What is Rachio’s “water duration” really based on? What is its context? I have had my system tested and know exactly how long each zone much run to achieve 1 inch of watering. I love the idea of “flex daily”, but the suggested times are out of whack. How do I apply what I already know (how long it takes to achieve 1" of watering) to the “flex schedule”? I have 7 zones. each zone includes trees, grass, flowerbeds and shrubs. If I select shrubs flex schedule suggest one watering every 1 or 2 weeks, but triples the time I select. If I select grass it waters ever 2-3 days, but reduces the time I select. Whatever time I input under “watering duration” is automatically adjusted depending on weather, which I like, but how do I set a proper baseline? And how does Rachio know what my time selection is based on? I mean, it could be so many different things. The ideal time in May? the ideal time in July? The ideal time once per week? the ideal time 3 times per week? What is this “time duration” all about? It’s completely meaningless without any context.
This is a great question! You can make precise duration adjustments by going to the advance zone settings by going to the Irrigation tab > select the zone that you want to adjust > select Edit > select Advanced
The setting at the very bottom is labeled “Nozzle Inches Per Hour” (also called precipitation rate) and this tells the system the amount water applied in inches per hour.
The actual duration itself is based not only on the precipitation rate but also Available Water, Root Depth, Allowed Depletion, and Efficiency.
Aside from Crop Coefficient, Efficiency, and Nozzle inches per hour, each of settings listed above will have effect both duration and frequency. We have a support article that breaks down what each setting does. This article is a great resource to understand how each of the settings helps us calculate duration and frequency.
It might be more challenging to fine tune in your case where you have mixed crop types in your zones. The outcomes that you are a observing are due to the zone settings watering to that specific plant type need. For example, our shrub setting represents a shrub with a root depth of 15 inches - this means that the plant will water for long durations but infrequently. The lower crop coefficient adds to the infrequent watering.
When it comes to fine tuning Flex Daily, one method that is really helpful is to start with one zone at a time (leaving other zones on a Fixed schedule) and fine tuning that zone until you are comfortable.
One thing that is important to understand is that Flex Daily does not alter the duration. Flex Daily changes the frequency of watering based on on weather conditions. With this in mind, one thing that might work is to adjust the duration as you have been (from the schedule editor) and use Crop Coefficient to control the frequency.
Alternatively, you can experiment with just Crop Coefficient and Nozzle inches per hour as these settings only control frequency and duration.
- For more frequent watering, increase crop coefficient.
- Decrease crop coefficient to lower the frequency of watering
- Increase Nozzle inches per hour to decrease watering time
*Decrease Nozzle inches per hour to increase watering time
Let me know if you have any questions about the above. I’m happy to provide guidance on making adjustments.