Too Dry Across the Board

Upon purchasing my Rachio, I opted to go with the Flex scheduling and went through each zone and painstakingly input all the requested information, such as soil type, emitter type, amount of sun received, etc. Yet throughout my landscape, from my lawns to my garden beds, everything is way too dry and suffering. My old sprinkler timer had a “Season Adjust” that would boost the amount of water delivered by a set percentage. Does Rachio have something like that? Is there an easy way to up my overall watering times without going into each zone and manually changing the settings?

I know that I’m not answering your question directly @Raymondo17, but given that your problem is across the board, I wonder if the soil setting might not be the reason. How did you determine the soil setting for your zones?

How did you determine the soil setting for your zones?<

Thanks for the response. Our native soil tends to lean a bit toward the clay side, but when I relandscaped our property, I brought in several cubic yards of a 50/50 mix of quality topsoil and compost, then tilled it in to the existing soil. The result was a loam that was not too clay, not too sandy. So my Soil Type is set to Loam.

Is thi is what you are looking for @Raymondo17 -

Hmmm, that’s a tough one. Depending on how deep that topsoil and compost are relative to your roots, loam might not quite be the right setting. In other words, maybe the topsoil helped when the roots were narrower, but they have become more deep and are struggling to find water. What might be a good starting point is to pick one zone, then tell us how often you were watering and for how long. Then, show us your moisture chart for that zone with the table that shows details. Maybe you can target something that gets you close to how you were watering before, then slowly start to make changes.

Well @Anthony, kind of. I was hoping for an easy, one-stop adjustment to bump up the watering all the zones by a certain percentage. But the “Duration” listing shown on that page you linked to looks like it would work, I just can’t find it anywhere in the app. :confused:

@azdavidr, hard to decide which zone to analyze since they’re all suffering, but I’ll go with my backyard garden with the raised beds. My tomatoes are not flourishing, despite having just replaced all the soil in these raised beds with about ten inches of a 50/50 topsoil/compost mix, so let’s take a look at that. I’ll attach a few screen grabs associated with this zone. I’d be happy to provide additional info.

@Raymondo17- within the rachio app go the schedule tab and then if the schedule you have is flex daily tap on the schedule and look for watering duration.

What kind of climate do you live in ? For a raised garden you might get better help from @Linn or @sunny, so hopefully they’ll listen in. I went away from Flex Daily for my garden a while ago because in our hot climate it wasn’t able to keep up. It might also be helpful to show the ‘more detail’ under the chart, and the ‘advanced’ tab of the zone settings.

You might also post the same info. for your lawn, and let us know what kind of turf you have.

@azdavidr, I’m in Zone 9 out here in sunny California. Summers are hot (upper 90s to low 100s most of the time) with zero rainfall, low humidity.

Per your suggestion, I’ve attached the Zone Settings’ Advanced tab, as well as the More Detail tab. And sure, if folks will indulge me, I’d be happy to post my lawn settings in a bit.

Here are the settings for one of my lawn zones, which features a Blue Fescue mix. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous lawn in the spring and usually fall, but it’s hard to keep it happy in the summer. And it’s particularly unhappy right now.

One thing I just noticed… under the Advanced tab, it lists Area with 500 sq feet entered. I don’t know if that’s a new setting since the new Rachio app came out, or whether I just plumb missed that when putting in the zone info on all my zones, but all of my zones are bigger than 500 square feet. Not sure how that factors in, but it’s definitely not correct.

The area is only used to estimate how many gallons that you’re using. This shouldn’t be the issue.

How do your watering times for the lawn (durations and frequency) compare to how you would be watering if you were on your previous controller?

A couple of thoughts before we even address some of the settings. I checked your temps for the last couple of months and noticed that you’ve had some fairly warm days. Not even a controller as “smart” as Rachio can control the weather.:smile:
Tomatoes generally do best in the 70° - 80°F temp range. When the daily temps hit the 90s - 100s, the plants will be stressed. The best season to grow tomatoes in your area are early spring and early fall. Sure, a gardener might be able to keep tomatoes alive through the hot, dry summer months, but it’s an uphill battle. One summer just for an experiment, I tried a heat-tolerant variety. It did OK, but the fruits were not as tasty or juicy as some of the cooler season varieties. Here in the desert, I don’t even try to grow tomatoes in the summer.
Try some warm weather crops such as melons, okra, some varieties of corn, eggplant and chiles. Plant new tomato plants in the early fall for a harvest before frost.
As you mentioned, the fescue lawn may be difficult to keep happy in the summer–it’s stressing from the high temps, too.


For the lawn, I’d typically water three set days a week for around 23 minutes, but in the heat of the summer, I’d boost that up by adding something like a 20% Season Adjust, which would add somewhere around another 5 minutes to the zone’s watering time. So yes, I used to apply more water in the hottest days than the Rachio does now.

As for the growing beds, I’m realizing they’re getting about half the water they used to get. I’d let the drip lines in the vegetable garden run for something like 4 hours twice a week. The Flex schedule has me doing around 4 hours a week, total, delivered every other day or so. That clearly needs to change.

Sunny, thank you for your gardening input. But I must tell you that I’ve had marvelous luck with tomatoes in past growing seasons. They actually seem to enjoy the Sacramento heat. I’ve had monstrous, 10’ high plants that were very productive right through October.

I think I’m realizing that my current Flex schedule is not delivering nearly enough water. So the question is, what’s the best way to bump up the watering time?

Increase the Crop Coefficient in the Advanced Settings for the zone and it will increase the freq of watering. Now that may just increase how often that zone gets watered. The duration itself would likely be adjusted in the schedule itself zone by zone.


Are you using the default drip line precipitation rate (under advanced zone settings)? The default could be higher than actual. If so, reducing that value would cause water duration to increase.

This post may help you calculate precipitation rate for drip

I concur with @ssindelman and @Kubisuro. I would proceed in this order:

  1. Double check your soil
  2. Double check your root depth.
  3. Drop your precipitation rate until you get the amount of water you expect, or use the drip calculator that @Kubisuro pointed you to.
  4. Change the crop coefficient to change the frequency

#1 and #2 will give you a baseline of the amount of water delivered, and a baseline frequency. Getting that baseline as close as possible to reality is important to keep things within reason. #3 will allow you to tweak the amount of water delivered if #1 & #2 don’t seem to be giving you what you expect. The baseline drip settings can often be a fair amount off. Once you have your duration about where you want it, #4 will allow you to modify frequency. I believe that you can go over 100% for crop coefficient.

You may ultimately still have the problem I had. In my case the temps got so hot (> 110F or so) that I needed to water later in the day, and Flex Daily only fires once per day. If you’d like to learn more specifics on my case check out the thread below. You shouldn’t have the same problem with your lawn, but we’ll see.