Photo: Researchers integrated the capability to simultaneously measure leaf thickness and leaf electrical capacitance into a leaf sensor to monitor water stress in plants. (credit: Penn State)
Leaf Sensors can tell Farmers when Crops need to be Watered
Plant-based sensors that measure the thickness and electrical capacitance of leaves show great promise for telling farmers when to activate their irrigation systems, preventing both water waste and parched plants, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Continuously monitoring plant "water stress" is particularly critical in arid regions and traditionally has been done by measuring soil moisture content or developing evapotranspiration models that calculate the sum of ground surface evaporation and plant transpiration. But potential exists to increase water-use efficiency with new technology that more accurately detects when plants need to be watered.
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