Trees and Soil Moisture

I don’t remember what thread this was in but someone commented on trees using water in their turf area. While I was on the road this week for work had this exact scenario come up but on a golf green in the DFW area. The first picture shows the satellite view from above w/ shade being cast across the green from a large live oak. The second photo are the actual soil moisture readings from the green and you can notice how much moisture the tree is actually pulling from the green.

I found my picture of the green surface to correspond to the above visual representation.

1 Like

Wow, that is more extreme that I would have thought!

1 Like

@tmcgahey, I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture of the actual putting surface b/c at the time it was showing no signs of stress. It was a cloudy drizzly morning but soon got to the mid to upper 90’s w/ 100’s the following day, so the superintendent actually caught it before the turf exhibited any signs of stress.

1 Like

@gaustin Do you know how they were able to capture the soil moisture levels shown in these pictures? This is what Rachio SHOULD be. There are many many flaws in their model which anyone with experience with environmental systems would be able to see from a mile away. Not having soil moisture data total blends the huge number of variables at play into a very imprecise model which is only suitable for homogenous climatic areas like the midwest or something. I live in Mill Valley, CA and within a 1/4 mile you can get microclimates with 25+ degree differences. Rachio’s models are next to worthless here.

Yes, @Deschutes, the picture above is how I captured those readings. It’s a GPS enabled, cloud based, portable soil probe that reads moisture, EC, soil temperature, canopy temperature and soil salinity. I sell these to people maintaining high end turf i.e. golf courses and sports turf managers.

I have talked some on where Rachio falls short on soil moisture but they do an adequate job for the cost of their controller. I have actually taken many readings in my own yard and if setup properly they track the needs of the turf fairly well. I’m just north of Houston, Tx and I haven’t seen much rain in the last two months with temperatures over a 100 degrees(actually breaking 100yr old records). My yard is holding up fairly well and I’m restricted to only watering two days a week.

This area was watered yesterday morning and has to make it to Tuesday morning before it waters again.

I believe their are a few guys in this community that are in harsher environments than me and do quite well with the Rachio. They are also willing to share that knowledge with others. The technology is definitely available to get the readings you seek but what would you be willing to pay for such technology?

Great to know that the magic behind the scenes of the Rachio does a decent job of estimating moisture content, even if its not drawing form empirical readings that are unique to our yard.

1 Like