Effective soil moisture monitoring in East African roses
Sentek equipment is mostly available in two forms, portable multi-depth monitoring and permanent, single site, multi-depth monitoring. Initially in East Africa, the Diviner™ 2000 portable probe was popular as it allowed growers to monitor many sites. However, as water becomes scarce, growers are turning to the EnviroSCAN™ permanent logging solution offering more advanced detail to further fine tune irrigations resulting in better quality crops of high regular yields.
An East African rose grower has developed an irrigation regime based on advice from his Sentek distributor of only watering when the plants require it, whilst developing the root systems needed by roses to grow big stems. Irrigation is now exact with continual fine tuning based on weather conditions and crop stage. This avoids leaching of water and nutrients due to over-irrigation. For example, in August the grower only watered his roses twice.
Problems with daily watering
There are two main problems with daily watering:
1. If too much water is being applied the soil is always full. Drainage will occur at all times resulting in fertilizer leaching. In many soil types roots\root hairs are reduced by a lack of oxygen causing small root systems. This in turn increases drought risk and reduces the volume of soil to draw nutrients and water.
2. If too little water is being applied the wetting zone may be too small for the plant to grow optimally, especially if this occurs at critical times. When fertigation is also being used the local EC may be too high.
Sentek EnviroSCAN systems enable this grower to optimize their water and nutrient applications.