Watering duration different for similar zones

Trying to understand how Rachio is calculating watering duration for 2 very similar zones. Both zones have the same settings but yet Rachio determined Zone 5 needs to be watered for 34 Minutes and Zone 6 is 19 minutes. Please help me understand.

Some background, I had all my zones on Flex Daily with Smart cycle for the past two months. I went in today to adjust precip rate for both Zone 5 and 6 along with the slope of those zones, the root length and crop coefficient. The settings are now exactly the same including area and all the the other attributes and still Rachio is showing 2 different watering duration for both. I even tried setting the AWC to empy to see if it triggered anything and its still the same.

Any help appreciated.

I would verify settings are the same and delete, re-create the schedule. If values are different after that we can have the engineering team review.


Thank you for the response. I will try your advice and let you know.

But is it correct to assume that the two zones should be the same watering duration?

Identical zone characteristics will generate identical watering times.



Currently, I am finding the same situation with the Gen 3 with Flex daily, and the other attributes of W.I and Cycle. I’ve been installing Rachio controllers for over 4years and Gen 3’s since they were released.

I will be posting later, however I am separating all like zones into different schedules.

In example A : Two zones are drip, (in the exact same location, and plant type) one watered the other did not… On my initial program it gave me more than 2 1/2 hours of watering for those Zones and I said great all set… My Ron Popeil moment!

Well was I mistaken, returning a week later to transfer ownership and make some irrigation repairs thinking W.I. was to water appropriately. It did not.

Upon my field visit both on site and in my app, the watering or non watering events did not make any sense… I emptied both Zones (not even enough water on the first zone) changed plant type, and both watered correctly.

However, the projected next watering event I initially stated a 9 day interval which is out of line with actual Et. , though it matched an estimated data calculation. I’m looking for “smart” . Will I have to empty again? Or manipulate PR on WI?

I should not have to go advance to change PR etc., and if so it should be at GPH delivery not in/hr. in this case of drip. Heck, I asked the contractor who installed the drip lines ( incorrectly as well) how many GPH tubing did you use on this job; he said 9GPH three times… Shrugs.

What, It seems to indicate here is not smart at all and not using local W.S and only empirical data, or the Hyperlocal data is way off. One of my indications of this was through W.U. and its PWS reporting. I still have to verify If my mapping is correct. But there is something definably a miss as I have found this on a half a dozen controllers thinking Rachio will catch up and straighten things up in time. I have to re-visit all my sites to check the performance, water events and soil moisture content.

At any rate, I will be comparing real time Et, to the parameters Rachio is using on the Gen 3 , however my Gen 2’s on PWS do not do this. If, I have to install my own WS I will , or I will just have to say this is a remote device and program the controller on fixed scheduling since it’s like a bad baseball batter with the misses and strike outs and 30 percent accuracy.

I have another two installations today and will only be doing one and waiting for another WiFi to Beta test on site and compare controllers initial set up. I will however be setting up Rachio without hyperlocal data input.

I will also set up another site Rachio Gen 3 side by side with WI with same Zone type turf and the other on PWS. Hence , Example B. One Zone on WI and the other Zone next to it on PWS Flex Daily. Currently reading 45% and the other at 65% and they are same type, same soil, same everything, and in Zone sequence of 3000 s/f turf area . Previoulsy, one was at 110% and the other 17% and both were inaccurate. As, I walk with my soil tester.

I have the same thing happening on another site with five Turf Zones in a 5000 s/f area and it all waters different. How can this be correct lest comforting knowing this makes any sense?

These situations should not be happening to Contractors, who do this as a living and part of their water conservation and smart irrigation programs as I’m not getting paid to do all this water management re-configurations which was supposed to be figured out well before we install the equipment and not after the customer is questioning our recommendations and expertise. I don’t mind tweaking and putting in some extra effort however I do like the Ron Popeil moments.

