When should we stop watering for the year? If not, why not?


#1

With our old (otherbrand) sprinkler we’d shut it off at a certain point and stop watering.

Will this happen automatically with the Rachio?

If not, when should we stop watering? If we shouldn’t stop, why not?

And if we should stop, when should we start again?

As a point of reference, we’re in zip code 76266, which is north central Texas, a bit north of Dallas.

Thanks,
Mike


#2

It all depends on your weather. You can set your watering schedule to have a start and end date based on your previous experience with weather in your area.


#3

Let’s start from the beginning… what are you watering? Shrubs, grass, concrete?


#4

We tried watering the concrete. It turned green, but didn’t grow.

We have one zone with shrubs, all the rest are grass.,

Thanks,
Mike


#5

I’m not from your area so anyone who knows should chime in, but I can try to answer from questions. Does your area freeze in the winter?


#6

We’re between Dentonm TX and Oklahoma, or a bit north of Dallas.

According to the USDA we’re in Zone 8. Average minimum low temps are in the 10 to 20 F range. However, the winter is pretty short and snow is rare,

Thanks,
Mike


#7

What’s your grass?


#8

It’s a very popular blend in these parts, St, Augustine, Rye and weeds.


#9

I am 200 miles north of Dallas. I turn everything off at the end of November and leave off irrigation unless things get really dry. My main reason is to keep my winter average water use as low as possible to keep my wastewater fees down. There is always a garden hose. Last few falls and winters have been wet. Main irrigation needs are May through late October in Oklahoma City.


#10

@robertokc is a good source for you. I know Rye for my winter overseeding needs but not familiar with how that together with St Augustine behave, and in your climate. Does your grass go dormant in the winter? If not, then I would think it’ll have watering needs. If it does go dormant, even then it would have watering needs. In Phoenix, if you don’t overseed with Rye and just have dormant bermuda, you should still water once a month.


#11

Do you have to winterize your irrigation system, @mavery76266?


#12

No. As far as I know, no one in this area winterizes their sprinkler system.


#13

I agree with Robert. I live between Denton and Frisco. I tell my customers, once we get our first frost, turn them off for the season. If we’ve been dry, give the yard a run through that week. Otherwise, save the water.

Of course, information always spreads on HOA sites, FB, and other social media by someone who read/heard somewhere that for some reason, watering is needed. It’s constant battle of information between the informed, uninformed, and common sense.


#14

We lived for many years without sprinkler systems and somehow we all survived. Most of the United States is not a desert. Don’t turn Phoenix into Maryland during the winter.


#15

I live in Plano (suburb north of Dallas). I’m on full flex - automatic everything.

I demonstrated the Rachio all day this past Saturday as one of the 5 subjects I covered to visitors at my residence for the annual Dallas - Fort Worth Solar (and sustainability subjects) Tour of Homes ( http://dfwsolartour.org ). I used Rachio’s advertising when demonstrating it: “WiFi connected, real time weather station controlled landscape watering system. Anticipates weather forecasts. Uses proven irrigation science, actual yard details, and advanced watering algorithms to create and continually adjust accurate schedules. Includes Internet browser, smart iphone and tablet interfaces. EPA Water Sense Certified.”

With these statements my expectation is that in the Winter, my watering will go to near zero, automatically, without any setting changes by me. And that if it’s below freezing, it’s not going to water at all.

If the watering doesn’t go to near zero, then the Rachio (in flex schedule mode) is not performing to it’s advertised billing.

To see if the Rachio is indeed ‘the real deal,’ I have it integrated into my monitoring system. I get various Web available charts of my of my water usage, viewable by anyone. One of the charts is here: http://www.welserver.com/perl/plot/WEL0343/Sprinkler2.png .

Here you see that my water usage was in fact no different in Sep. than it was in July - both months right at about 15 hours of watering. (I don’t have conversion to gallons implemented yet.) This was initially a disappointment, especially when I looked at the temperature for the two months: http://www.welserver.com/perl/plot/WEL0343/DD2.png . Here you see that degree days for Sep. was 480 as compared to Aug.'s 610.

So if it wasn’t as hot in Sep compared to Aug., why no change in water usage? My guess is, for now, that the Rachio is just fine, and that it’s due to less rain in Sep. than in Aug. If the Rachio is doing it’s job, then watering should be dependent on a number of things, including outside temperature and precipitation.

If I look at monthly recorded rainfall for my City ( http://www.planoweather.com/wxrainsummary.php ), I see that Sep. rainfall was about the same as Aug (about 4.7"). But, this is for the whole city, not where I am, so indeed it’s possible I’ve had less rain this month. And if so, it would make sense that water usage was about the same, Aug. to Sep. It became slightly cooler but there was less rain, and thus water usage was unchanged.

(I tried looking up rainfall associated with the weather station I’m using to feed my Rachio, MID_D1898, which is only 0.9 mi. away. But I couldn’t figure out how to get the monthly amounts for Aug. and Sep.

The degree chart above says temperature is going to drop a lot in Oct. Thus, I’m expecting the controller to likewise adjust automatically without any manual adjustments.

Best regards,

Bill


#16

If you are in Plano, I believe you are only allowed to water 2 days a week. That might explain no difference. My August and September bills were very similar, although we have odd even watering. I think others have suggested it might be better for those in north Texas to go with a fixed schedule with monthly adjust or look at the other fixed schedule option with daily adjustments. Just a thought since I know a number of water conservation professionals in your area. Give Rachio a chance.


#17

I live in Florida so I’m not sure what impact freezing temperatures have. Having said that…

We let our shrubs and turf tell us when to water by paying attention to symptoms of drought, which include grass blades that fold in, leaves that fold in, or drooping plants.

In the winter there is less heat so water isn’t lost as quickly. In the summer there is more heat but lots of rain. We irrigate year round whenever our plants show they need it.

Rachio does a pretty good job of calculating when to water. We keep it on year round.


#18

If you are in far south Florida, i would do the same as you.