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Wetting Front Detectors are usually used in pairs. The first is buried about one third of the way down the active root-zone. The second is buried about two thirds the depth of the active root-zone. By active root-zone we mean the depth of soil that most of the roots are found in or the maximum depth of soil we aim to wet by irrigation.

The diagrams below show the wetting front a few hours after an irrigation.

Too little water
About right amount of water
Too much water

Shallow Indicator: DOWN
Deep Indicator: DOWN

If neither indicator is triggered, then watering is generally too shallow.

Shallow Indicator: UP
Deep Indicator: DOWN

Water has moved past the shallow detector to the lower part of the root zone.

Shallow Indicator: UP
Deep Indicator: UP

The deep indicator should be triggered only when it is necessary to fill the whole root zone.

The indicator is the part of the Wetting Front Detector that is above the ground. If the float is up then a wetting front passed the buried funnel. If the float is down then not enough water was applied to produce a wetting front which the FullStop could detect. Click the irrigate button and see the indicator change.

Why not put just one Wetting Front Detector at the bottom of the root-zone? This is because a wetting front always moves deeper than the detector after the indicator has popped up. Even if you turn the water off the instant the indicator pops up water will move deeper into the soil.


If an indicator has popped up it needs to be reset before the next irrigation. The soil around the FullStop will act as a 'wick' to draw the water out of the funnel after irrigation ceases. Depress the indicator to release the magnetic latch. If the indicator immediately pops up again it means that the soil around the FullStop is still very wet.

Reset Indicator

Water can be removed using the syringe via the 4 mm flexible tube and used for fertiliser and salt measurement.

Reset Indicator

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