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Evaluation of Soil Moisture Sensors, and Their Use to Control Irrigation Systems for Containers in the Nursery Industry

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  054056,  2005 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.19481) @2005
Authors:   Camilo Cornejo, Dorota Z. Haman, Thomas H. Yeager
Keywords:   Moisture sensors, non-soil growing media, containers, nursery, computer controlled

Water savings are important from an economical and environmental point of view. The nursery industry accounts for a large amount of the water used for agricultural purposes. The high porosity of substrates used to grow plants in containers affects the precision of moisture sensors, hence the need to evaluate their efficacy in this type of growing media. This paper describes studies that use time domain reflectometry (TDR) and tensiometers as soil moisture sensors in conjunction with a computer controlled irrigation system. Both sensors have their advantages and disadvantages, however, compared against a common timer-controlled system the TDR system accounted for water savings above 60%, and with the tensiometers the savings were around 50%.

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