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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 63 No. 4, p. 987-989
    Received: Apr 13, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): ktm@icon.lal.ufl.edu
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Field Calibration of a Capacitance Water Content Probe in Fine Sand Soils

  1. K. T. Morgan *a,
  2. L. R. Parsonsa,
  3. T. A. Wheatona,
  4. D. J. Pittsb and
  5. T. A. Obrezab
  1. a Univ. of Florida, IFAS, Citrus Research and Education Center, 700 Experiment Station Rd., Lake Alfred, FL 33850 USA
    b Univ. of Florida, IFAS, Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, 2686 State Rd. 29 North, Immokalee, FL 34142 USA


Fine sand soils important to Florida agriculture have volumetric soil water content values (θv) of <0.10 cm3 cm−3 after drainage due to gravity has ceased. Small changes in θv in the range of 0.02 to 0.08 cm3 cm−3 can greatly affect plant available water and, therefore, good calibration of soil water content sensors is necessary. The EnviroSCAN (Sentek Pty. Ltd., South Australia) is a multiple sensor capacitance probe capable of continuous measurement of soil water content by volume (θv). Many fine sand soils in Florida have plant available θv values of ≤0.08 cm3 cm−3 The manufacturer's calibration curve has very few data points <0.10 cm3 cm−3 θv and no data in the 0.02 to 0.04 cm3 cm−3 θv range. Because of the lack of data in this range, a calibration curve from 0.02 to 0.08 cm3 cm−3 θv was developed for Candler fine sand (hyperthermic, uncoated Typic Quartzipsamments), Apopka fine sand (loamy, siliceous, hyperthermic Grossarenic Paleudults), and Immokalee fine sand (sandy, siliceous, hyperthermic Arenic Alaquods) in two locations in Florida. Since calibration curves for the three soils did not differ significantly, data from the three soils were combined. An exponential calibration curve was developed ( RMSE = 0.0085, R2 = 0.83) This equation provides substantially different estimates of water content in the 0.02 to 0.08 range than values obtained from the manufacturer's calibration. This improved calibration extends the useful range of the EnviroSCAN to include an important group of soils with very low water holding capacity.

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