New Sod - Need Help Optimizing Schedule

Hi Team/Community - I’m new to the Rachio and I could use some help in understanding the best watering schedule for my brand new sod that was laid on the 15th. (Celebration Bermuda in Austin Texas)

My sod installer suggested - 30 Minutes per day, every day for 3 weeks until the sod takes.

I noticed that within the zone settings there were all of these different settings for available water? root depth? allowed depletion? efficiency? and i’m not 100% sure what to have all of these settings on. The folks who installed my sprinkler didn’t really set up each specific setting when it was installed because i didn’t really have any grass (old stuff died because I wasn’t diligent about watering it)

Can you help me optimize these specific things to ensure my lawn grows strong?

Thank you!!


For now I would not worry about those settings.

Set up a fixed schedule to get the roots established.

Celebration huh? I want so,e pictures in June. I hear that Bermuda has a very slow rate of growth.


If you select warm season grass an your irrigation was installed by competent ppl those defaults should be good to go. If you want to understand what those mean, check back in, but if you just want to know what you should set them to, let them alone.


Yeah it was set to that so we’re good there. I’m excited about it too! Supposed to get a nice blue/green when it’s established and recommended for my area. Very drought tolerant.

I have a fixed schedule set at least for the next 3 weeks.

I would be interested in understanding what those settings are, at least for the future. Thank you for your help!

@Kisree, a Fixed schedule is perfect for your new sod. The advanced settings don’t need to be edited by most users unless they are using Flex schedules, which will be combined with Fixed schedules in our 2.5 app release. We’ll try to simplify the advanced settings in the future to be be easier to understand.

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Don’t forget about the pictures. I dean it with this post.

I hope if they do an iPad app that it supports split screen because typing this type of reply becomes easier but here goes. In short. Ppl will correct where I have gone wrong as this is just my hobby not a profession.

Soil type; allows rachio to compute how long to water in a smart cycle before water starts running off.

Slope; is used in combination with soil type to determine max runtime in chunks before water runs off.

Root depth; how deep your roots grow. This allow rachio to compute how much water to apply (runtime)in a flex schedule to reach the bottom of the root without over watering. This is combine with soil type to break up watering in a smart cycle. So in short, if it takes 30 minutes to water to the root trough, soil type indicates how long they can water before taking a break for the applied water to soak into the soil deep enough to apply more.

Exposure: used by the flex schedule to estimate the amount of transevap that occurs based on the weather data they digest. They might also use it to determine how much water Evaps during a mid day run but I have seen no indication of that.

Nozzle: allows rachio to determine how much water is being applied per minute.n this is used to determine how long to run a zone to satisfy a deep watering to the trough of the root zone. This is also used in conjunction with area of a zone to estimate your water usage.

Efficiency: you research the difference formulas for determining this but describes how evenly your irrigation system distributes water. So in short, think of a bunch of rotors covering a square, there is a bunch of overlap, but not at the extremities of the square so these extremities do not receive as much water as the interior. Thus to reach full cover you have to over saturate the interior to reach the root depth of the exteriors. To what degree they use this information I’m not sure.

Allowed depletion is best understood by reading the flex document at but I’ll take a shot at a quickly here. This defines how much water you will allow the plant to transpire before applying more water. So think of a gas tank, this roughly defines how,much of the tank to use up before stopping at a gas station to refill. Does this mean that you should run to empty? No way, there are far too many variables that makes this a bad decision. For your turf you might be able to push that to 75-80, I don’t know. I have it at 50% for all my zones except my tiff 419 zones, I take those to 80 but that is in part due to Bermudas very low permanent wilt point.

And this brings me to my last option, available water. You will have to read up on this because it is a scientific attempt at explaining a critical threshold for plants. In short it helps rachio determine the permanent wilt point for the plants being watered. The permanent wilt point is the point at which a plant can not longer utilize the water as the bottom of the root zone. Many many things effect this like vascular system, p.h., exposure, metabolic rate, on and on. So I think rachio uses this to determine if a flex should run even if depletion is within range. Because if the plant does hit the pwp, it’s dead. This is at least the behavior I have observed on my annual bed zone.

I hope this helps.


Wow! Thank you for this! It’s really helpful and makes complete sense! I’ll def send pics when it’s established!

My installer talked about the celebration Bermuda and how it was supposed to “take over the market” because it’s genetically much stronger than traditional Bermudas (very drought tolerant, insect tolerant, etc) and the way it grows minimized weed exposure. Plus the colors meant to be a “bluey green” when established. Looking forward to when it’s all done!!

Thanks again!

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I bow to you :wink:


Yea I hear the color is good, I keep mine too short to use it though, going to install champion in a few years

Thank you I curtsie to you


@plainsane, great summary & explanation of advanced zone settings :smile:

Just a few notes to help clarify:

Soil type determines the Available Water (see below) and infiltration rate for each zone. The infiltration rate of the soil, nozzle application rate (precip rate), and slope are the inputs used for Smart Cycle. To learn more about Smart Cycle, please see this support article.

Exposure affects the microclimate of your zone. Shade settings will decrease your Landscape ET calculations.

Efficiency is also known as distribution uniformity. To calculate it, you’ll need to perform a catch cup test for each zone.

Available water is dependent on the soil type selected. To learn more about how it’s calculated and it’s importance in irrigation scheduling, here’s a good quick read on the subject; or for the water & lawn nerds, here’s a detailed article that gets into the science. Please note, changing this value can have a huge impact on your watering schedule. Only edit it if you’ve done your research.