First, Rachio set out to help your lawn, and the planet, by creating a sprinkler controller that uses weather data to keep you from watering when you don’t need to. Now they’re back to apply that same “think globally, act locally” attitude towards keeping your lawn greener with Lawn Champion, the first product in the new Rachio Thrive lineup.
Rachio CEO Chris Klein was already my kind of guy before we spoke. After all, we share the same outrage. We both hate to see sprinklers watering full blast in the middle of a rainstorm. Except he actually did something about it (I just grumble to my wife who nods along).
He also wasn’t sure that fertilizing lawns was a space that Rachio wanted to break into. “We weren’t interested in lawn products at first. But then when we saw how well the product works with our Smart Cycle, that changed everything.”
So what is Lawn Champion? Instead of a nitrogen-based fertilizer that runs off into waterways and causes toxic algae blooms (a threat so prevalent here in Florida that we can’t fertilize for the entire summer), it’s a microalgae that lets you restore your lawn’s microbiome from the roots up.
Applied manually with a hose and sprayer (somewhat ironic given Rachio’s other product), Lawn Champion soaks into your lawn and promotes deep root growth, making your grass greener and hardier so that it needs less watering. It’s also kid and pet safe, so you don’t have to post little warning placards all over your lawn.
You’ll start by heading to the Rachio website to sign up. Answer a few questions about the goals you have for your lawn, then find your home and map out your lawn from a satellite view (similar to Scotts’ My Lawn app). From there Thrive determines how much product you need and gives you a custom package. If you need a Rachio controller or accessories for your system, you add them to the order and that’s it.
Rachio Thrive Lawn Champion Package
A few days later, you’ll get a package from Rachio with exactly the right amount of product for your specific lawn, along with the hose and applicator. Once you apply Lawn Champion, you’ll use the Rachio app (the same one you use for your sprinkler controller) to activate your system and soak in the first application. The app adjusts your watering cycle automatically to make sure your lawn is getting exactly the right amount of water (assuming you’re using the Smart Cycle of your Rachio controller).
In about 3-4 weeks, you’ll see a healthier lawn that can crowd out weeds and better withstand drought (both vitally important things in Florida). For now Lawn Champion is a one-time purchase, but subscriptions will be coming soon.
And this is just the first Rachio Thrive product. Chris told me that, while they’re focused on Lawn Champion initially, they also have plans specifically for gardens and planting beds on the roadmap.
I’m excited at the prospect of strengthening my lawn without having to keep buckets of toxic chemicals in my garage all year long, waiting for a tiny annual window in which I can apply it. However, if you’re a big fan of fertilizer, Lawn Champion will work with it as well. Since it’s using a different method to make your grass better, it’s still beneficial if you have a traditional lawn care routine in place.
My only real concern is in the application. The Rachio Thrive site mentions they send you a hose, but do they take into account how long that hose has to be to reach all corners of your lawn? Both my hose spigots are near the front of my house, so it’ll be a challenge to reach the back of my property where the grass needs the most help.
I’ll be getting hands-on with Rachio’s Lawn Champion in the coming weeks, so I’ll report back as to how it goes and if it really does make a difference.