What are you doing with the data from your soil sensors?

What are you doing with the data from your soil sensors? Many golf courses have installed soil sensors in greens, tees, fairways, and landscape beds to help manage water use. This trend was very popular 3 to 5 years ago and has hit a wall with the slow down in the development of new golf courses. The sensors tell you sodium levels, moisture and temperature of the soil where the unit is buried. The units that I purchased update every five minutes with data. Now what do you do with that data? The picture below is a overhead shot of a green complex showing where the unit is buried in the green.
I use this data for a wide range of topics. I monitor the sodium levels daily due to the fact that we are pulling water from four wells that have high level of sodium in the water. Every night we water, we are contaminating the turf with salt. A good Miami down pour is welcome once a month. When this happens, I can see the sodium levels invert showing the top layer(root zone) drop and spike in the lower level of the sensors. This is about 5 inches from the top of the turf.

This picture above shows 20 days of data from both sensors. I use this screen shot to educate my staff and golfers when it comes to the affects of rain and cold weather. Last winter, Miami had four mornings with frost and the greens lost some color but they picked up a ton of speed. We had a low soil temperature of 27.2 degrees for a few hours. Bermudagrass likes a soil temperature at 58 degrees or above. I printed this out and posted it in the locker rooms for everyone to see. Some people understood it and others could care less. They just loved the fast greens and asked why they could not be like this all year.

The biggest reason I use the sensors is to cut back on water use. I now have a way to see what’s happening below the turf. I hold off on watering a day or sometimes two after heavy rains. This saves on water and electricity and helps the course play firm and fast. Turfunderground would like to hear what you are doing with your sensors. Please let us know.

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