What are Flex Monthly Schedules?
Flex Monthly Schedules determine an optimal, predictable monthly schedule using historical ET data to adjust the watering interval and duration on a monthly basis to follow seasonal changes. This means Rachio will automatically adjust your watering intervals and durations to offset seasonal weather changes (you'll receive an alert when schedule changes are made). If enabled, Weather Intelligence features will skip waterings based on real time weather data.
Flex Monthly and Weather Intelligence
Flex Monthly Schedules work with most Weather Intelligence features. During schedule creation, you can choose to activate the following features: Rain Skip, Freeze Skip, Wind Skip, and Saturation Skip.
Seasonal Shift is not listed as an option under Flex Monthly Schedules, as this feature is automatically "baked in" to the schedule and is responsible for how your watering adjusts to fit the current season.
How does the schedule change?
Below is a real example of a watering schedule where watering increases as the season changes and gets warmer (requiring more water for plants):
Watering in March with Flex Monthly
Watering in April with Flex Monthly
As you can see, the watering interval becomes more frequent as the weather gets warmer.
Why is this a better way to water?
First, let’s understand how we pick the duration and why that can stay fixed while the interval changes. It’s easiest if we think of your yard as a bucket. There are attributes like soil type and root depth (based on plant type) which determine how big your bucket is. The bigger the bucket, the longer you need to water in order to fill it. Based on your sprinkler head and the size of your bucket, we determine exactly how long it takes to go from an empty bucket to a full bucket.
We always wait until your bucket is half empty to water. In irrigation terms, this is called Management Allowed Depletion. Watering deep and only when the bucket is half empty promotes deep root growth and makes your plants more drought resistant. When we do water, we want to completely refill the bucket, but not let it spill over (i.e. runoff). This is called watering to Field Capacity, or soil saturation.
How is the schedule changing?
Your bucket empties over time due to a variety of factors which are primarily driven by the weather. Based on 30 years of weather history in your area, we can determine how quickly, on average, your bucket should empty for each month. The watering interval & duration are updated on a monthly basis to best match the historical ET data available to keep your lawn healthy while saving you water.
How is weather data used?
We all know historical data can differ from actual weather. To save every gallon possible, Weather Intelligence features will skip waterings based on real time weather data anytime it rains or is cooler than average. For example, Rain Skip will issue an automated rain delay anytime rain is observed or forecasted, and Saturation Skip will skip a watering anytime your lawn's "water tank" hasn't reached its allowed depletion threshold.
How can I edit the watering interval?
While you cannot directly edit the watering interval on Flex Monthly schedules, you can change advanced zone settings defaults that will impact the water requirements of the zone. If you want to learn more about how you can fine tune your Flex Monthly Schedules, please see: How do I edit intervals on Flex Monthly Schedules?