Would the Rachio work in a large yard with trees?

I’m Rachio curious at this point - very interested in giving it a shot, but have a few questions.

I have a rather large yard in the St Louis area - approximately 11,000 sq ft of lawn, with multiple mature oak trees in the lawn / around the border. Currently have 13 zones controlled by a Hunter 16 Zone controller: Zones 1 - 7 are Lawn, 8 is shrubs (azaleas, hollies, boxwoods with ground cover) and zones 9 - 13 are borders (shrubs + ground cover). I use Agri-Gro Turf Formula (similar to Thrive?) plus a Scott’s program.

My goal is to save water while maintaining a healthy lawn. I currently run every zone every alternate day, but it’s hard to keep up with the trees competing for water in a hot, humid St Louis summer. My lawn (cool season fescue) is generally good through June and then becomes patchy in July and August.

How will the Rachio Flex programs account for the tree competition? Any opinions on whether it will be able to save water?


Rachio lets you fine tune each zone, but everything in that zone will be treated the same.
So the real question, is does your zoning match the tree issue, or do you have tree issues inside specific zones.

For example if you have one zone with a patch inside of it that gets less water because of a tree, given you can only alter the zone globally, you either over water the rest of the zone to get the tree patch right, or you water the rest of the zone right, and have an under watered patch. Rachio cannot solve that issue.

But if you have one zone for the lawn unaffected by trees and one zone for lawn affected by trees, then Rachio will allow you to set parameters that will tell the system the tree affected zone needs water more often, and the non tree affected zone needs waters less often.

Rachio has a number of parameter that define how much water is needed on any given watering, as well as how long the water lasts to calculate how often watering should take place.

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Our front yard zones struggle with this problem during the heat of summer due to some very large pine trees sucking up water. I end up adjusting the zones to over-water a bit in the hopes of reducing the impact on the grass surrounding the trees. Spring/Fall everything is fine but summer months we get some brown patches near the trees.

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Thank you for your responses. I missed the weekend deal on Amazon - will wait for the next sale to buy a controller.