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Soilmote

The Breakdown of Soil and it’s Moisture

Let’s talk about soil, soil moisture, and the Soilmote. Say that three times fast!

So, first question, what is soil made of? It is the mixture of minerals, dead and living organisms, water, and air. Pretty interesting right? Put all of those things together and they create soil. 

Soil is classified into 12 “soil orders” based on how it can be used. This takes a look at the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological properties. Each of the 12 soil orders end in “sol” which is derived from the latin word “solum”, meaning soil or ground. 

Did you know that each state and territory in the United States has a representative soil? The state soil of New York, where we make the Soilmote, is Honeoye Soil. Want to know what your state soil is? Check out Soil Science Society of America

Now let’s talk about soil moisture. 

According to the Earth Science Office at NASA, soil moisture is a key variable in controlling the exchange of water and heat energy between the land surface and the atmosphere through evaporation and plant transpiration.

Generally, however, soil moisture is the water that is held in the spaces between soil particles.

The data from tracking soil moisture can be used for many things. For instance, reservoir management, early warning of droughts, irrigation scheduling, crop yield forecasting, and keeping your house plant alive. Cornell University’s dept of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences are currently using the Soilmote to measure seasonal changes to soil moisture.

It’s pretty important. 

So how do you measure soil moisture?  One way to look at this is recognizing soil as many different sized particles which don’t fit together neatly. This leaves empty spaces between the particles. Once you pour water onto the soil it fills those spaces. 

This is where the Soilmote comes in. 

When you stick the probe into the soil it uses capacitance to measure the soil moisture. Unlike conductivity or resistance based sensors which are biased by salts and fertilizers found in soil, it provides a fast accurate reading. (Those other sensors are also well known for “drift”. They work great for a few weeks, then become useless).

The Soilmote compares the empty spaces to the full spaces. It takes this comparison and calculates the volumetric water content. That is the reading you receive from your Soilmote on your Zynect app. It is also why it is important to completely push the green probe into the soil you are measuring

In conclusion, you can ask the app to alert you if there is too much water or not enough with setpoints. It’s pretty simple and this is one the most accurate ways to monitor soil moisture. 

Check out our YouTube informational video discussing the Soilmote and how it works!

There you have it. Soil moisture is pretty important. We have a way to monitor it. Get your Soilmote today!

Categories
Soilmote

Making sense of caring for your potted Christmas tree

Here at Zynect, we take saving the environment seriously. We are always looking for ways to lessen our carbon footprint. One way to do this during the holiday season is by purchasing a potted Christmas tree, rather than cutting one down. This way you can plant it back into the earth after the holidays are over. There are also a number of services which will look after the tree for you, so you can use the same one next year.

Potted Christmas tree with Soilmote

Now that you have decided to trade in your christmas tree stand for a pot with soil, you need to care for your tree a little differently. These 3 tips can keep your tree alive and at optimal health this holiday season.

The first thing you want to take notice of is that the pot has proper drainage. You will need to water your tree, just as you would a cut tree, but you don’t want to overwater which can cause root rot. Under watering could also cause the tree stress which can cause the needles to turn brown and drop. 

Soilmote inserted in Potted Christmas tree.

This is where the Soilmote comes in. The Soilmote measures soil moisture and can help you keep your tree well watered, without over or under watering. The sensor monitors 0% to 100% volumetric water content. The data comes straight to the Zynect app on your smartphone. You can set alerts so you will know if your tree needs more or less water for optimal health. Pretty cool right?

These next 2 tips are pretty important too, no app needed. 

Make sure you keep your tree away from excessive heat like your radiator or fireplace. This will make sure your tree doesn’t dry and get brown needles. It is also a safety precaution as well, making sure your tree does not catch on fire. 

Lastly, you want to wait as long as possible to bring in your tree. Keeping it indoors longer than 10 to 12 days can cause adjustment issues with the tree when planted outside. 

Following these tips will help ensure you have a happy and healthy tree. You get to be festive and kind to the environment. It’s a win/win.

Happy Holidays!