Newbie-Watering duration adjustment durable or temporary?

Installed the controller a few days ago. I had the common experience of setting flex daily schedule up and having the application recommend (what i judged to be) wildly long run times. The app was unclear what those runtimes meant. Was that the weekly average that would be adjusted up/down based on weather, was it the first time run to fill the zone, something else? So I adjusted everything way down to be close to my run times on my older controller. After getting the schedule set up I set each zone as being ‘Full’ since we’ve had six inches of rain in the past couple of weeks and a wet spring in general here in SoCal.

This weekend I found some helpful articles linking to resources to calculate available water in my area and i’ve plugged in more detailed information in the ‘advanced’ tab of each zone.

My question is do I need to ‘reset’ something or delete and create a fresh schedule to ‘undo’ my manual dial turning at initial setup? I’ve skimmed the documentation but cannot tell if ‘watering duration’ tweaking by a user only impacts the next scheduled run or is messing with some underlying target water amount. For instance if I crank down the duration would the app behind the curtain change the crop co-efficient permanantly? I’m assuming all is well and the system dynamically sets water amount based on the zone settings and any adjustments I make to duration are only for the next run. But thought I’d better check with the experts. Thanks.

Ok, the system seemed to be behaving as expected other than the ‘shrub’ setting for my roses wasn’t running as often as I thought they need to so i switched that out to a manual zone. I’m surprised that there appears to be no way to take weather into account if you insist on running the zone every three days. I want a setting that says they need water twice a week, adjust the amount based on the weather, does Rachio really not do this?

My larger problem is with my lawn, Zone 1. I configured the system at install and the zone behaved as expected, getting about an inch of water a week, which takes about two hours. Then I had a bunch of stuff on the lawn overnight that i didn’t want to get wet in the morning water cycle so I toggled the zone to be ‘disabled’ then re-enabled the next day. I saw in the app that a water cycle was set for the next morning so assumed all was well. However it turned out that the system only watered the zone for 3 minutes. A week later my lawn was browning and I discovered the Rachio thought 3 minutes of water would replenish 20-30% of the water. It scheduled a 1 minute run a week later and looking at the schedule appeared to think 1 minute every few days would be adequate.

I reached out to support but haven’t heard any explanation for the behavior. I manually adjusted the run up to two hours and now the system thinks two hours every 3-4 days is what the lawn needs. This is in 75-80 degree weather so this is way too much water.

Now I’m assuming somewhere in my effort to improve results in the advanced settings things have gotten messed up-although I don’t see anything obvious to me. But my expectation is that the Rachio uses weather and math to calculate how often and how much water to apply. That if I adjust a run time for a zone on Flex Daily schedule it over rides the calculation for a single run then the Rachio algorithm takes over again. But that isn’t what i’m seeing.

I’m close to just nuking my schedules and starting over, but can someone please explain the influence of user changes to ‘water duration’ when a zone is set to ‘daily flex’? Both at setup time as well as when a schedule is already set.

The increase or decrease in watering durations does not impact watering frequency, we do some magic behind the scenes so the system assumes that it is watering the same amount so soil moisture tracking is consistent.


OK, thank you for that information. I’m confused about what I’m seeing but either I have some setting majorly messed up, there is a bug here, or I just don’t understand watering at all.

Zone 1:

Warm Season Grass
Rotary Nozzle
Clay Loam
Lots of Sun
Slight slope
Available water: .12 in/in (manually changed due to USGS info)
Root depth: 6 inches
Allowed depletion: 50%
Efficiency: 80%
Crop Coefficient: 55% (lowered due to buffalo grass)
Nozzle inches per hour: .51 (lowered to match cup test result)

5/5 1h 53m
5/14 1h 53m
5/22 switched zone to ‘Disabled’ because it was going to run on 5/23 but i had stuff on the lawn i didn’t want soaked.
5/23 switched zone to ‘Enabled’ and noted it would run the next day. I assumed it would be for 1h53m but didn’t check.
5/24 3m
5/25 3m (manual run just to make sure things were working since i didn’t see it run the prior day)
5/28 opened a support ticket. grass was browning and scheduled run was just 1 minute every couple of days starting on the29th. In an attempt to solve I manually set the zone as Depleted but that didn’t change any calculations.
5/29 2h 0m (was schduled for 1m but i manually over rode it to 2hours)
6/2 2h 0m
6/4 scheduled for 2h 0m but I pushed ‘skip watering’
Forward looking in the schedule
6/5 1h 59m
6/9 1h 59m
6/11 1h 59m
6/14 1h 59m
6/17 1h 59m

Six inches of water in 15 days (weather in the 70s and 80s here in San Diego) seems excessive.

So I just now removed the zone from the flex daily schedule (that has most of my zones) and made a brand new one. The app kept all the same custom settings I had (and still shows the same 4% soil moisture) but came up with a new plan.
6/5 50m
6/9 50m
6/11 50m
6/14 50m
6/17 50m

What in the world is going on?

San Diego should be warm season grass that is a 9 inch default root zone. That could really impact your watering frequency.