In this video we see three different ways to test soil moisture demonstrated. The most accurate way of testing soil moisture is to use a soil moisture sensor which is one of the ways shown. You can read about our favorite best soil moisture meter review.
There are other methods you can use to determine the moisture in the soil. A real simple one is the kick testing method. Take a skewer, this is just a plain old bamboo kabob skewer you could buy in a grocery store. You can stick it into your plant like you were testing a cake. And pull it out and you can tell by the way it looks by the soil sticking to it and by how it feels between your fingers. And this one had a tiny bit of soil and when I run it between my fingers I feel a little bit of moisture so that again tells me it’s ready to water.
Then let’s try this one. This is a little harder because if it’s all its roots down in there and when I pull that out you can see the moisture sticking on the plant. You can feel it feels quite a bit more moist than this. This is a kind of plant the fern that likes to be more moist so this is good for this plant. I’ll turn it over if I have a lot of plants and I was going to test them I probably want to have a whole handful of skewers. But I stick this in my dry plant and pull it up nothing sticks to it. It doesn’t have any moisture on it. It feels perfectly dry and that was dry.
Soil Moisture Sensor Kit
Now here’s another thing you can use. This is a soil moisture meter. You can buy a moisture meter in any store and sometimes they have one rod sticking down sometimes two, because this one also tests for pH as well as moisture. It has a little dial at the top with a needle that moves back and forth and it works on electrical conductivity. And you can stick it into your plant and it will read it. This one is reading moist. It’s between moist and dry. And the thing you can do that you’ve got to do when you’re using a moisture meter after you stick it in the soil you run your fingers along the rod partly to clean it off but partly to make sure that it’s matching what you see. Because if you feel moisture on there and the moisture meter is reading dry that moisture reader is not working or you have a soil condition you need to address.
So moisture meters can be very helpful but they can also not work properly and just to see how the dry plant registers let me put that in the little meter is wiggling a tiny bit but it’s basically showing dry and that’s what our fingers told us. So we know the best that that’s all good so those are your moisture probes little things you can use and you can also use a big moisture probe.
This is a homemade probe. It’s made out of a wooden dowel. In some parts of the country you can buy them and professionals use aluminum ones. You can buy plastic ones but you can also make your own if you need to and these are very good for large plants. Let me show you how perfect. So remember what you want to do is go all the way down to the bottom of the soil to the bottom of the pot and twist it around and lift it up again and it will pull up a little bit of soil for you. You can feel between the fingers and you can feel I can feel that that plant is very soft and moist and just ready to water.
This big guy here is very full of roots and if you try to put a spoon down in here you couldn’t do it because it’s so full roots. So you almost have to use a moister probe if you’re going to find out what’s happening with the roots underneath.
Okay, so I’m going to pull back my mulch my decorative mulch and I’m going to force the moister probe all the way down to the bottom of the soil and pull it up. And when I feel the soil that’s almost dry so I know that this plant is ready to water again also but I couldn’t have found that out any other way than with a big moisture probe. Nothing else would fit so this is probably a tool that you’re going to need if you’ve got any big plants – a moister probe.
Our Summary: There are many different types of soil moisture sensors on the market. They all have pros and cons. They are an inexpensive way to be more precise in watering plants. Most succulents love to be dry so a soil moisture tester helps you know how much and when to water.