Now, let’s finish the rest of the steps for how to use a soil moisture meter.
#4 Remove the Meter from the Soil
Don’t just leave the meter in the soil after taking the reading. Remove it.
You risk damaging the meter’s sensor if you ignore this step and leave the soil moisture meter in the soil.
A damaged sensor can result in inaccurate readings or malfunction. In some cases, the gadget won’t even function at all.
As soon as you finish taking the readings, remove the meter from the soil and thoroughly wipe the sensor clean.
Lastly, store the handy tool in a safe place until you are ready to use it again.
Not cleaning the probe properly before storing it is just like leaving it in the soil. It won’t be long before it starts to show signs of degradation.
#5 Water Your Yard Accordingly
Finally, the readings on the different spots on your landscaping will tell you if it is time to turn on the sprinkler.
Keep in mind that the water requirement for your lawn will depend on the turfgrass species you have.
Be sure to understand the difference between warm-season and cool-season grasses. These will determine whether they are low-water or high-water grasses.
Also, the water needs of your lawn will depend on whether you have tall grasses or short ones.
Here is a summary of the approximate water requirement of some popular lawn types:
Kentucky bluegrass – 1.2 inches of water per week (for green turf) or 0.7 inches of water per week (for dormant turf).
Bermuda or zoysia – 0.5 inches of water per week (for green turf) or 0.2 inches of water per week (for dormant turf).
Buffalograss – 0.3 inches of water per week (for green turf) or 0.2 inches of water per week (for dormant turf).
Perennial ryegrass – 1.5 inches of water per week (for green turf) or 1.0 inches of water per week (for dormant turf).
Tall fescue – 0.8 inches of water per week (for green turf) or 0.5 inches of water per week (for dormant turf).
Note that the water requirement for green turf will keep the lawn green and growing. On the other hand, using the lower water volume will keep the lawn alive, but it may turn brown.
Quick Tips for Troubleshooting a Soil Moisture Meter
Even the fanciest soil moisture meters are pretty straightforward gadgets and easy to understand.
But you can’t rule out a few problems. Here are some tips to help you fix the likely issues you may encounter with your soil moisture meter.
If the needle doesn’t move when you insert the probe in the soil, don’t dip the probe in water to see if the meter is working.
The tool is designed to work in soil only and not water. Instead, remove the probe and wipe it clean.
Next, saturate some soil with water and insert the probe. It might be faulty if the needle still doesn’t move. If the needle is bouncing all around the display, try inserting the probe in another spot.
There might be a rock or metal under the soil that’s touching the probe and not allowing the needle to settle.
Regardless of whether your yard is covered with St. Augustine grass or Kentucky bluegrass, a hygrometer is a must-have if you want a lush, green lawn.
You’ve seen why and how to use a soil moisture meter, it’s now up to you to choose a basic model or a multifunctional gadget.
No matter which you pick, both options work just fine. Before you turn on the sprinklers, make sure to take the guesswork out of watering!
Rebecca Vargas is an experienced gardener and landscaper and has been rendering professional services for many years. Her services cover both private homes and commercial properties. Leveraging that rich experience, Rebecca Vargas now dedicates a chunk of time to show just about anyone how to maintain their garden and yard, whether at home or workplace. GreenIQ is his way of reaching and teaching millions of homeowners across the globe about proper gardening and lawn care practices.