Quick runs to flex monthly or daily?

I have been watering with quick runs usually around 15min per zone (11 zones total) since my sprinklers were installed in May. I am watering more in our mostly sun front and side yard, less in shaded backyard. All zones are configured accurately and I’m using default for advanced settings.

I am ready to turn things over to Rachio in a flex monthly or flex daily schedule. After setting up flex monthly it wants to water twice as long as I am currently and flex daily three times as long. I have read the relevant post on this topic. Without spending an incredible amount of time with advanced settings going zone by zone what is an easy solution here? I understand the deeper watering concept but there are pockets in my backyard that can never be accounted for in my opinion. Meaning there is one spot if I watered for 53min there would be a small pond. I’m also worried the 5-6 days between watering will torch the front yard. Last, Rachio has calculated three shaded zones for 53min and 3 mostly sun zones at 32min… this just doesn’t make any sense.

I understand there is no easy answer, everything is relative and each zone is different… Just looking for some advice on how best to move forward without making this super complicated. Thank you.

First, I recommend using Flex Daily. You can see what’s going on with the Moisture graphs, and could even just continue to manually water, or just add water, and watch what the schedule wants to do.

The amount of water Rachio gives any given zone during a day is what it calculates will fill it by 50%. From Advanced settings, that’s Available Water x Root Depth x Allowed Depletion. Available water is set by your soil type, root depth by your grass type (but watch - I have Centipede grass with 6"-8" deep roots, and Rachio gives warm season grass root depth as almost 10"). That is how much water in inches Rachio will want to water at one time, although depending on soil and slope, it can allow 1 or more “soak” times to give it a chance to sink in.

Since Rachio may not know your yard conditions (it also may because of your manual watering), it may water too much at first. But after the 2nd or third time it waters a zone, if you find puddles that won’t go away or other standing water, you can back off on that setting some.

The other thing you’re interested in is how often it will water. This time of year, it will probably be 2-3 times a day, depending on where you live. The Crop Coefficient, based on your grass type, helps determine that, along with your weather. The graph shows an ET value. If it’s 0.20", it means Rachio thinks your grass needs 0.20" water a day, or 1.4" a week. If it waters 0.6" at one time, it will water, on average, every 0.6 / 0.2 = 3 days.

The biggest problem to setting up any new systems is how much water Rachio /thinks/ is being applied per minute. It assumes values based on the type of sprinkler heads you have (Nozzle Inches per Hour), and for my yard, the values are grossly high. Using catch cups, or calculating based on area watered per gallon and time both work to calculate this more accurately. A start, since you’ve manually watered, and Rachio should have a record of how long you’ve watered in your history, is to try to make the total watering time for each zone about what you’ve been using. It can all get complex, admittedly.

If you give some specifics on your zones (soil type, grass, location, area) we could maybe help more. Oh, and just because I’m responding first, and have a lot of information, don’t assume I’m an expert. I’m only an interested new user who has learned quite a bit about the system. Rachio has a lot of information on their web site and forums that can help.

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