Watering Schedule Recommendation seems high


I just installed a Rachio Gen 2 controller. I have been watering roughly 16-20mins per zone once a week (due to watering restrictions). I tried to set up all of the advanced settings and then run a suggested watering schedule. Rachio’s recommendation however was closer to 49minutes per zone which seems excessive. I had to manually adjust it lower…which obviously is counterintuitive to what it is supposed to do. Any idea as to why it has suggested watering for so long? I would also note that I entered all of the square footage and changed the root depth to an appropriate level and it still suggested this.

@omondragon Hello, and welcome ! It’s probably useful to start with your soil type and ‘available water’ setting. How did you go about getting those numbers ? If you didn’t use a resource to get those numbers here’s a link that may help.

If you feel you have that dialed in, please post screenshots of your zone settings. Also, what type of nozzle are you using for that zone, and what is the associated precipitation rate (PR) ?

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Hi, thanks for the quick response. I have the soil set to Silty Clay which seems to align with the Soil Survey data in you link. I didn’t change the available water setting from the default which is 0.16

As for the nozzle I have Fixed Spray Head and I believe the default precip rate it suggests is 1.4. Below is a screenshot of the settings which are pretty similar for all zones except for sq footage, slope and sun exposure which can vary from zone to zone.

@omondragon It’s worth checking the soil site for the available water value. What type of turf do you have? I wonder if 6" isn’t more appropriate for a well established lawn, but that will only increase your watering time. If your heads are really putting out more that the default for Fixed Spray Head that could certainly be a factor. The only way to confirm that is with a catch cup test.

I don’t know how the restrictions plant into all of this. I don’t have much experience with those types of schedules. If you try switching back to Flex Daily you’ll see a Moisture button show up in your zone. Once you get there hit the arrow that shows a table with details. A screenshot off that would be very helpful.

Is this the right setting from the soil site? “Available water storage in profile: Very low (about 0.9 inches)”

If so I will change that and then buy come catch cups to accurately set the precip rate and then go from there.

@omondragon I’m not sure if you’ve seen the document in the posted link, or followed all of the steps. If you follow it step-by-step you’ll end up with a table like the one in step #11, that gives the exact number for your case.

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I had missed the actual step by step guide initially. Appreciate all the help for this newbie. I have ordered some catch cups and will be adjusting precip rates next if necessary. After that if I still have any questions I may come back and post.

This is a great community!


Rachio is a great product, but IMHO this community can’t be beat. A few months ago I looked around the forums for other ‘smart’ controllers, and there was no match to what I found here. Welcome!


@omondragon, when I first started I had the same reaction about watering time. In my case, I had smart cycle on, which creates the impression of excessive watering times, because it idles, or cycles up to 30 minutes to minimize runoff.
You can check this in your watering history card (my example of this morning attached).

when you scroll down you see what times were actually irrigating and what was cycled.
Hope this helps!

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