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Upcoming Scheduling Changes

We’ve been quite busy during the winter season here at Spruce! Among the biggest changes to the app is a new scheduling setup for our Connected Schedules. This change will apply to all existing Connected Schedules, both new and existing.

While it may take some getting used to, we think that this new setup model will be easier to understand compared to the existing model.

Schedule Modes – Set by Zone

One of the first concepts to grapple is the idea of the Schedule Mode. Each zone can be set to run in a different Schedule Mode. Let’s run through each of the options:

  • Weather Balance (Vary Days)
    • This is the default mode a connected schedule will water in. It’s also the mode which is analogous to everyone’s existing Connected Schedules, and is EPA WaterSense certified. In this mode, Spruce will use weather conditions to keep track of the water content of your soil. When water levels are calculated to be below a certain amount, Spruce will water.
  • Weather Balance (Vary Time)
    • At first glance, this mode is quite similar to the Weather Balance mode which varies days. The key difference here is that the user sets how many days per week to water. Spruce will keep track of the same weather parameters as the”Vary Days” mode, but instead of triggering watering when water levels are below a limit, Spruce will water a specified number of days per week, and calculated the time needed to “fill” the water levels on the designated watering days.
  • Sensor (only available if a Spruce Sensor is linked to the zone)
    • The sensor behavior here is essentially identical to the old “delay” mode – Spruce will water when the measured soil moisture is below a specified value. As always, it’s possible to use the “Learning” feature so that Spruce can recommend a threshold value for you, The legacy “adaptive” sensor schedule mode is no longer available; sensor feedback will only utilize the delay behavior.
  • Fixed
    • The user sets the number of days per week to water, and the time per day. This mode will not respond to weather or sensor data at all. Optionally, the user can have the time per day vary over the course of the year – more details on that below.

An important point is that the two Weather Balance modes will actually water the same amount over the course of a few weeks. As an example of how each mode would respond, as the temperature becomes cooler, or if rainfall occurs, the “Vary Days” mode would water for the same amount of time at each event, but less frequently. Alternatively, the “Vary Time” mode would water the same number of days per week, but reduce the times at each of those events. The recommended method of watering would be the “Vary Days” mode, because you would always want to make sure that the soil moisture levels deplete appropriately. This allows for oxygen to enter the lower root zone, and promotes deeper roots.

The Sensor mode behaves similarly to the Weather Balance (Vary Days) mode, but instead of using weather conditions to estimate your water levels, it uses your Spruce Soil Moisture Sensor data to determine exactly when it’s needed to water.

Other Impacted Settings

Days of the week

The “Always” vs “Allowed” days of the week has been removed, and essentially default to “Allowed.” An “Always” model will still be available, now on a zone-by-zone basis.

Weather Watch Settings

Weather thresholds (ie, the inches of precipitation, or temperature at which to skip watering) are now treated on a global controller level. Said another way, these thresholds will now be set once for each controller, then simply toggled on or off in each specific schedule.

This update will also add the ability to skip watering based on wind speeds. In windy conditions, the water output by your nozzle heads may get picked up by the wind and swept away from your plants. Spray nozzles are particularly affected by this. Just like our other weather skip settings, wind skip behavior can be toggled by zone in Connected Schedules, and for the entire schedule, for Basic Schedules.

We’re looking to migrate all existing schedules in the next week or two. The schedule migration will also coincide with a big app update, so keep an eye out!