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Never Overwater Your Plants Again With This Simple Gadget

True to their name, soil moisture meters measure the amount of water in soil that’s available to your plant. While you can get an idea of how wet the soil is simply by looking at it or sticking your fingers in it, these meters extend deeper than our hands and eyes can and more accurately measure what’s going on at root level.

“Even at first glance, the top layer of soil could look dry, but beneath the surface, it could have plenty of moisture,” explains Kelly Funk, the president of Park Seed. “Meters will tell you instantly whether plants need water or have enough.”

This makes them a helpful tool for people who are prone to overwatering, don’t have much time to dedicate to plant care, or have many plant varieties at home and have trouble keeping track of who needs what. (Your Maidenhair fern will need far more water than the moon cactus next to it.) Brooke Blocker, the founder of Outside In, adds that they can also be good for those with tall indoor plants and trees, since they can reach so far into their soil.

Contrary to what you might assume, these meters don’t measure moisture per se, but electrical conductivity. “As water is a natural conductor of energy, more water in your soil would translate to more energy conductivity, and less moisture translates to less conductivity,” explains Lorin Nielsen, the editor in chief of Epic Gardening. You can also find more complex meters that measure things like soil acidity and temperature.

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