Lawn competing with tree root system

Hi, new user here in New Jersey. I’m going to be hooking up our new Rachio controller later today and I have a question about programming one of our zones.

It’s a lawn area growing in the shadow of a Norway Maple. That tree has a notoriously dense, fibrous, shallow root system that’s apparently quite greedy about taking in water, making it difficult for the grass to thrive above it. If I dig into the soil here, the tree roots under the grass are like netting. We’ve been told by the pros at our garden center to give this lawn a lot of extra water to compensate for the tree’s needs.

When I program our Rachio, what “soil type” or other info will I need to use so the controller will know how to calculate the needs of this zone?

That’s tough if you only have one zone for the tree and grass. I would choose the crop type of cool season grass.

Don’t know regarding soil type, this thread might help.


Well it can only be one zone because the tree’s root system spreads out a considerable distance under the lawn. On the surface we’re watering the lawn here, but the reality is that Norway Maple roots just beneath it immediately drink up a lot of that water.

I’m new here too. Installed on Friday, so had a few days to play with Flex schedules before the “Water as Needed” schedules came out last night.

If you’re just looking to have that one zone watered more because the tree roots under it soak up the water more quickly than the other zones, I think you can play with the Advanced Settings for that zone. There are some sliders you can change (allowed depletion, efficiency, and crop coefficient) that should result in that zone running longer.

You might also watch this thread, too:

Thanks, I appreciate the guidance. It turns out one of our valves is malfunctioning today so I’m going to get that serviced, hopefully tomorrow, before installing the new controller. Looking forward to playing with this soon, though.


It I were you. I would start by increasing the root depth to 12 inches. That’s going to be a ton of water, but leaving the soil as it will allow the runoff calculation to stay within reason. I would also increase the slope to allow the soak interval to compensate for that tree’s root canopy.

Report back what happens, maybe we can figure something else out.

Something else worth playing with would be increasing to crops coefficient. But we really want to keep watering frequency to a minimum for the turf’s health.