Soil Tension

soil tension

What type of soil moisture measurement is best suited for your irrigation management?

Should you use soil tension, water content, evapo-transpiration (ET), or another type of measurement?

It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If your goal is to manage water volume, supply or pumping capacity, water content and ET might suffice.

On the other hand, if your goal is to manage plant stress, optimize plant growth, agronomic results and profitability, soil tension is the best answer.

Why is soil tension more accurate?

Water movement in a plant or tree — from uptake by the root system to evaporation by the leaves — are dictated by tension deficits. They are driven by tension and the laws of physics. Soil tension is directly linked to a plant’s metabolism and can allow for anticipating water stress, in turn avoiding it before it happens.

The implications of this are major. A slight change, often unnoticeable in water content, can lead to a large change in soil tension that could lead to crop stress. While this situation could go unnoticed using water content probes, it is obvious when soil tension is the measurement.

Tension also doesn’t have to be calibrated for different soil types and is not influenced by soil salinity, making it the most straightforward and simple-to-use irrigation measurement tool.

Since 2002, Hortau has worked with every type of soil moisture measurement imaginable, and our research has shown time and time again that soil tension is the best, most accurate way to measure true plant stress and available water to the crop. No matter the crop type — row or permanent, trees or plants — or growing environment.

Want to learn more about Hortau’s plant-centric approach? Contact us today for a free consultation or for more information on how soil tension measurement can improve your crop health and your bottom line.