Soil moisture sensors provide important feedback to the grower about the water status in the field, and this is the time of the year to get them in the ground..
We recommend to measure soil moisture in the root zone and below. The sensors in the root zone indicate soil water status where most of the plant water take up is happening. The sensor installed below the root zone gets wet when we irrigate too deep (too long).
Before installing sensors, we recommend to check the soil profile. Most of the problems with inaccurate sensor readings come from a variable soil density. When installing just above a dense layer, water may be pooling on top of it or -when installing within or below a hard layer- not being able to reach the sensor.
Relocation of the sensors is often the only remedy when soil moisture data does not represent the plant available water.