Thus, at this time, as I indicated. I would return to defaults, separate Programs, empty, (you already did) and then try changing plant type i.e. Shrubs to perennial theirs a 5" difference I believe in root depth. Also take it off Cycle and soak. Then work from there. Hopefully, we can get nuisances out of the Platform and it can be more seamless for everyone. I do like to say; “A Rachio a day!”

franz, this is not what we are experiencing.

From the other post who is on flex monthly, you suggest this is to be used for same type crop?

What I will try in a few hours, is program Rachio and delete all programs. I will actually do it two or three times and record the data like the other post but on Flex Daily.

Maybe it needs to think and wake up to be accurate ; and have “identical zone characteristics will generate identical water times.”

Since many of us are not finding this to be true.:face_with_monocle:

I’d be curious to see some screenshots of your zone settings. I have not seen a case yet where exact settings will yield different watering times.

Ok i deleted previous schedule and setup a new one. Keep in mind zone 5 and 6 are identical.

Previous Duration

Deleted Schedule

New Schedule ( total duration is different)

New Duration ( zone 5 and 6 are the same now)

  • Zone 5 and 6 are largest zones and now watering at 25 minutes.

  • Zone 3 is much smaller watering for 38 minutes but has 2 inches longer root depth…I assume this calc is correct. For testing, I put the root depth to match 5 and 6 and it did not change duration on the schedule. It remained 38. I then set it back and still no change to schedule(stayed 38). is this intended functionality?

  • Zone 2 is slightly smaller than 5 and 6 but has a moderate slope vs slight (5 &6) and watering at 34 minutes

  • Zone 4 is large zone smaller than 5/6 but has some shade.

Let me know what you think. I appreciate the help since this has been a bit confusing to understand.

Regarding changing zone characteristics it should be immediate duration update. I tested on the web with a 6 inch root zone and got 16 minutes recommended. I increased root zone to 9 inches and the schedule reflected 25 minutes for the zone. Could be a defect for mobile, maybe caching. I would try changing the zone characteristic and then closing the app (kill it), reopen the schedule and see if different duration. I also tested on Android and got the expected correct behavior.





After messing around with app I noticed that it takes applied changes some times buy disabling and re-enabling schedule so I think there is an issue with settings not reflecting in the App immediately. My question is do you know if this is specific to IOS (what I am using) and if it will be fixed?

The other question I have is why would it now set all my zones to 25 minute duration despite such differences in area. I posted an excel that has all my settings for each configurable item to help you understand what it looks like in one view. Yet all these settings are producing 25 minute duration from the start. Is there a formula I can use to check what it should be? All the other settings I did not list are identical.

Area doesn’t affect run time. In Rachio, the area is only used as a guesstimate for water usage/savings on thr main screen. Being that all your settings are the same, you are seeing equal run times. Slope and shade are your only differences, and that will most likely only cause a very slight change in frequency of running due to a difference in ET.

Thank you for the explanation. Do you know what the formula is or where it might be on Rachio’s site? I would like to look into this more to understand it better.

This thread talks about the run time calculation. Run time calculation in Flex Daily schedule?

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Thank you, Linn. This helps. Do we know how adjustments to Crop Coefficient factors in watering duration and/or frequency? I know its one of the recommended attributes to use to increase watering but it does not show up in any of the calculations in the thread (unless called something different).

Crop Coefficient only effects frequency. It does nothing to duration.

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Is there another formula for frequency?

With Flex Daily, the frequency is determined on a daily basis by the predicted moisture level of the soil, how much precipitation is predicted for the day, and the evapotranspiration (ET) that the plants are expected to use for the day. The crop coefficient is used in figuring out the ET, along with a lot of weather data. You can see the past data, the data for today and future predictions by going into moisture levels and then looking at moisture details (I find the web interface the easiest place to use this as you have to do a lot of scrolling on the mobile apps).

Learning all this is actually a fun rabbit hole to go down!!! It’s not necessary to know all this for the system to work, but at least for me, it sure is nice to have a better understanding of how it’s working, especially to help me assure that I have things set up correctly.

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