Negative Impact of Manually Watering on a Flex Scheduled Zone


holy shnickeys i want a flow valve incorporated into this iro. totally could have kept the authorities out of this situation.

Unfortunate. If I’d known I could have just turned off the leaker zone rather than have the whole system shut down. On the bright side, I am blessed with good neighbors.

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fully on board, but with a flow valve, it could have alerted you to the broken zone the day it broke. they record the flow rate for each zone, if the flow rate is outside the margin of error, the flow valve can shut down not allowing any water to flow and alert an email address of the error. and yes, you have great neighbors, the ONLY point i was trying to make is that there is technology for this failure scenario which would have allowed you to disable/fix the zone before going out of town. i for one welcome our robotic overlords…one day, one day…


@dowjames (and others) – just to close the loop on this:

First off, here’s a great video on soil types and why it’s important understand what type of soil your lawn has. At the end of the video is a link to a tool you can use to find out what type of soil is native to your area.

What’s the difference between field capacity and saturation?

If all soil pores are filled with water, the soil is said to be saturated. Plants need air and water in the soil. At saturation, no air is present and the plant will suffer. Many crops cannot withstand saturated soil conditions for a period of more than 2-5 days. The period of saturation of the topsoil usually does not last long. After the rain or the irrigation has stopped, part of the water present in the larger pores will move downward. This process is called drainage or percolation.

As water drains from the pores, it is replaced by air. In coarse textured (sandy) soils, drainage is completed within a period of a few hours. In fine textured (clayey) soils, drainage may take some (2-3) days.

It is easy to determine if a soil is saturated by taking a handful of saturated soil is squeezed, some (muddy) water will run between the fingers.

Hope this helps :smile:

Best, Emil

@briansusername, you might benefit from doing a catch cup test to measure how much water is being applied to your zones. Here’s a great white paper written on the best practices of how to conduct a catch cup test by the Center for Irrigation Technology.

Just curious, is this occurring multiple times a day? I wouldn’t think that a quick manual run once a week will throw off your Flex schedule much, but happy to review your account for you if you’d like. Just email our support team [] and reference this post.

I have a few ideas on ways to fix this for short durations, but it will take some testing before we can make any major system changes. Pending the test results, I’ll post an update here in a few weeks.

I should do catch cup tests, but I don’t see how that fits in here…
Another way to say this is if I have a single piece of lawn with two zones, those zones should be tied together to run on the same day, otherwise the border between the zones does not get as deep a watering as the rest of each zone. If each zone ran on a different day, that border area would get two half-deep waterings rather than the full deep watering the rest of each zone (with internal overlaps) got. Right?

You’re right. This only happens once a week or so, so it would probably take a while to get off.

A more realistic example is this:
I was working on a couple of sprinkler heads in Zone 1 and needed up manually running that zone for 6-8 minutes and not Zone 2 on the same lawn. Later that week, Zone 2 reached depletion and watered, but Zone 1 did not (since it was a little ahead). They weren’t too far off, so sometimes they’d probably run together and other times not (depending on their moisture graphs). I chose to get them back in sync by running Zone 2 manually until their moisture graphs were back at the same value. Awkward, but it worked :slight_smile:

So, it seem like it would be nice to link some zones that have overlapping sections so they run on the same day. I realize that makes the per-zone moisture calculation weird and I don’t know the right way to deal with that. Hey, just come up with questions, I let others find the solutions! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for your time. You guys rock!

@franz How does that happen exactly? I know a zone will not start watering if above water balance capacity, but what if that capacity is reached in the middle of a watering cycle? Will the zone prematurely stop once capacity is reached?

Sorry, saturation can actually go up to 50% based on soil type. It won’t stop running. Once depleted, will be schedule for run, and then won’t run again till balance goes back to zero.


Again I think you need to think about why someone would run a zone for more than a few minutes, Is it because the area is dry but the system is saying it is wet? Manual watering is the only other quick easy way to make correction to actual ground conditions vs system conditions other than the Empty/fill tool. If you allow the manual watering to impact the flex schedule you negate the infield corrections. To the argument of watering in fertilizer; Water as needed to water in the fertilizer, then make the correction if necessary with the empty/fill tool. I guarantee there are many more times quick easy corrections will need to be made throughout the season that should not affect flex than corrections do to a specific instance that should affect flex. This is an easy decision for me, Manual water Should NOT affect the Flex Schedule.

What about top dressing? I know I had to cycle soak my yard like hell before I top dressed given the mount of nitrogen that went down. Those were unautomated waterings that significantly impacted my soil moisture levels. I mean maybe you right, maybe we are both right, manual watering beyond a certain interval gets counted and the others dropped on the floor. It would be interesting to look at my manual events and evaptrAns and see if there is a reasonable pattern hiding in that data. I still think there is an opportunity to estimate the amount of manual water for the day and the evap loss and through out remainder under .01 inch.

@emil do you mean taking away the manual button? If that is the case I will become a sad panda, maybe a rabbid dog. If you need more convincing, I hope you become one obtuse sob.

@ETIrrigation, all valid points. We had users argue both sides, which is why I think some users recommended a slider to have more control over the moisture balance in these situations. In full transparency, no changes are planned for this functionality in the short term.

Nevertheless, great conversation. Keep the ideas and feedback flowing :smile:

This is exactly to my point, how many times did you top dress this season? Once maybe twice, how many times did one zone or multiple zones need a little adjustment (two ways to do this, manually in the field or through the empty/fill tool on the controller)? Unless your weather data, including rainfall, was 100% correct my guess is many more than once or twice. (In the mid west rainfall is usually the culprit, unless rainfall data is coming from a rain gage on the site)

Unfortunately weather dips into your account as well and is quite often not 100% truthful with how much it borrowed!

Just providing you with some other reasons to your statement.

No kidding, I have never needed the adjust button, not once after beta but I have not had a head fail on me since I hooked up this hotness. And I don’t care if Emil validates that for you. for me, the system has truly been fire and forget. Maybe if I was super proactive I would have needed the adjust button to artificially push moisture levels up as there is effectively no transpiration after the scalp, only evap, but that is such a small percentage of what is loss so I didn’t care. But rain data has reported less than what I really received, so maybe I’ll have your problem when I install my own weather station next spring.

Maybe because I’m in the southeast, it never rains, it pours, so my soil reaches saturation at least 2 times a month, but even August didn’t present any problems for me or maybe your percip rate is configured too high, maybe your soil type is wrong or something else is wrong, or maybe the weather data for your area is really that bad, or maybe you are right, but the problem is not universal is what I’m really suggesting.

So I could see not counting the manual run, but maybe that needs to be configurable.

That works! ON or OFF

Absolutely can be. Extremes in Colorado can really create issues.

@plainsane, interesting idea. If I’m following this right, you’re referring to comparing the evap loss in real time to the manual run application?

Nope, no plans to remove any manual buttons :smile:

@ETIrrigation, that’s a fair argument I hadn’t considered when making that statement. Perhaps some sort of reconciliation tool could fix this?

That’s awesome to hear!

Interesting questions to consider – could any of the default settings we use be throwing off your zone data @ETIrrigation? Or do you think the issue is rooted in bad weather data that requires extra watering to correct?

Do you see this as a global setting to the account? i.e. all or nothing for manual runs?

Just taking the percip for manual runs, computer what the transevap lost of that water is for the day,many if the remainder is <= .01 inch, discard the entire percip. I think to start just assume the water sat on the yard the whole day, or whatever would compute the most loss.

@plainsane, I’ll run some numbers on this over the winter once things slow down. In short, this is very similar to effective rain calculations. Here’s a few resources for your reading pleasures:

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