Six weeks with no watering sceduled

I setup my Rachio in December and it watered once on Dec 13 and hasn’t scheduled any watering since. I’m in San Diego, it’s been fairly warm, there hasn’t been much rain, and the soil is pretty dry. I actually watered a couple of times manually without Rachio just to see when it would finally schedule a run.

Here’s an example of a zone:

North Back Yard:
Last watered: Dec 11 (6 weeks ago)
Soil Moisture: 66%

Type: Shrubs
Spray Head: Bubbler
Soil: Loam
Exposure: Lots of sun
Slope: Flat
Area: 559sqft
Available water: 0.17in/in
Root Depth: 15in
Allowed Depletion: 50%
Efficiency: 90%
Crop Coefficient: 50%
Nozzle inches/hr: 1in

I have 9 other zones that are very similar.

I didn’t change anything - Just setup Rachio and I can’t imagine a scenario where it determines my yard only needs water once every few months.

I’m happy to spend time to dial this in, but the defaults are so far off, I feel I must be missing something huge

Your setting are typical for shrubs adjusted to deep watering. I’m in north Phoenix and my drip runs an average of once a month in each December, January and February for my mixed shrub and tree zones. They run around once every 5 days in summer.

What was your watering schedule prior to Rachio for both frequency and runtime? Your plants might be used to shallow watering prior to Rachio. It takes some time to adjust. I recommend changing your root depth to 12”. This will shorten the runtime and decrease the frequency.

What plants are on this zone? Are they thirsty species? If you have an thirsty plants I recommend increasing the crop coefficient to 75%. That’s the default crop coefficient for trees.

You want to make sure your weather station(s) your Rachio use are nearby. Southern California is very localized. You might be way under watering if you live in an inland area that’s warmer and gets the Santa Anna winds more frequently than someone on the humid, cooler, coast.

What is your soil type? For example, sandy soil dries out faster and holds less water than clay or loam soils. Therefore, soil type affects the watering duration and frequency.

Thanks for the help.

I moved into the house with an irrigation timer that was running literally every day for an hour and soaking everything, running mud into the sidewalk, etc. The water bill was $800/month. I don’t have a good baseline for the yard. This is also the first real yard I’ve ever had, so I don’t have a good understanding of what a watering schedule should look like, but 6 weeks just seems like a long time between waterings. Maybe it’s normal.

The plants on the zone I showed above are a mix of shrubs and trees. Here’s a picture:

Here are some pictures of other zones I have set to shrub, when it’s mostly a mix of shrubs and trees:

To be fair, when I dig down ~6-8 inches, the soil has some moisture in it, so maybe everything is ok.

To answer your other questions, the soil is listed as Rocky Silt Loam. I chose “Loam” as the soil type in Rachio.

The Weather Source is set to “Weather Network (Recommended)” . My other option is Weather Station.

Given all of that, would you still recommend any changes to the advanced settings? Root depth or crop coefficient?

Thanks again!

It sounds like the plants were used to shallow watering, especially if it was running every day in the winter. I would decrease the root depth to 12" to start. You even might want to increase the crop coefficient as high as 75% if the trees in the far background are yours too. It’s always a good idea to keep the setting for the wimpiest plants in mixed zones. Shrubs have shallower roots than trees and trees have a higher crop coefficient than shrubs. Eventually, you should be able to slowly increase the root depth over time. I would not go above an 18" root depth, even for established shrubs after 1-3 years of training the roots to grow deeper.

Do you know the flow rate nozzle inches/hr for sure? This will drastically affect the run times.
@azdavidr has a great calculator for flow rates. The link below is also helpful for the flow rate.

Drip Line Rate Calculator Insert the plant canopy dimensions instead of the distance between drip lines and emitter spacing in this link. Plants can also share water if they are close enough reducing the total amount of water needed.

Do you know if there are any leaks in your dripline? Those can also be major sources of wasted water.

This is the process of what I did when I got my Rachio 3 in December 2020. Setting Up Flex Daily in PHX with Mixed Plant Type

Thank you so much. I feel like I have a great place to start now!

You’re welcome. How did the changes affect the scheduled forecast?

I would strongly suggest that you calculate your nozzle in/hr. This is possibly the single most important setting, which can significantly affect frequency.

Take a reading from your water meter, run the zone for 5 minutes, then take the end reading.

Then simply (Quantity / Area / Mins) * 60

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