Since 2018, the FloraPulse microtensiometer has been offering invaluable water potential data for large woody perennials. Each sensor is installed through a 10 mm wound, which is small and harmless for typical tree species. However, this installation wound is too large for small-stem crops, such as blueberry, cotton and soybeans. But small crops need love too (and water potential data).
Recognizing the importance of water potential data for these smaller species, the USDA has funded FloraPulse to develop a more compact probe. The smaller probe, designed by FloraPulse alongside scientists and growers and tested in blueberries, grapes, and cotton, is now 60% smaller and creates a tiny 3 mm wound.
This smaller probe will enable water potential measurement in plants with stems smaller than our current 50 mm minimum size. This means measurement in new crops (blueberry, cotton) and young/small versions of currently validated crops (almond, grapes, etc.) is now possible.
By expanding the range of plants that FloraPulse can accommodate, we aim to further improve agricultural water use efficiency and continue increasing crop quality and yield. Although the smaller design shows promise, it is still under development, with widespread distribution sometime in the future.