Rachio has been waiting all week to water, readjusting due to recent storms. I thought that it would be another day or two before it watered, but it surprised me by running the backyard early this morning. Thankfully I heard it and went outside to monitor. Because even with cutting all three backyard stations off mid-cycle, the runoff has created a significant mud pit. Now I know I have a drainage problem because the backyard runoff collects instead of flowing out to the street in the front. But there shouldn’t have been that much runoff to begin with, right?
So, the first question is about soil moisture percentages. I see in the app that it’s calculated significant depletion (as low as single digit percentages) even though we had several inches this week. What adjustments can I make to help Rachio more accurately calculate how much moisture is left in the soil?
The second question is about run times. Before Rachio, I watered each station daily for three minutes twice in a row (so 3 minutes, soak while other stations run, then another 3). Grass wasn’t dying and water wasn’t running down the street. The only time I had accumulation in the backyard was when it rained. After setting everything up in the app, Rachio had hour-long run times. Because (3 minutes X 2 runs X 7 days) is 42 minutes a week, I immediately adjusted the soil type to bring the run times down to 20-30 minutes. This seemed like the most obvious miscalculation I could have made during setup. But honestly, I can’t imagine a condition where my yard could handle 30 minutes of straight watering. So this is where Smart Cycle and Flex Daily come in, right? But I’ve just watched Rachio try to water my backyard for an hour straight. What should I adjust to keep Rachio from trying to water for such long periods? Are my soil settings wrong or do I just need to override Rachio’s calculations and reduce watering times on each zone?
Other potentially relevant info: I’m in the greater Houston area, in a neighborhood where the developers basically scrape the earth, build, backfill with sand, and then cover with sod. My lot is a year old and was graded to funnel all water around the house towards the street in the front. I set up my yard map, complete with coverage zones and each sprinkler head. And I’ve adjusted every one of my sprinklers to maximize coverage and minimize overspray.