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Soil Moisture Sensor Vs. Rain Sensor

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by ck17va, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. ck17va

    ck17va Banned
    Posts: 20

    Residential Irrigation Contractor. 1 Owner/Tech 1 Helper. 200 Accounts. Systems Average 12-45 zones.

    The Toro Precision Soil Sensor looks pretty awesome. Is there any need for a rain sensor when using a soil moisture sensor?

    I've read a bunch of articles/webpages saying soil moisture sensors are 65% more effective than rain sensors. Thinking about pitching soil sensor to all of my customers:
    -No need for ladder on-site.
    -Supposedly more effective than rain sensors
    -Toro claims it adjusts to soil type automatically. That saves me time(I usually have to pull the soil type from the county soil database in order to schedule days interval properly)

    Any recommendations?
  2. bluewhale

    bluewhale LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    You're a residential contractor, and your systems average 12+ zones?
  3. ck17va

    ck17va Banned
    Posts: 20

    Yes. Northern Virginia. Mostly very large houses/properties. 30% of our clients have 10 zones or less
  4. ToroIrrigation

    ToroIrrigation LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Ck17va, on behalf of The Toro Company, thank you for your interest in our Precision™ Soil Sensor.

    To answer your question, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Though soil sensors are much more accurate at determining the total useable moisture in the soil, and therefore will save you more water, unless you have coarse sandy soil, they usually don’t react as quickly to rain as a rain sensor, in which case, we recommend using the two together to receive the benefits of both.

    In a recent two-year study that was conducted by New Mexico State University, they found the Precision Soil Sensor saved upwards of 61% in water usage, and 41% on average compared to standard fixed-runtime controllers. Of course, your individual results will vary depending on site conditions and other environmental factors.

    In one particular case after a significant rainfall during the study, the rain sensor’s hygroscopic disks dried out and allowed watering after just three days, whereas the soil sensor continued to block irrigation for over a week, allowing the system to take advantage of the full amount of rainfall.

    I hope this helps answer your questions. If you have any other questions, please feel free to call us at 1-877-345-8676.
  5. ck17va

    ck17va Banned
    Posts: 20

    Thanks! Gonna give it a shot.

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