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A MoistureClick irrigation controller.

The sensor-controlled irrigation is currently being achieved using MoistureClick irrigation controllers (Dynamax), although we plan to install the next generation Decagon Nodes for monitoring and control purposes in 2011. 

There are five plots controlled using MoistureClick controllers and five plots irrigated according the McCorkle’s standard practices.  Water use in each plot is monitored using flow meters.  We are using gardenia as a model crop here, because it is very susceptible to root diseases, especially when the crop is overwatered. This causes significant plant and financial losses at McCorkle’s each year. 

Interestingly, there has been no disease in this crop so far.  In plots irrigated using MoistureClick, the lack of disease may be due to the fact that we are not overwatering.  And we suspect that the gardenias that are supposedly being irrigated using ‘standard’ practices get much less water than gardenias normally do in this nursery.