering intervals for trees would be too long and shrubs might die off. Having said that, since you changed the root depth I think that overrides the generic shrub/tree setting. Turning to the root depth, 15" will create longer intervals than say 6". If those shrubs in the front are really new the interval might be too long at 15" ? Of course 15" is pretty shallow for the trees, so a supplemental schedule per #2 below might be in order.

I’d recommend:

  1. Get someone out and fix the root of the problem, which is that everything is on the same drip.
  2. Set a main schedule that is frequent and shallow enough for the shrubs. Set a separate ‘fixed’ schedule for deeper tree waterings. There will be wasted water that the shrubs can’t absorb, but at least things won’t die.
  3. If you go for #2, make sure the owner goes in and increases his root depth every couple of weeks as they mature.

I hate hearing that landscape installers do this. They’re clearly taking a shortcut at the sake of an unknowing customer.


A suplimental fixed schedule is still going to be registered by the flex schedule and thus pushing the flex schedule out…right?

I am concerned with overwatering the shrubs while trying to deeply water the trees. That’s why I thought at least upping the emitters on the trees to 4gph would bring the needed PR into check.

And @azdavidr, the “owner” is the OP of the thread.

Ugh, good point. You’re right that changing out the emitters to 4 GPH, but there might be some runoff with that kind of drip rate. There’s also still the trade-off of picking the right root depth to start off with such that the front shrubs are OK. If it were me I’d ditch Flex on the existing setup until the irrigation hardware was properly addressed. I’d set a shorter interval shrub schedule and a longer, deeper tree schedule. Maybe I’m missing something but I don’t think the over-watering of the shrubs would be too harmful as the extra would just runoff. The tree line wouldn’t run as often.

For the irrigation hardware it should be pretty easy to at least put the front yard on a different valve from the back since the maturity is so different. Everything goes to the same valve box now, so putting in a new valve and connecting the front line to it shouldn’t be too bad. Of course the right thing is to separate trees and shrubs.

Thanks for the nice comment about the calculator & thread. I’m glad it’s helpful!

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I changed the zone to shrubs, and reset the defaults, and shrubs default to 15. I lowered that down to 8", and reran the calculations. I am setting the PR in the middle of the two at .20" (@ssayet shared his controller so I can adjust things)

This isn’t changing much in the duration (now at 2h 24m) and is bumping the frequency for the next week to every 3-4 days. After that we have a few days of foretasted rain, so it doesn’t have much scheduled…

I don’t think breaking the front off is necessary. For one, maturity wise, we are only talking a few months. Two, IIRC (@ssayet can confirm), there are only two trees in the front yard, and they are in the grass with no visible emitters, so I assume they will just be getting water via the sprinklers.

Adding a second drip zone in the back dedicated for the trees wouldn’t be the hardest thing to do since it could (and probably is) run around the perimeter along the fence, but the landscaping is only a month old so I’m not sure @ssayet is up for that…

Keep an eye on it @ssayet, especially as temps heat up. I know some people have been burned before (no pun intended) when the temps suddenly rose and their Flex settings hadn’t been tested through a summer yet. If things look OK for the next couple of weeks think about bumping up the root depth. Keep doing so until the front matures. I’m hoping you get someone to get your irrigation hardware setup better as otherwise I think it’s going to be tough!

Nice of you to make a house call @tmcgahey. @franz should make a special badge for that!

You all are amazing and a special thanks to @tmcgahey for the house call :slight_smile: I do not want to really run more lines if I do not have to but am open to getting it quoted out. Do you have recommendations for someone to do this type of work?

Given that your yard was just completed I’d call back whomever was responsible for your installation and demand they come out and do it for free, especially if it was a builder. There is really no excuse for running trees and shrubs on the same line!


It was not the builder who did the backyard. I will reach out to the company who completed it.

@tmcgahey so very helpful of you!

Not sure where to start on this backyard–the plants have very dissimilar water requirements so this combination will be nearly impossible to set a schedule for.

I can’t tell from the photos what the shrubs are, but sago palms don’t like to have roots wet. Queen palms don’t have very deep roots–they tend to spread rather than grow deeply like trees and usually are less than 4 feet deep. Once temps reach 100s, they need to be watered as often as 4 or 5 times / week. Having these plants on the same drip is not going to work.

The trees in the front in the grass will probably be OK with the water from the grass, but it’s not the best situation.

Too many times I have seen a saguaro planted in the middle of a lawn!:roll_eyes: When summer rolls around some these plants will not make it to fall.

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If they argue point them to this.


Or this, which clearly shows different scheduling needs:


It really is unacceptable, and they were just saving the cost of tubing and valves to gain profit. I don’t know how aggressive you care to be, but you could also let them know that you’re willing to go on Yelp and other online sites to give your review/warning of their work.


So what I am reading is I should have two different zones in my backyard (shrubs/bushes and then the trees). The biggest problem is the backyard is on one zone which is really the front and back “drip system” the control box and valve box is in the front side yard and the irrigation to the back is ran under pavers :frowning: . Seems like this might turn into a mess

At minimum trees & shrubs should be separated. Having trees/front, trees/back, shrubs/front, shrubs/back gives you further flexibility. The minimum work for them is to add another line to the back to separate the trees & shrubs, and another line to the front to separate the trees and shrubs there. Then they have to add either one more valve (all trees together, all shrubs together) or three (trees and shrubs separate, and front and back separate).

With regards to the pavers, they should have put a sleeve under there to route any existing tubes. Those same sleeves could be used to add a new tube. I sure hope they didn’t cut that corner and not sleeve under the pavers.


Sorry @ssayet. This is such a sloppy installation.

In the heat of our summer, many of these plants will die. Obviously the installers have little knowledge of the difficult growing conditions here. I often wonder why nurseries sell plants that have a difficult time growing here. Landscapes here can be green and lush with the right plant selection.

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