Setting soil moisture percentage?

Maybe I’m just dumb, but I cannot seem to find anywhere to set the actual soil moisture saturation on my own. Rachio seems to just be making up random numbers, and I can only find the option to either “Fill” or “Empty” which either sets it to 100% or 0%. Surely this “smart” system is smarter than that? I’ve tried clicking just about everything I can find to click on in that section, and can’t find anywhere to manually enter soil moisture.

I’m sure I’ll have millions of other questions going forward, but this one has me stumped and a bit frustrated, right from the start.

I have the Rachio 2 I just got from Amazon.

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Read this thread. I had the same question. Hopefully this thread doesn’t confuse you more…lol

We don’t currently support setting the soil moisture level.


Wow. Okay… That’s… wow. I gotta say, I’m not super impressed so far. Trying to set up field capacity is already pretty clunky, with the super generic ‘soil types’ available. I was hoping that could be overcome with some sort of ‘learning’ ability based on manual override of the ‘way-out-of-whack’ assumptions the system made upon install.

For a smart system, it seems, frankly, not that smart.

Seems like if I’m going to have to do a lot of manual tweaking to TRICK this “smart” system into actually being accurate. Is Rachio’s idea of “Smart” just that it does rain/wind skips, then?

I could already do that with my 15-year-old rainbird controller + rain clik and wind clik. I mean, I guess it’s SLIGHTLY smarter than that, since it can schedule a skip based on upcoming forecasts, but I gotta say, I expected this thing to be way smarter than it apparently is.

But, hey, I can tell Alexa to turn it off and on, for… reasons… so, ‘woohoo!’ I guess.

I guess I’ll give it a couple of weeks to impress me before I send it back to Amazon. Maybe there’s something I’m missing.

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Well you have to keep in mind that Rachio has to try and create some kind of defaults with the millions of different yard configurations out there. They give you all the tools to fine tune it to your yard. The system can only run as accurately as the information you feed it.

As for generic soil types, I guess I don’t follow. The solid types are all geo-survey soil types which match up with their water holding capabilities.

I’ve had my Rachio’s for a number of years, and they have been pretty well dialed in for a long time. It is a VERY rare occasion that I touch thr moisture levels. In real life, in the event that you need to adjust moisture level, completely filling, or completely emptying makes a difference of probably less than one watering in a weeks time, so I guess I don’t see what the big issue is.


I totally agree w/ @tmcgahey, once I knew what the parameters were, I have mine dialed in and don’t really mess with it now. That thread was so you could learn what the system can and can’t do. I’ve been totally happy ever since I understood what the Rachio was doing with regard to “Soil Moisture”. My advantage is I actually have the ability to get a true moisture reading.


My complaint is NOT with the fact that it has some defaults. Like you said, there are millions of different yard configurations. So why are these options hard-coded, and why doesn’t it have any ‘learning’ capabilities?

Realize that the system can only run as accurately as the information I feed it, which is why I want to have the ABILITY to feed it more information.

I guess this is where you lose me…Rachio HAS the ability to feed it all the information you need. I work regularly with LARGE ag producers, and all the programs they use to calculate watering needs are the same inputs that are available in Rachio.

Is there a particular option that you see is “hard coded”?

It doesn’t have the ability to feed it information and make intelligent decisions based off of information, which is what one would expect from something ‘smart’.

Like I said, I’m sure I can manually go in and trick it into actually being accurate by tweaking a bunch of the interdependent poorly-documented/annotated parameters. That’s just not what I was looking for when I decided to try a “smart” sprinkler controller.

It doesn’t seem like it’s really any cheaper or less labor intensive than doing the same thing with a ‘dumb’ controller and getting the same result.

I mean, hell, the stupid thing doesn’t even tweak watering schedules when you adjust parameters! You have to delete and re-create a new schedule any time you make an adjustment.

Smart? Hardly.

Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, but I would still have to disagree with you.

It does have the ability to take the information you feed it (ie AW, AD, PR, vegetation details, etc.) mixed with the weather intelligence information (precipitation, evapotranspiration, etc) gathered from the PWS system to calculate the needs of the various plants.

Not sure what parameters you are adjusting, but anytime I go in to test something (my system is dialed in, so I don’t make changes), I can see real time changes into the schedules.


I’m also new to Rachio and was disappointed to see that when I clicked Fill to see what it would do, there was no way to undo or set it back to a reasonable value.

I think the problem here is that it doesn’t accept the kind of information we newbies are expecting to feed to it.

@wrenchmonkey, I did find that when I changed something like the flow rate of each zone, it would immediately change the scheduled watering times accordingly. Did you configure a Flex Daily schedule?

@tmcgahey, Is there a tutorial somewhere that would explain how to get our systems “dialed in” like yours? Can you share how long it took and the basic steps you took to collect the necessary data?