What happens to soil moisture readings when the soil temperature drops below freezing point?
When the temperature inside the soil drops below freezing point, soil moisture readings in kPa (kilopascals) can instantly drop to the lowest maximum. This happens because as the temperature drops, the water inside the soil begins to freeze and form ice crystals, which can create air pockets and change the physical properties of the soil.
Why do soil moisture readings drop when the soil temperature is below freezing?
Watermark sensors are one type of sensor that is commonly used to measure soil moisture levels. These sensors work by measuring the amount of tension, or suction, exerted by the soil on a ceramic block. This tension is proportional to the amount of water in the soil and can be used to estimate the water potential of the soil. When the temperature drops below freezing point, the water in the soil can freeze and change the physical properties of the soil, which can affect the accuracy of soil moisture readings and ultimately causes a complete drop to the lower minimum.
How does this affect agricultural practices?
Soil moisture readings are an important tool for farmers and other agricultural professionals to determine the water needs of crops and ensure optimal growing conditions. When the temperature inside the soil drops below freezing, soil moisture readings can no longer accurately reflect the amount of water in the soil.