How to Gauge Soil Moisture in Your Yard How to Gauge Soil Moisture in Your Yard

What You'll Need
Moisture sensor
Scale
Oven
Timer
Equal sized plastic containers, such as yoghurt pots
Paper plates
Trowel
Paper and pen

You can measure the level of soil moisture in your garden to benefit your landscaping. The amount of water that your yard retains and where it settles can dictate what processes to use and what plants to install. Follow the steps below to determine the moisture level and get the best from your yard.

Step 1 – Note Garden

It is useful to make a brief sketch of the basic outline of the garden so that you can pinpoint where the soil is being taken from. This will also give you the opportunity to draw out a table to mark down the results of the readings that you take.

Step 2 – Gather Soil

To get a good idea of the soil moisture in your yard, take samples from several different points. This is especially relevant if the area is on a slope as it will give you an idea of where you may have a problem with water. You can use cleaned out individual yogurt cups for this. Label each of the cup in accordance with the area from where you took the soil. Dig up enough soil to fill the container enough that you can full insert the probe. Make a note of the relevant area on the table you have drawn, ready for the result of the moisture reading.       

Step 3 – Weigh

To get an accurate soil moisture reading, you must weigh out the soil to ensure that all of the samples are uniform. A weight of approximately 25 grams should be sufficient. Label some paper plates in accordance with the sample and its source. Make sure that all of the samples are the same weight.   

Step 4 – Dry Soil

You can only accurately gauge the level of soil moisture when every sample is treated in the same way. You can do this by drying it for a certain amount of time to prepare it. Dry them in a conventional oven or in a microwave; in either case, make sure that the room is properly ventilated. Allow each sample to dry for the same amount of time, which should not be longer than 10 minutes. Make sure the soil is treated in the same way when it is dried—for example, if it is being laid out on a tray, all samples must be treated in this way.   

Step 5 – Determine Moisture

Once the soil has been dried out, it can be returned to the yogurt cup to ensure there is enough depth for the probe. The soil moisture can be checked with the help of a moisture sensor, which will usually comprise a probe that must be inserted into the sample. Note down the results on the table as you get them.

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