Predicting Plant Water Use


Why do we need to model tree water use?

Tree water use is modeled because it is cheaper to model than to measure.  Long-term measurements are expensive because they require equipment, labor, and expertise.  Although measuring one or a small number of trees is feasible, it is nearly impossible to measure hundreds or thousands.  It quickly becomes obvious that the size of nurseries and landscapes exceed the practicality of measurement.  In addition, models permit us to non-invasively estimate water use from remote locations.  Overall, they provide an extreme amount of savings in both cost and labor.

Both nursery and landscape plant irrigation needs can be predicted and managed with a process-based approach derived from plant need.  There are five primary components integral to developing an accurate irrigation management system that saves water while ensuring adequate moisture for plant growth.  These involve the following:

  1. Plant measurements
  2. Model development based on plant water use
  3. Model validation
  4. User friendly software development
  5. Site-specific application of above parameters to wirelessly sense and remotely predict plant water needs.

Soil moisture sensor, temperature senson, light sensor, control box, computer model, computer, irrigation control