Soil sensors can be a valuable tool for any grower. They are readily available at garden centers and nurseries and can save you time and money. It has the potential to give you a much better idea of how much water your plants need. By measuring the water content of the soil, you can accurately deduce how much fertilizer and other nutrients you will need to apply to your crops. A soil moisture sensor will also tell you if there is any excess moisture in the soil that can lead to plant damage or disease.
There are two basic types of soil moisture sensors. There are the resistive and the passive types. A resistive moisture soil sensor works by applying an electric charge to the soil. This charge, when applied to the soil, acts as a barrier to moisture. The moisture will then be absorbed by the soil instead of being washed away by rain or evaporated by the hot sun.
There is no electrical energy used in a resistive sensor. It does not require any batteries. The soil moisture sensor is simply placed on the ground in a spot that receives an average rainfall for the area in which you live. This type of sensor should not be used in extremely dry conditions, because it could lead to an inaccurate measurement. With this type of sensor, you need to place the sensor in such a way as to get a good reading. If the sensor has poor terrain, it will be of little use.
The second type of soil moisture sensor is the capacitive sensor. When water seeps into the soil, it passes through the thin layer of cork known as the cambium. If the cork is damaged by frost or freeze, the water content depletes quickly. This type of sensor measures the water content very slowly and it can take weeks for the reading to become accurate.
Capacitive soil moisture sensors are ideal for detecting the moisture level in clayey soils where frost has penetrated the soil. When frost has melted the clayey soils, they act like a sponge and absorb the water very quickly. They have been widely used to detect the moisture content in the most fragile of weather conditions such as the spring snow in New England. In areas where snowfall and sleet do not occur very often, this type of sensor has a high degree of success in detecting the moisture in soils that are more suitable for sustaining crops.
Non-capacitive soil moisture sensors work better in semi-arid regions where the climate is semi-tropical with a moderate amount of rainfall. These sensors measure the moisture content based on the evaporation rate and then they calculate the moisture deficit or surplus. This information is essential in irrigation systems because the amount of water that is absorbed by the soil determines the rate at which the plants will grow.
Capacitive soil moisture sensors work better for sensitive types of plants in dry climates where the soil moisture is very low. These sensors use a small electric charge to resist the action of electrical currents. This is necessary because the plant can still grow despite a low water content. It is the electrical conductivity of the wiring and the proximity of the sensor to the base of the plant that determines its accuracy.
The presence of a soil moisture sensor determines the type of sensor needed. There are two main types of soil moisture sensors available – surface mounted and base shield. A surface-mounted sensor is mounted on the plant’s base and is connected to a circuit board through an electrical connection. A base shield is similar to a small-cap and is placed directly on the soil. The advantage of a surface-mounted sensor is that it can be moved and replaced when needed.