Soil Moisture

I setup my new Rachio 3 last night and 4 of 5 zones show 0% Soil Moisture. I happen to have the advantage of being a Regional Sales Manager for POGO TurfPro, which caters to golf courses and sports turf but in short, it is a GPS driven technology that samples soil moisture, salinity, and soil temperature. My question is this; is their a way to manually input the soil moisture % into the zone or at least adjust it from time to time since I know my exact soil moisture? Also, I can probably tweak some other variable(ET rate) to track closer to my POGO readings.

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Just a heads up, 0% soil moisture in Rachio is when it reaches the AD (allowed depletion) set on that zone. Default is 50%. So technically soil moisture is closer to 50%. Curious how that compares to your readings?

Also, there is only the ability to completely fill the “bucket”, or deplete it at this time…

This is the readings from this morning top 2 1/2 inches of the profile btw. But that is one of the zones that is reading 0% right now on the Rachio.


@tmcgahey, here’s todays readings so you can get a better picture of what’s going on with my front yard. I’m located north of Houston and yesterday was hot(high temp in upper 90’s with a 108-110 feels like temp).

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My irrigation ran for 17 minutes early this morning for this zone not scheduled again until next Saturday. It will be interesting to see how far it will dry down.

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Like I would suspect drying from the top of the slope towards the street. And now Rachio has added a water day for Wednesday so barring any rain that should be about right(I’m restricted to Wed/Sat watering).

Interesting gizmo you have there…What is Rachio seeing at the point of this last screenshot?

Curious if your zone is set up correctly (specifically nozzle PR)? Others have used less sophisticated moisture sensors and shown much closer readings to Rachio…

@tmcgahey, unfortunately we got hammered with some thunderstorms early this morning so we are now very wet(wanted a bit of a dry spell to test things out). Interestingly though, Rachio added a water day back in on Wednesday as of last night but because of the rain this morning has since pushed it back to Saturday.

Isn’t Rachio awesome!

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No complaints so far but it hasn’t been a week yet. Not hard to be smarter that 20 year old controller that I just replaced.

Just poured out 2.8 inches from the rain gauge.

2.8" of rain, and your gizmo is only seeing a max of 53% moisture? Seems off to me, no?

There is also soil and air in the system, yes? That is why I don’t like the Rachio verbiage for soil moisture 100% would be in a lake. Different soils have different field capacities making choosing the correct soil most critical. So in other words, 48.9% soil moisture for my soil is 100% field capacity.

Well, I’m from AZ, so 2.8" of rain would be a lake! :rofl:

I guess just assumed that with that much rain immediately following, the moisture readings would be slightly higher. I personally don’t have an issue with Rachios representation of soil moisture, although many do. Like you said, you are at 100% field capacity, and 50% moisture. I think if a majority of the Rachio population saw their moisture levels in the 20’s and 30’s, they would be concerned. I think of it as a dummy gauge in a car. Rachio just bases it’s percentages off field capacity…

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Just checked in the app and it says 110% for all my zones…that was an lol for me but I do at least correlate what they are doing. Like I said before way smarter than what I replaced. I will be happy with it b/c now I know their language but it was confusing, at first, to someone who has a little better understanding of what is going on in the soil system.


I’m assuming you did go into advanced settings where you can set the soil type, root depth and all the other fun tweaks that will help make it smarter.

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I did tweak the advanced settings. Interestingly while out of town yesterday and today my Rachio decided to water zone #1 for 8 minutes this morning. And oddly enough all zones said 110% moisture since we’ve gotten rain the last three days, so not sure why it watered at all and only difference on zone 1 to all the others is a moderate slope and rotary in the settings.

What do your moisture details zone for the zone that watered show? We may at least be able to figure out why Rachio thought it needed to water.

You know TONS more about this than I do, but one thing I have noticed is that when I’ve had lots of rain day after day, because the system only goes to that 110% threshold, my soil doesn’t dry out as fast as Rachio thinks it’s going to dry – I don’t have any tools to measure the actual soil moisture reading, but if I still see water sitting on top of the ground, I know it’s not dry enough yet to water. (I think someone else in the community called it “super-saturation”).

We have had a very wet spring and start of summer in western Minneapolis suburbs. I configured the Rachio, but didn’t install it for a week. On install, it realized that we had rain during the week and adjusted the water required down.

Linn, I’m only speculating here but I think because I’m restricted to two watering days a week Wed/Sat that it was maybe worried about the time span between the watering days and possibly using the forecast for the days in between. I just found it odd that it only did that for zone 1 and no others and zone 1 has a decent slope.

And we are definitely super saturated but that is nothing new for this area. I was mainly just trying to get a handle on why it thought it needed to water so I can force it to conserve even more. The difference btwn the Rachio and the one I replaced is I would have had to call my wife and tell her to turn the old one off b/c I was out of town when it watered. And the bright side is I didn’t have to do that and it only watered 8 minutes compared to an hour +.

Missed a couple of days but not much change and we just had another storm roll thru here.

That’s it! Flex Daily is tough when severely restricted on days. It will look ahead and make a determination on whether it things it will fall below AD by the time it needs to water and will “top off” in order to make it…

When limited like this, Flex Daily might show some odd watering behavior while it tried to keep enough water in the ground.