Refill %?


#1

It appears that one cannot adjust the amount of refill done by a flex daily schedule, with it always attempting to do a 100% refill. Even after reducing the scheduled irrigation times for each zone, it still shows it trying to do a 100% refill. Is that because it’s imposing the rule that one should water deeply, and less often?

A counter case is in an area where most water comes from rain, and minimal irrigation is only used to prevent wilting. In this case it makes more sense to match the evapotranspiration rate than to do a 100% refill. Another case is where one has limited flow available, and it is impractical to do a 100% refill in a single day. These cases could be supported if we were allowed to set a refill percent (or specify refill inches or times).


#2

Not exactly what you’re asking for, but it is often the case you can use existing Rachio advanced zone settings to bend to your will.

In this case, I suggest reducing the root depth by a percentage. That would reduce the amount of water applied, similar to what you’re asking for.

Could mess with Maximum Allowed Depletion (reduce it so the schedule fills when 25% of soil moisture is depleted for example).

As for a “watering matched to ET” — not really feasible since ET can be quite variable so advance zone setting modifications won’t be useful. Interesting idea though to have a schedule that only waters to match ET. Good for short rooted plants like ground cover, though that would prevent watering deeply and may run into issues like deeper roots get starved of water.


#3

No, those suggestions would cause watering to occur too soon. The point (in my case) is to allow a normal depletion, and then refill to less than full. That’s the most efficient use of water, leaving a significant depletion that can capture any rainfall (vs. runoff), while minimizing the time spent watering. In most cases, rainfall in my area will take care of most water needs, and the minimal irrigation will not result in significantly shorter-rooted plants. (Also, the expected ET is provided by Rachio each day, so it should have no trouble using that as an alternative basis for running the sprinklers.)

Seems to me that not being able to specify the extent of refill is just a missing element from their moisture balance implementation, and a quick fix would be for Rachio to simply pay attention to the reset sprinkler times. imho


#4

Today is actually a good example of the issue: Predicted rainfall is just 0.07", but a look at the weather map shows that more than that is possible. The default behavior of Rachio, however, would be to do a complete refill this morning, which makes little sense. Smarter to do a partial refill, leaving room for potential rainfall, which is what I did manually (I added just 0.1").

Update: We’ve already had about 1" of rain today, giving a complete refill. So Rachio would have spent most of the morning doing a needless refill, whereas I wasted just 0.1" of irrigation. Easily addressed by supporting partial refills.

In its projection for next week, it shows it doing a complete refill again on 7/22 (after several days without rain), but, at that point, it would be smarter to do partial refills on the order of the ET rate to prevent wilting, biding time until the next major rain event. Those few days have little effect on root depth, while minimizing irrigation, and making best use of precipitation.