Weather intelligence Fail? Why did flex daily water?


#1

Hi,

Today my yard was watered, it ended at 4:30 AM in the morning. I didn’t see any of the “Weather Intelligence update” entries on the History log, were it normally explains why it will water (or not) from a weather perspective.

Rain was forecasted. And it did rain heavily 3 hours after it had been watered, at 7:30 (and it shows the rain sensor was activated).

I’m using a Rachio 3.

Does this sound right?

Thanks


#2

Quickly reviewed your account, the schedule that ran is a flex daily which doesn’t provide those type of updates. If soil moisture is depleted it will run. At the time that we generated a forecast our weather provider only predicted about .07inches of precipitation which wasn’t enough to keep your zone from depleting. Looks like the precipitation arrived about 7AM, unfortunately not much we can do if the forecast misses.

The graph does show the precipitation received and that you are about 110% of soil moisture.

Please let us know if you have any other questions or feedback.

:cheers:


#3

Where do those fancy ‘Weather History’ graphs come from @franz ?


#4

Thank you. It would be really great to be able to look at those Weather graphs ourselves, specially for those with a Rachio 3, we’re trusting the new Weather Intelligence Plus but there’s not really a way for us to verify it’s working as expected.


#5

Sorry for confusion, everything should be available if you look at the moisture graph (even our forecasted precipitation)

I found a station by your residence for actuals. My personal recommendation is using a station nearby if you know it is accurate. (which is different than what product recommends). Here is my shtick:

Interpolated weather data that you don’t have to worry about stations going down or not reporting precipitation which takes the burden off the homeowner of making sure they have an accurate reporting station. Interpolated data is great but won’t be exactly the measured amount that a PWS would give you near the house.

The ability to choose from over 250,000 PWS stations (Gen 1/2 has about 40,000 PWS stations). I’m also wrapping up a WI plus feature that will self “heal” a chosen station, always making sure you are using one that is online, automatically choosing the next closest station.

Here is where I got the fancy precip graph:

https://www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KTXKELLE74

Moisture graphs are available for any zones that are in flexible daily schedules. You can see a two week simulation.

Hope this helps.

:cheers:


#6

Thank you. What I don’t like about picking a specific PWS station is the chance of it starting reporting bogus data. You mention a WI plus feature that will self heal a chosen station, but is that based on checking if the station is online and nothing else or also does some kind of check of the measurements, to see if they are comparable (say, not a 10 degree difference) with stations nearby?

Also, though maybe unrelated, when looking at the moisture graphs, I do notice that many zones are getting watered every 2 days. We’re having very hot weather in TX, close to 100 degrees daily. Is that the reason for these frequency? I would have expected the “deeper and less frequent” to be more evident.

Thanks


#7

I’d just use the interpolated data then.

That is something I’ve been working on, but it will only check if a station is online or there is another closer one. Once you start getting into data validation you need a team of engineers. We aren’t planning on widescale PWS data validation.

Frequency largely depends on root zone depth and soil available water capacity. I noticed that you dialed back some of your warm season grass root zone depths closer to cool season grass (~ 6 inches). This will have a big impact on watering frequency. Your watering schedule looks similiar to ours in Colorado since your depth of water (zone bucket size) is only about .41 inches. If you are depleting .2 inches of ET everyday, you can see how it wants to water every other day.

Hope this helps.

:cheers:


#8

Thanks for looking at my zones to understand the frequency of watering. I do have Bermuda grass, however, and from what I read in the forums it should be setup to have 6 inches of root depth.

Do you have any other suggestions, or anything that you would tweak in order to decrease frequency? How is the 0.41 for the zone bucket size calculated?

Thanks!


#9

I think it depends on where you live and how established your roots are. I have had mine set to 9" the last couple of summers.


#10

I love these questions!

Being in Fort Worth, my hunch is root depth is closer to 9 inches then 6 inches. In colder climates grass roots don’t get too much further than 6 inches. Where you live 9 inches is the “default”.

I usually recommend increasing/decreasing the crop coefficient (how efficiently the crop is evaporating water) as the easiest lever since it doesn’t affect the zone duration. Increasing crop coefficient closer to 100% will make you water more frequently, decreasing (burning off less water) will make you run less frequently. But that’s usually for fine tuning. In your case I’d try bumping up the root zone depth which will increase the size of your bucket. This will also add minutes to the zone since it will want to deep water more, but less frequently.

It’s a fairly simple equation.

management allowed depletion * available water capacity (derived from soil) * root zone depth (derived from crop type) = size of zone bucket.

In your case .5×.15X5.5 = .41 inches.

From there we only have a few other variables. Each day evapotranspiration (ET) happens which subtracts from your zone bucket. Irrigation and precipitation add to your bucket. So if ET is .2 inches one day and .25 inches the next day (.2 + .25 = .45inches), you are depleted and we will run. Precipitation will offset us running since it fills your bucket, as well as irrigation.

I always recommend starting with one zone, getting a feel for everything, then applying to others if you like the way it behaves. If not we have flexible monthly which is very predictable and adjusts once a month, or normal fixed schedules where you still get all the advantages of our weather intelligence features.

Hope this helps.

:cheers: