Zone descriptions


Is there a spot that describes the different zone settings in simple terms so that I can compare them? I, like many people, have zones with mixed plant types and think that this would be helpful for figuring out which zone to pick for them. I’m thinking a very simple table, with root depth, average watering duration, and average watering frequency. That way I can look and see “if I go with this type of plants, that would water this often, and I could supplement these other plants in the zone with some additional hand watering if I needed to”. It would also let me know if I wanted to tweak some settings (particularly root depth) as I transition from a previous system that may have been watering more frequently and thus creating shallower root zones, giving the plants time to grow down to deeper zones.

The awesome part with Rachio is that while you can select a “type” with system defaults, you can adjust those settings in the advanced section to match whatever you have. You could set a tree zone set with 6" roots if you wanted, although not recommended! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

If you have mixed vegetation (trees and shrubs) on the same zone, you typically need to water based on the highest need. A tree can be watered like a shrub (more frequently for less time), but a shrub really can’t be watered like a tree (less frequently for longer duration) due to those differences in root depth. A tree can survive shallow watering by keeping its roots closer to the surface (this make a tree less drought tolerant and potentially less stable in winds), but a shrub can only go so deep to find water.

Realistically, there could be HUNDREDS of variations and subgroups within “trees” and “shrubs”, so you I think you do need to make some generalizations…

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I get that there can be a lot of combinations. What I am asking is for a description of what the zones mean so I can make those decisions. Trees vs grass is easy enough to figure. But what about a zone that is mixed grass and annuals? Or a flower bed with mixed annuals and perennials? I just want to know what I am working with, so that I can make the best decision to start with, and then I can tweak things from there. That’s why I am envisioning a very simple chart, with very basic information. Root depth, average time to water, average frequency of watering. Take that mixed annual and perrenial flower bed. Am I better off saying it’s annuals, or perennials? Right now I don’t know, because I don’t know what the difference is between them. I could set it as one and see what it does, and then pick the other and see what that does, and then make some adjustments, but it would just be nice to have a chart somewhere so that I can make a starting guess and tweak from there.

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I went ahead and did the zone comparisons, based on “going into a disabled zone and setting it up as each type and seeing what changed in Advanced settings”. Here’s the chart that I made, sorted by both frequency and duration. One thing I found interesting is that the root depths given in the app are different than those in the “how to adjust zone settings to tweak Flex Daily schedules” document. Not hugely different, so I just stayed with the ones in the app because it makes comparisons easier.

So… the answers to those hypothetical questions: Cool season grass and annuals… not much difference so just pick one and see how things go over time. A mixed bed of annual and perennial flowers? That’s harder. The annuals are going to want much more frequent, shorter watering, while the perennials are going to want less frequent but longer run times. So pick one and decide how to handle the other.

Here’s the chart I made:
zone table.pdf (48.0 KB)