Zones & Schedule

We just installed our Rachio 3. Awesome device but struggling with setting up zones. We have no grass, all stones and clay soil, 2 gallon emitters on all plants, (2 on larger trees)which are all established more than 2 years and 2 zones-trees and shrubs. I set up the zones on the 1st page but confused by second/advanced page. It appears footage must be related to grass which we don’t have…don’t understand depletion, crop co efficiency , nozzle size (since the are emitters) so don’t know if I should leave as defaults or what do adjust. It appears this is geared toward grass.

My tree zone schedule has it watering first time for 7+ hours , think it will flood area and 2 hr 24 min shrubs

2 Daily Flex schedules for my 2 zone .


Thank you

You’ll need to take some extra steps to properly setup drip – namely converting gallons per hour to inches per hour (aka Precipitation Rate aka Nozzle Inches per Hour in Advanced Zone settings).

For my personal method (diverges from post I’m linking to below), it is important when computing gallons per hour to inches per hour to not use the square footage of the entire zone. Instead, use the square footage for the average plant’s drip line area (or largest plant or most important plant). Basically you’ll figure out the inches per hour for a single plant area or the average plant area and enter that and that value will be used for the entire zone.

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I do suggest going to Fixed schedules temporarily until you figure out your inches per hour. Then try a single zone on Flex and experiment, get to know it. Then change zones elsewhere to Flex once you’re more confident in your zone settings. BTW last I saw, Zone area in advanced settings had only been used to estimate water usage. IT has no impact on watering. It is safe to ignore.

Thank you for all the information, lots to absorb and want to digest it all. I will use the next few months to watch the trees and shrub zones and impact.

Funny, I have checked on soil type with a large nursery-clay, a builder here in our area- clay loam and the US website for our address -gravelly sand clay loam…thoughts on best choice?

It was easier when the landscaper used our old controller and changed it based on seasons…plants looked great but hate the thought of wasting water which is a valuable commodity in the desert.


When the soil is wet and feels quite gritty, it very likely has a decent amount of sand. Assuming your soil has clay and feels gritty, go with clay loam. If it doesn’t feel gritty, go with clay. If you do find many small rocks in the soil, then it does have gravel component. If it also feels gritty when wet, then it could very well be a gravelly clay loam. That said, I’d consider local knowledge first. National/county soil mapping is sometimes very rough and soil changes more than the mapping will ever show.