Use of the gypsum sensor

How to install the gypsum sensor?

The plaster sensor of the probe is buried in the ground and is intended to remain permanently to allow the management of the water supply. The connector at the end of the sensor remains outside the ground and can, for example, be fixed to a stake for greater convenience. 

The plaster sensor is installed at a depth of about 15 cm:

  • at the foot of the tree, in the truffle harvesting area, or « brulé » – pay attention to the location of the probe when working the soil
  • or at the end of the tree line, for a young truffle field for example, in order not to interfere with more frequent tillage

There are some non-negligible factors that can influence the pF measurement. For an optimal measurement and an efficient monitoring of the pF, it will be advisable to follow scrupulously the detailed protocol of installation of the probe in the ground (provided with the equipment) and illustrated in the video tutorial below.

How to make the plaster probe operational?

The gypsum sensor does not require any calibration, it will naturally equilibrate with the soil in a few days and will be fully operational after homogenization with its surrounding soil, after a heavy rain for example. If rain is not expected, it is recommended that the area be intensively watered after the probe is installed.

How many probes to install on a site?

It is possible to set up a whole network of probes on the whole plantation or to equip only some trees or plots of the plantation. The number of probes to be installed will depend mainly on the characteristics of the terrain. If the texture and/or physico-chemical composition of the soil is heterogeneous over the entire surface, it is recommended that probes be installed in each different sub-parcel of the site. 

How long does a gypsum sensor last? 

Once installed, the gypsum sensor have a lifespan of 2 to 5 years depending on the nature of the soil. It is recommended that the probes be removed during the winter to further extend their life.

What precautions should be taken? 

There are some non-negligible factors that can influence the pF measurement. 

For an effective measurement, it is important to ensure that the probe is in direct contact with the soil by removing any large stones near the probe, or even by sieving them roughly. However, be careful not to deviate from the actual site conditions by exaggerating the nature of the soil in the area where the probe is installed.

Vegetation in the area where the probe is installed should also be cleared away to avoid a « wick ».

The sensor can be removed from the ground at the start of winter and reinstalled the following spring. 

The sensors can also be removed for tillage and then reinstalled. 

In case of lack of water and dryness, a bad contact or even a loss of contact of the sensor with the ground can occur. In this case, the probe should be dug up, soaked in water and then reinstalled.

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