Using a cannabis moisture sensor for irrigation can help growers see inside the black box of any substrate, access the data behind what’s going on with their plants, and use it to make more informed decisions. But whether you’re bringing a moisture sensor for cannabis into a couple of grow rooms or deploying dozens of them throughout a huge facility, it’s important to remember that using a moisture sensor on cannabis plants isn’t a matter of plug-and-play. As highly precise scientific instruments, a range of factors – from the number of sensors per room, to how they’re installed, to how they’re maintained, and more – can impact performance and lead to inaccuracies. To help cultivators get the most from every cannabis moisture sensor at their facility, we put together the following best practices (informed by three decades of sensor expertise) for every grow team to keep in mind.
Best practices for using a moisture sensor on cannabis plants
1. Sensor density matters.
Incorporating one cannabis moisture sensor into a 10,000-square-foot facility will yield some data – but only about a single plant. It takes multiple sensors to collect a cross-section of data about your plants overall. So how many sensors do you need? As a general rule of thumb, three sensors per strain in a 1,000-square-foot room should produce the most average readings about your plants. Looking to learn more about sensor density? Our crash course will get you up to speed.
2. Check the installation.
Integrating moisture sensors so that cultivators can have greater transparency into their grow is a great business decision that can quickly turn wrong with poor installation. Make sure each sensor is properly installed in the correct horizontal cross-section and aligned within the substrate. When plugging into a pot that’s been used before, don’t reinsert the into pre-existing holes – instead, cut out a new space that can accommodate the sensor and ensure optimal contact with the substrate. A sensor alignment tool (like the one made available to every AROYA customer) is a great way to make sure you’ve hit the install sweet spot.
3. Consider substrate inconsistencies.
Growers using the most precise cannabis moisture sensor on the market should still expect to keep an eye out for inconsistencies within the substrate. After all, any affordably-priced grow medium that’s been manufactured is likely to have variances, even when using the same brand over and over again. Anything from production to shipping can impact how a substrate performs – even if it looks visually the same every time – so for growers seeing inconsistencies with their data, this could also be a factor.
4. Stay on top of sensor maintenance.
Using a moisture sensor on cannabis plants and sticking to reliable best practices can go a long way toward improving overall yields and product quality – but it requires regularly monitoring your hardware. For example, while the TEROS 12 comes equipped with lifetime calibration, other sensors on the market may need to be calibrated from time to time for optimal performance. And when it’s time to clean the prongs, non-abrasive cleaning agents are ideal.