Newbie - Schedule Types


#1

Hey everybody! I’m new to Rachio and trying to figure out the how the flex daily/monthly and fixed schedules work. First, I’ll give details for my yard and how I set up each zone.

I’m in Coppell, Tx with Sandy Loam soil per the Web Soil Survey website. My available water is .14 and I assumed 5" root depth for my St. Augustine Grass and 4" root depth for my shrub zones. I’m using the smart cycle, giving the app to water on any day, having the system finish before sunrise, pretty much everything the app recommended I should do.

Doing some research and from what the Rachio App tells me the best way to conserve water is to use the daily flex schedule but that isn’t the case by a significant amount. I put together a spreadsheet that breaks down how often each zone is run and takes a average daily usage of a 20 day span. I did this for flex daily, flex monthly and fixed (3 days a week). Here’s what I came up with.

Flex Daily:
Waters heavily over the first 14 days, usually different zones each day. There is a 5 day stretch where pretty much every zone is watered for 3 straight days. After the first 14 days it starts to water every other or every third day. Can’t say that is consistent as the schedule doesn’t go past 20 days. The total time over this 20 day span is 1177 minutes at an average daily use of 59 minutes. Zone watering times range from 12-25 min.

Flex Monthly:
Summer showed up a little early this year so it starts off as every third day then goes to every other day until September. The total time over this 20 day span is 918 minutes at an average daily use of 46 minutes. Zone watering times range from 9-20 min.

Fixed Schedule:
I set the fixed schedule to run Friday, Sunday & Tuesdays. Zone watering times range from 7-16 min. I would have assumed the flex monthly watering zone times would have been less each day than the fixed schedule as some weeks you get a 4th watering in for the week, but that is not the case. The total time over this 20 day span is 711 minutes at an average daily use of 35.5 minutes.

I guess all of this is just a bit confusing to me and I’m not sure if I’ve made some incorrect assumptions or did something wrong. Any input on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

Overall, I am extremely happy with the system and I just need to work out the kinks so it can run as efficient as possible.

Thanks,
Niko



#2

There is a lots of variables that influence the schedules. Its not a fixed thing like when you use Fixed Schedule. For example Flex Daily it will adjust the schedule every day I think two time a day before the schedule run, so depends of the variables (Temperature, Forecast, Precipitation, etc…) it will adjust.

I think the best that you can do is use Flex Daily and fine tune the zones manually so you can get the most saving keeping the lawn green :slight_smile:


#3

I’ve been playing around with all the setting and seeing how it affects the flex daily schedule. I guess I’m still confused on why it’s watering like crazy for the first 2 weeks then drops to every other or every third day. I adjusted the daily sun intake down by 1 on each zone (more shade), changed the depletion down to 40% and upped the efficiency to 80%. It lowered each zone’s watering minutes but in a 9 day stretch, most zones are being watered every day and others 8 of 9 days. Am I thinking of the depletion % backwards? The lower, the more it waters? Below is the latest schedule.


#4

Yes, the lower the depletion %, the more often it is going to water. What you are saying is “If xx% of the moisture is gone, I need to water”. So a 5% depletion would be watering often to keep the moisture level up, and a 100% depletion would not water very often since the soil would just keep drying out. There’s a diagram that may help in https://support.rachio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115010542148-What-are-Advanced-Zone-Settings-

For most of my grass, I have the depletion set to 50% and that seems to work well. I have one area in my yard that just doesn’t drain, and I have that set to 60%. And then all my perennials and annuals are set to 25%, which seems to work really well for them.

I personally prefer the flex daily schedule over the monthly, as my goal for my yard is to try and get the appropriate amount of water used. For me, Flex monthly can sometimes let things get too dry when there is rain in the picture, and fixed doesn’t take advantage of the moisture level calculations.

To help understand what is happening with flex daily and why it wants to water when it does, really pay attention on the detail chart to the ending moisture level and what caused that level, be it precipitation, the system watering, and the amount of water the crop is using.


#5

I would leave depletion at 50% and the only variable I would really touch (unless your root zone is wayoff) is crop coefficient. It will not affect watering duration, just watering frequency. The higher the coefficient, the closer to full evapotranspiration you will use, which pulls your moisture level down faster, which will make you water more frequently. If you want to adjust the watering durations I would just change the minutes directly. They system works really well when dialed in.

This documentation might help. If you don’t want to spend the time dialing all this in, flexible monthly might be a nice month-to-month predictable option for you.

:cheers: