Opinions on setting up a slightly mixed vegetation zone

Good day Rachio community,

So the Rachio is here. In a box waiting for me to run cable tomorrow to replace our existing controller. Last year we didn’t water at all (moved in late July and the existing controller has enough problems that its basically manual only). But the system seems to water fine and we just had it de-winterized and checked. We have a 9 zone system and I think I’m going to water 3 of the zones.

My big question is zone 2, our front lawn and the reason that I’ve invested in this controller (as someone who’s not really into watering lawns but also not really into dirt lawns so …). The zone is a slight hill, gets a good bit of sun in the Virginia summer, and is roughly split in half between cool season grass in full sun and cool season grass under a 35 ft pin oak.

I’d like to use a flexible daily schedule on this (and all) zones, but I see that this isn’t really recommended for a mixed vegetation zone. I suppose my options are to set up a flex daily zone and tinker with it, or go with flexible monthly watering on this zone and I wanted to see feedback on that.

I could probably configure the whole zone for cool season grass and for lots of sun. It would be watered somewhat heavily (including the half that is in the shade most of the day), but the shady grass also has a thirsty tree in the sun above it so I’m assuming that would suck up a good bit of water at the lower root level.

If it were me, I would give this a try. Even though part of the grass is in shade, the tree may help take up some of the water. Try it for a month or so and see what you think of the results.


@jus10- I agree with you and @Linn, I think this is a good plan. Just make sure to be aware in the beginning of how your plants are looking, and if they are looking thirsty, you can adjust accordingly!

McKynzee :rachio:

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Thank you @Linn and @mckynzee. The Rachio is installed and a few zones are now scheduled.

During the setup, I believe I’ve discovered that the 9th zone (the drip zone) has a defect allowing water to pour out like a hose. I wasn’t planning on watering that zone anyway (I’ve disabled it in Rachio) but that was why I bought the 16 zone mode instead of the 8. Argh.

Last year we didn’t water at all and the grass in the front had a hard time. This year I’m hoping for better! I’ve added a Flex Daily Schedule for 3 zones, filled the zones (it’s dry now but we’ve received 1.5" of water in the last week) and it’s planning on starting to water on Sunday. Let’s see how it goes!

Thank you again.


@jus10 Keep us updated on how it goes!

PS- if you want a recommendation on an irrigation professional to fix that hose, let me know, and I can hook you up :wink:

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2 things, sorry to be mr. negative but I don’t think you will achieve an equilibrium with zone 2. You are stuck overwatering the shady part or underwatering the sunny part if the sun coverage is drastic.

I think @linn is correct, you just might have to chase fungus or algae at a few points in the summer and winter. Who knows you may be extremely lucky and the pine roots are sucking up the excess, my bald cypress is pretty aggressive with water uptake.

Second, the drip irrigation is super simple to repair on your own. Where it is spewing out, see if the hose split in half, Home Depot sells .5 inch connectors in the irrigation section and just join it back together. If there is no end to indicate a split, Home Depot sells drip caps, looks like 2 rings connected together,you loop the tube through it and it pinches the poly pipe shut.


@mckynzee Sure, if you have folks in my area I’d love more options. I don’t think I’ll need to fix that zone in the short term, but I’d like to find some folks with more irrigation know-how. I have folks who winterize and open up for me, but I don’t feel they care that much about what the system is doing compared to me.

@plainsane Yeah, moss is the problem in that area of my lawn. I’m probably going to put down moss treatment in those areas when I do the next weed and feed. I also put in a request with my county and the local USDA cooperative extension to do soil testing and get recommendations. We bought the house last year and it was rented out for years before that. So grass was mowed (too short and filled with weeds) but I’m sure it wasn’t watered or fertilized. It looks … not like what you see in Rachio commercials at this point. I’ve gotten the weeds pushed back, but there are bare spots to fill, moss to drive back and much to be done. I figure I’ll start watering and see how it goes. With the Rachio I now have every possible adjustment under the sun. An improvement over “run it manually because the old controller couldn’t even keep the time right”. I will look for your suggestions the next time I’m at the depot. This drip zone was put in a decade ago by the original owner when this hill had some annuals and new scrubs planted (to prevent erosion of the hill). Today the leak is inside a 25ft arborvitae so things have grown there a bit :).