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  • Do I really need another gadget?...hmmm

    I used to laugh when my wife used a moisture meter for her house plants and now who's got the last laugh?? I actually repotted all my tree pots because they were most all buried in the wet zone...v.bad!! Anyways, if you are new to this and have disposable income.....why not? A hydrometer moisture sensor! All comments welcome, especially those who have lost a ton of cuttings from overwatering this time of year!

    Click image for larger version

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    Eugene OR 8b WL: Capoll Curt Negra, Del Sen Jaune Gran, Calderona, and Tia Penya

  • #2
    I agree best 10bucks I've spent on this hobby
    Savannah Ga zone 8b

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    • Bry
      Bry commented
      Editing a comment
      I should have known, many of you all are very bright!

  • #3
    So far, this has been my moisture meter, but I certainly love gagets. Let me know how you like it Bryan. Click image for larger version

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    Tony; Pickens county, SC zone 7b
    WL: Atreano; Azores Dk; Brooklyn White; Dominick; Maltese Beauty; Mary Lane; Golden Riverside

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    • Otis
      Otis commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree. My wife and I couldn't be more different. Does your wife care for any bonsai?

    • RocketSkates
      RocketSkates commented
      Editing a comment
      My girlfriend gave me one (a moisture meter, not the finger). I haven’t seen the needle budge in any medium, so I’ve shelved it.

    • emik
      emik commented
      Editing a comment
      I feel like my moisture meter is not very accurate as well.... well, if it is outside of the "dry" zone, I know I don't need to water because it is rarely out of that zone...

  • #4
    I have that exact same device, but it does not seem to work well for me. I would be curious about other moisture meters. I can stick that one directly into mud and it would not move the gauge.

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    • Bry
      Bry commented
      Editing a comment
      You must have gotten the one at the Dollar store on sale. I know ours looks horribly cheap but seems to do the job. My advice...try another?

  • #5
    I used it for a while on treepots until I got a feel for the weight of a dry vs a wet pot. So I’d say use it, but lift the pots each time and soon you’ll know based on weight which ones need more water. I started to worry that the probe was as causing root damage. I do find it really helpful in my dormant collection, since it’s all sorts of pot sizes. I take readings in multiple locations in larger pots then add ice cubes or chunks based on the readings. I like ice as it’s a slow drip and keep them cool.
    Wish list. White Baca, Rigato de Salento PB, Iranian Candy, Nerucciolo D’Elba, Saint Martin, Burgan UNK, Green Michurinska

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    • #6
      Sometimes the probe end of the meter get dirty and it will not read right. I take some fine steel wool or sandpaper and clean it. I then try in in some damp soil or even wet soil to see if the needle works. I discarded one of mine and then bought another. After a while it went dead too. That's when I decided to try cleaning the probe and they both camp back to life.
      "gene"
      Zone 9 Houma LA in the bayou land.

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      • Bry
        Bry commented
        Editing a comment
        Good idea Gene....I love the bayou land...boudin, crawfish and all that stuff! Born and raised in Lafayette....probably should have never got on that Oregon Trail

    • #7
      You can buy one on Ebay for around $4 if you don't mind waiting for them from China.
      Jennings, Southwest Louisiana, Zone 9a

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      • #8
        Normally my response would be YES! Get it!

        But the moisture meter... Been there... I'm with Otis . Give your plants the finger!
        Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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        • #9
          I have tried two moisture meters and both are worthless: gave erroneous readings. They seemed to work OK in peat based mixes but not too well in mixes with pine bark or with a lot of air spaces.
          I now use my finger for most of my large pots (larger that 1 gal), weigh the smaller pots (like rooting cuttings) on a scale (less than 1 gal) or, in many cases I just pick up the pot to feel how heavy it is. (Weigh the pot, let drain, lift and make a mental note of its heft.) I used to use a wooden skewer: shove it into bottom of pot, pull it out. If soil sticks to it, do NOT water.)
          Problem with the finger method is that you are testing only the first few inches of soil. So, while the top of the soil may test dry, the bottom of the pot may be very wet.
          Worcester, Massachusetts, Zone 6a - In containers 1 gal - 15 gal. Wish list: Dore' de Porquerolles

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          • #10
            Originally posted by Vladimir View Post
            I have tried two moisture meters and both are worthless: gave erroneous readings. They seemed to work OK in peat based mixes but not too well in mixes with pine bark or with a lot of air spaces.
            I now use my finger for most of my large pots (larger that 1 gal), weigh the smaller pots (like rooting cuttings) on a scale (less than 1 gal) or, in many cases I just pick up the pot to feel how heavy it is. (Weigh the pot, let drain, lift and make a mental note of its heft.) I used to use a wooden skewer: shove it into bottom of pot, pull it out. If soil sticks to it, do NOT water.)
            Problem with the finger method is that you are testing only the first few inches of soil. So, while the top of the soil may test dry, the bottom of the pot may be very wet.
            You need a length of 2cm steel rod to jam in the mix before you stick your finger in there.

            Not joking
            Guildwood Village - Toronto, Canada - Zone 6

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            • #11
              So when they’re in the green and still failing, it’s because...?
              Willamette Valley Oregon, zone 8b. WL: zaffiro, rodgrod, campaniere, de la Gloria, thermalito, del sen juame gran, Sangue dolce, Jack Lily, verdolino, Syrian dark, rubado, sodus Sicilian, Burgan, i258, raasti, white triana, petravaca bijela, bordissot verda

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              • #12
                I have been using this one every day for months. I check each plant in 2-3 locations before I water. I have found it to work very well (so long as you take more than one measurement). I don't really know what I would do without it now for the newly up-potted cuttings.

                Also, I clean it before storing it again each day.

                Last, I think poking holes in the media may actually be good. It may help air to enter the potting media...not sure but from what I have read there is likely more potential benefit than risk of harm from damaging roots.
                Zone 8b, College Station, TX
                Wish List: Maltese Beauty, CLBC.

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                • #13
                  I have a digital moisture meter and have not found it to be useful. Mine seems to go from 1 to 9 with very few readings in the moderate zone. Sometimes within the same pot, even.
                  I’m finding that the weight of the pot and overall appearance of the plant are my best guides. I tend to underwater perhaps because I’m so worried about rotting my cuttings along with my dormant trees.
                  Piney Point Village, Zone 8b
                  W/L: Cessac

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                  • #14
                    Nice gadget....glad its helping you out
                    I bought a few myself...........I am rooting cuttings in a bin using plastic cups.
                    The room temp is 68, Temp in Bin is 65 but I was not sure of what was the soil temp within the plastic cups. I bought the cooking thermometer to measure the temp of soil 4/5 " within cups. The temp was 85 and if left unchecked, they would prob all die.

                    I would have never known that without the gadget.

                    So now using a timer, the heat mat is turned on only 4 times for an hour so the temp is between 70 and 75.

                    Gadgets:
                    1) Humidity & Thermometer $10
                    2) Cooking Thermometer $10
                    3) Timer (Forgot $)

                    Shwet from Chicago, IL.
                    Zone 5A

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                    • #15
                      I am picturing the faces of the people who read this thread that find the word "moist" disturbing... I know a few haha.

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