Watering time with Smart Watering mode


I’ve been toying with Smart watering mode as a means to optimize my watering and I’m using End before sunrise however I’ve noticed that the Rachio will easily not abide by that.

To be more specific, I have clay soil with a total of 10 zones (mostly slow drip irrigation) and if they happen to deplete roughly at the same time, the Rachio will happily schedule to run ALL of them on the same day. Due to that, I’ve had days where the system is just about done watering at 4pm (although it started in the evening the night before).

In a case like this, I would expect the Rachio to change the schedule (perhaps watering things a little earlier) so that it doesn’t water the plants during day time where it’s not efficient at all.

Am I doing something wrong or is this logic simply not covered in the current firmware?

Usually the problem with End Before Sunrise is that since Rachio considers the total time to water ALL the zones in the schedule, it can start long before, possibly 4pm the previous day. I’ve not seen where the watering continues beyond sunrise with End Before Sunrise selected, and don’t understand why it would do so unless the total time is more than 24 hours.

Drip zones can take a lot of time, and really foul up the time for a schedule. If any of your drip zones are areas which have a good mulch base (like all our foundation plantings on a drip zone have pine straw around them), I’d remove those zones from the schedule, and water later in the day. Between the slow drip flow, and being /beneath/ the mulch, not much water is lost to evaporation, so I happily water them any time during the day, reserving the main schedule to operate in the early morning.

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Realistically, drip systems can be run in the daylight hours without issue. It isn’t like a sprinkler or spray nozzle where you worry about most of the water evaporating before it gets to the soil. I have always run my drip during the mid day hours, and reserve the evening and early morning for grass.

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It makes sense as to why it’s watering like this, but I REALLY wish they forced it during the night time and not start crazy early the previous day. You’re totally right about the drippers, however I can’t water durgin the day because historically the squirrels dig up and chew the drip tubes and then it costs an arm and a leg in water. So sadly I’m still stuck here.

Well, you /can/ water any time of the day you wish, of course, but I guess that doesn’t solve your squirrel problem. So the sound and water attracts the squirrels, and then they chew away, huh? Who’d a thunk it. :upside_down_face:

It wasn’t an issue for a while. Unfortunately California has been hitting some pretty bad droughts and I suspect that the critters are getting more and more desperate for water now. I haven’t had any issues since I’ve been watering at night. The Rachio’s putting that back at risk however :(.

Well, now, don’t blame that on Rachio. It’s the fact that to water your lawn properly and avoid the squirrel problem, you have to water pretty much everything at night. Applying the same amount of water with any controller would do the same thing.

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Well there’s no reason the Rachio can’t split the watering schedule up a little instead of trying to water everything in one day. The schedule right now looks like it wants to water almost everything in the same day (for 16hrs) and then there’s multiple days of nothing. That seems very sub-optimal. I don’t understand why it couldn’t simply offset a few zones such that it waters for 3 days in a row for 5.5hrs instead. That seems like a totally reasonable thing to do, but the Rachio isn’t smart enough to do that it seems.

@ti_chris maybe I don’t understand correctly, but I wonder if you can do what you want by creating 2 schedules and splitting the zones between the schedules. You could then empty one set of zones and fill the other set of zones so forcing the schedules to run on different nights.

Apologies if I have misunderstood what you are trying to do.

While that would certainly work, marking a zone empty or filled when it isn’t is not a good idea.

You can offset the zones by simply running a manual run giving a tenth of an inch or so or irrigation to some zones. Of course, a heavy rain will tend to start them all at the same time again.

But yeah, assuming you allow watering on most days per week, it would be nice to spread it out.

What about 2 schedules, one set to run on M/W/F/Sun, and the other one T/Th/Sat/Sun? That way each would have an option of 4 days a week to water on, and hopefully the likelihood that they both choose Sun (or whatever overlap day you choose) would be low?

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That might work, but it’s not ideal. Flex Daily works better with every (or almost every) day available for watering. Actually, having two Flex Daily schedules ongoing, but each available to water very (or almost every) day, but putting 5 zones on Schedule 1 and 5 on Schedule 2 might work better. Sure, /some/ time they will schedule on the same day, but even then probably not all zones in a schedule. It would be more random than your schedule.

I honestly have no idea when watering might start with two Flex Daily schedules on the same day. Be good to know.