Zone with mismatched heads

My yard has one really bizzare zone. One side of the backyard is covered by rotors (30 ft radius) and all the way on the other side of the yard is a small area and strip by the driveway covered by spray nozzles (the center of the backyard is its own rotor zone). Short of getting rotary nozzles (too expensive vs cost of water) is there any way to adjust the watering so the spray part of the zone doesn’t run off excessively? I have a flex daily setup.

Almost impossible to have rotors and sprays on the same zone and not have them water correctly. Your best bet it to try and match the PR of the rotors as best you can. If cost is really an issue for new nozzles, you’ll have to live with the runoff.

That’s kind of what I was expecting. It’d be nice if there were a way to build in a soak period so there wouldn’t be as much runoff. Software update perhaps?

Oh, well that there is!

In the scheduling, there is something called “smart cycle” at the bottom of the options. Turn it on and it should break up the waterings and allow 30 minute soak before it finishes.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a fix for the over watering you have in your spray areas. Being that you have a mix, what do you have your sprinklers set at in Rachio?

That I do have turned on. Doesn’t seem to turn on for my zones with lower precip rates.

I just set this particular zone to 0.6 in/hr based on other rotor zones. The sprays probably put out something like 1.2 in/hr.

I became convinced to switch to rotators even though the payback period wasn’t super awesome. I don’t have them installed yet but am hoping to avoid having parts of the yard that are soggy and other spots that are dry. Part of the problem in my back yard may be due to layout and rotor nozzle selection. However, efficiency in my front yard (simple rectangular layout with spray heads, 49% DU) is even worse than the back yard. Bottom line is that avoiding the wet and dry spots may be worth more than the cost of the water. We’ll see how it works out, though.

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I think if you change the slope for the zone you might be able to trigger soak cycles without affecting the overall watering time.


That did the trick!

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No, there is no way to program a zone that has a mix or rotors and sprays. How many sprays do you have? The best solution is to remove the existing spray nozzles and retrofit with Hunter MP Rotators, Rain Bird rotary nozzles, or Toro Precision rotating nozzles. The payback will be fast, not to mention the uniform coverage you will have. Go online and buy them or go down to a distributor where contractors shop. I am not buying your reasoning that water is too cheap. Skip a couple of dinners out and get some rotating nozzles. Hunter has the largest selection of spray patterns.

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In my case I figure can theoretically save a maximum of a third of my irrigation bill, which is about what Hunter claims as well. I may not get that much in practice though. I’m spending $150-200 for the parts plus time/cost to install. I used about 250K gallons last year (both irrigation and household), and water is about $1.30 per 1000 gallons here. So the simple payback period is a couple years in an ideal scenario, more if I don’t gain as much efficiency as I’m hoping.

I could also see the payback period being much longer for someone who has a really small patch of lawn.

How many spray heads do you have? I find MP rotators at $5.74 apiece online. You remove the current nozzle and install the MP Rotator. You can do this yourself without paying for a contractor. If for some reason you have Toro sprays, Hunter also makes a Toro thread MP Rotator. I hope you will give it a try. Water at 1.33 per thousand gallons is becoming rare. If your utility makes infrastructure upgrades they will pass the cost on to utility customers.

I have 18 sites in total, but need to replace the rotor bodies (10 of those). My parts came today and for my 8 spray heads I just did what you are suggesting. I could have replaced the spray bodies as well to get some pressure regulation at the heads (inlet pressure may not be ideal) but figured it wasn’t worth it for 400 square feet.

In any case @Irwhit may have a different situation (better or worse), so I was just providing my numbers as an example. There are plenty of variables, but dollars aside there is value in uniform precipitation.

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Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like you’re doing a pretty big overhaul.

There are only 6 spray heads in that zone, probably covering only a couple hundred Sq ft. Water for me is $1.81/1K gal. I’ve other spray zones that are well sheltered, so I can’t really see that there’d be water savings from the more wind-resistant rotator spray (that and the slower precipitation rate are the main benefits of rotators, right?)

It’s the distribution uniformity that provides the cost savings. When I did a catch cup audit I found some spots that got several times more water than others. I was pretty shocked to see that much variance. Once things are consistent you shouldn’t have to water as much to get the driest spots wet. If you’re only watering a couple hundred square feet then the cost savings are probably minimal. But again, watering evenly is better anyway.