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Water surplus prevent watering when it shouldn’t: how to fix?

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    Jeff Benjamin

    This can drive a person crazy - After making the first obvious choices - 'Sun' and 'Slope' then first make sure you have the proper 'Sprinkler Head Type' and also make sure you set the Precipitation Rate - measure this, it is a must, the defaults may not be close. Then make sure you select the proper soil, check your state documents for your area. I also dug down, the first few inches to verify, the top is usually black dirt due to vegetation regrowth. See if that starts things before changing the vegetation type from a standard, this takes work. I finally had to change the root depth and permanent wilting point to get a good result. I have black dirt, silty loom and then a clay type base about 8 inches down, it took work to get it correct. Roots can grow to different depths depending on the soil and the type of grass.

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    Steve Payne (Edited )

    You can manually reduce the field capacity by a specified percentage. Field capacity determines how much water surplus is possible.

    With the hot weather here in the SE the past month I reduced mine 30%. This was not retroactive: the accumulated moisture was not immediately reduced by this amount. I had to add a fixed schedule watering program for the zone until the original's was less than optimal. There may be a more elegant way of doing this.

    I looked at how much surplus water was showing available in the "show graph" view of the zone watering history when the soil was dry and plants had visible signs of wilting. Reducing the field capacity by 30% would eliminate this surplus, but again I had to wait for it to age out since it wasn't retroactive.

    As soon as the original zone capacity reached "optimal" and began watering I disabled the fixed watering program for the same zone.

    Here's a screen grab showing what to modify (may have to open in a new window to make legible):

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    Steve Payne

    Actually playing with root depth (in my case they are new plantings with less than 12" root structure) as Jeff Benjamin suggests is more aggressive in changing field capacity. This seems more relevant then just changing field capacity directly.

    I didn't realize root depth existed; select "custom" under plant type to enable this setting:

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