I recently switched 4 of my zones over to drip line and they are all running very dry. When I look at the schedule it was approximately 12 days in between watering. Tonight I manually changed the moisture level to 0% so it would start watering tonight. All zones are on Flex daily and have been fine until I switched to drip. Any suggestions?
I will usually start my drip on a fixed schedule allowing it to water @3 times a week so that it can build up a good water table. I would also change the clay to sand for a 2 week period.
After 2 weeks, change the program back to flex daily and then change the “Available Water” to .20 from .15
Once the weather gets colder in your area, you will end up watering about once a week. In the peak heat season, it will water @twice a week but with a better water table.
Another tip for start up on drip is to tell the controller that you are watering annuals. It will then apply a daily amount of water when can then be switched back to shrubs. At this point, be sure to apply some nice fine grade mulch around your plants to retain more of the moisture while minimizing evaporation.
Deep and infrequent irrigation is the key to good plant health and survival. Plants need to breath in between soakings, otherwise root fungus will develop.
Like @spscoutenPhD mentioned, your plants are trained to not work for water. The roots are most likely very shallow since I’m assuming you did frequent waterings, multiple times a week. Changing the soil will cause it to run more frequently, as will adjusting the root depth up, and give your plants roots some time to stretch their legs.
My process was almost 6 months long trying to get my plants ready for the new (and correct) watering regimen. I started with my roots really shallow to force it to run more frequently, and they begin to back it down to default root depth. Now, my tree and shrub zones will go upwards of 2 weeks between waterings in the winter and look healthier than ever! In the summer the frequency jumps back up to at least once a week, FYI…
Also, are you sure your Nozzle Inches Per Hour is set up correctly to match the PR of your emitters?