Leaf Sensor

Definition - What does Leaf Sensor mean?

Leaf sensors are small tools that have been designed to help tell farmers when exactly is the best time to irrigate their crops. The sensors measure the plant’s leaf thickness and electrical capacitance to determine if the plant requires water.

The leaves of a plant naturally swell when the plant is receiving adequate water. However, as soon as the plant starts experiencing any form of water stress, the thickness of the plant’s leaves start to shrink and the electrical capacitance in the leaves change.

MaximumYield explains Leaf Sensor

Leaf sensors, also called phytometric devices, are small sensor clips that are mounted on random leaves on the plant. The first leaf sensor was developed in 2001, by an Israeli company called LeafSens.

The leaf sensor clips are attached to the leaf but great care is must be taken to avoid clipping the veins of the leaf. Typically, the sensor records measurements at five-minute intervals throughout the day. The sensors determine if the plant is well-watered or water-stressed.

Once a farmer is alerted to a plant suffering from water stress, he can quickly irrigate. Some leaf sensor systems work in coordination with an automatic irrigation system so the sensor’s readings are what tell the irrigation system turn on or off as needed.

Leaf sensors help take the guess-work out of irrigation. Farmers or growers no longer have to worry about over-watering or under-watering a crop. The sensors also help prevent unnecessary water waste, especially in areas of the world where irrigation water is difficult to obtain.

A leaf sensor should not be confused with devices that are used to measure leaf surface temperature. For this purpose, a grower can simply check a plant’s leaf surface temperature using an infrared thermometer.

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