Struggling to get settings right for drip

Hi all…

Used Rachio for a while, but I never “trusted” the numbers coming off of the Rachio daily and just ended up changing them myself to a shorter time (I just found out that Rachio doesn’t work well when you change the length numbers on Flex Daily apparently-- doesn’t accommodate weather changes as well?) … as they were always way longer than seemed to make sense. Trying to put a little more work into it; but after reading the knowledgeable and forum, I’m more confused. Would love some help getting this right.

So, recently I’ve replaced everything with drip. It’s all perennials, annuals, vegetables or trees; no grass at all.

There are over 10 zones; and I’m having trouble getting anything consistent.

All the soil is formerly compacted clay but hard tilled this season with compost, and I’ve been giving it some love.

Common settings :

Area - I’ve not been careful about these. As these aren’t lawns, the area isn’t linear or easy to box.
Available Water - Did some lookups as noted on this site, came in at 0.16 in/in
Root depth / allowed depletion / efficiency / crop coefficient - as recommended for the category

Nozzle inches per hour - probably the most confusing one for me. Dripline and emitters come in at 0.5-0.6 in the auto setting. I’ve been assuming that since 1gph emitters over an hour put .6 inches of water into 1 soft, that was the baseline.

Zone 1 - probably the most confusing - Fruit trees. They’ve got 0.5gph/1gph/2gph drips on the trees and some drip line in the extents - in relative ratio-ish of the area of the canopy so that the EV ratio from them are similar to each other; so they can have the same timing. What nozzle inches do I use? Any other settings to change?

Zone 2 - Older large trees and hedges - The gardener set it up with drip line running in front of the tree drip line - 1 gph every 12 inches.

Zone 3 - Vegetables I have outside, with emitters and soaker house. Almost all the veggies have 1gph each, but tomatoes have 2x 1gph on each side.

All of them suggested really long water times and more water than I thought I’d want to put into the ground at any given time (for the veggies for instance, which suggest an inch of water on each fill ; so 1.6gal - but the timing suggested would put in almost three.

Any idea what I’m getting wrong? Should I really be putting in that much water in the ground at a time - or have I put emitters too large for the 0.6inch nozzle inches per hour; and I should be using something else?

I’ve been using allowed depletion and increasing it when the soil is overly dry and the rachio doesn’t catch it (to increase the speed). Not sure what to do with efficiency.



The best I can offer is this post if you haven’t seen it yet:

But I must admit even after reading it, I was still mostly confused. I’ve been trying to chase similar questions for the last week, but haven’t been making much progress really understanding how to combine drip with Rachio. I’m starting to get an impression that Rachio simply hasn’t been designed to work with drip irrigation. it’s primary (and maybe sole) use case is lawn irrigation as it assumes more or less uniform coverage.

A few days ago I started to to play around with some ideas using a zone with with a handful of young fruit trees (the only zone I have that is entirely drip and is made up of similar vegetation). I stumbled across a guide put out of the University of California, Davis on how to grow fruit trees (in CA) and it had a useful section on drip irrigation. The one take away for me was that when on low-flow drip emitters, trees should be watered daily. There is also a table of how much water trees need based on their size and a few other conditions.

So I set the zone’s efficiency to 100%, Available Water to 100%, and Allowed Depletion to 1% (to force daily watering). And now I’m just manually tweaking Nozzle Inch per Hour to get watering durations that will give me amounts of water that match the numbers in the table I mentioned above (I also have different number of emitters per tree to compensate for variation in tree sizes).