A Decagon EM50 datalogger is suspended above a lantana crop at Evergreen Nursery. Soil mositure sensors are located at various points in the plants below.
Evergreen nursery specializes in groundcovers and perennials. Container sizes range from cell packs to two gallons, and the nursery produces a wide variety of plants. The nursery is a grower partner of the MINDS project, and the University of Georgia uses certain areas in the nursery for their research, in collaboration with Will Ross, the owner of the nursery.
Evergreen, like many nurseries, has difficulty knowing exactly when and how much to irrigate specific crops, given the changing daily environmental conditions and that much of the nursery is not covered during the year.
Research has included comparative water use of soil moisture sensor controlled irrigation and standard irrigation practices. Will Ross uses a wireless Decagon (EM50R) sensor network to monitor substrate water content in selected crops.
Currently, Will Ross monitors substrate water content in three different hoop houses twice daily. The indicator crops that are monitored are hellebores (Lenten rose), delosperma (ice plant), sedum, gaillardia, and lantana.