Setting watering schedule at regular intervals


I live in chandler, Arizona. Its too hot out here as you already know that summer is upon us. I was trying to set my schedule on the new Rachio controller I bought but having a tough time. I wish to set some water sprinkled through out the day to my vegetation so I use Flex schedule and everyday and select the time as 10 min. I want this to work as 5 2 min intervals through out the day whenever Rachio feels its time to water but I cant do that. It always waters the entire 10 min of water in the first go. Please help me set it as I am watering using manual control which is no different without a smart controller.

My understanding is that Flex can’t water more than once per day per zone currently (aside from Smart Cycle which is used for soaking into the soil). In certain exceptional cases watering multiple times per day might be helpful, especially when water boils off the pavement here in the Valley of the Sun. However, in most cases besides new seed plantings, sod, etc. it seems like deep, less frequent watering might be better for your plants. What’s your specific use case?

I have some vegetable plants which are hardly 2 months old. They seem to die out if I water them any less than 3 times a day for a minute. But can’t seem to get around the rachio settings to make that similar thing happen.

If you are adamant about running it this way, your only option is a fixed schedule. Set multiple “schedules”, once for each watering. That’t the way I ran my overseeing of rye this winter…


@tmcgahey is correct if you want to water that frequently with Rachio. That said, I have a pumpkin growing in the backyard that I planted in June. I supplemented with a hose when it was a seedling but now it is happy on Flex Daily. I think the key is getting set up to put enough water down so that the soil stays moist. If your soil doesn’t have good water retention properties there are ways of amending it. I’m no expert but there’s one data point for what it’s worth.

But how come it is possible in heat like this. Are you telling me the controller isn’t smart enough to break the cycle in to multiple intervals given that watering all at once may over water it.

Here are some of my zone settings for that planter in case it helps you at all:

Lots of sun
No slope
Available water 0.12 (Sandy Loam)
Root depth 12"
Allowed depletion 40%
Efficiency 80%
Crop coefficient 100%
Nozzle Micro Drip Line @ 0.58" per hour

This zone runs for 1h 9m about 5 days a week. I might need to tweak it more but it seems to be working fine for now.

Rachio can let things soak in if you turn on smart cycle, but for drip irrigation I haven’t really needed to since my drippers are slow. The philosophy is to fill up the root zone with the amount of water the soil can hold (Inches to saturate = Available water * Root Depth * Allowed Depletion). If you set all of the numbers correctly it should saturate to the appropriate depth whenever it waters.


Just FYI, Smart Cycle is not used by drip emitters with Rachio.

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Thanks, @Linn. I thought it just wasn’t recommended for drip zones. Looks like Rachio will let me do it anyway? I just picked on of my drip schedules and it looks like it would let me turn it on.

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Yes, it will let you turn it on. But it won’t Smart Cycle. And if you mix drip emitters in with your lawn sprinklers in the same schedule, your lawn will not Smart Cycle either, even though the setting looks like it is on.


Gotcha - thanks for the info. Sounds like the UI might be improved there.

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No, we are saying that the controller is smart enough to know that it isn’t an efficient way to water.

Are you trying to water a zone that is only watering a vegetable garden, or does your zone have a mix of standard plants, with a few vegetables mixed in? If it is the later, you are doing your normal plant a dis-service by watering the way you want. Being so young, I do see the need for multiple waterings on the vegetable plants, so I’d recommend getting those on their own schedule and running multiple fixed schedules.


+1 on what @ldslaron said. The controller certainly breaks up cycles, but not for drip emitters. It’s another one of my annoyances with our local landscaper recommendations. They give recommendations like water 3X a day for y minutes. There isn’t a need to do that with drip. In fact it does more harm than good by not allowing the root zone to get watered as wide and deep as it would with one long cycle. After 22 years of landscapers giving varying, blanket recommendations like that I too initially thought maybe the system was lacking. After a bunch of reading on sites like “Water Use It Wisely” I now know better.

I’ve had my desert shrubs and trees on Flex for 1.5 years now and it’s working great. When they get watered, it happens in one long, continuous cycle.


Warning…Non-Rachio story ahead!

We had our drip system at my office completely gone through by a landscape installer to repair some major leaks and replace all bubbler heads to the tune of $1800 (I didn’t have time to mess with it at work).

I just about kicked him out of my office when we started talking about watering times and he said “the plants were well established and didn’t need much water…15 minutes 5 times a week would be plenty…” argued with me thst running it for 2 hours once a week was a waste. I should have stsrted with that conversation before I hired him…:joy: