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George Kargas, Nikolaos Ntoulas and Panayiotis A. Nektarios

Little is known about the accuracy of soil moisture dielectric sensors in coarse-textured root zones and green roof substrates. In the present study, the accuracy of two dielectric sensors of different technologies (frequency domain and time domain dielectric sensor) in measuring moisture content was investigated in six coarse-textured green roof substrates. Calibration equations were developed for both sensors, and the effect of electrical conductivity (EC) on substrate moisture content calculation was determined. It was found that for frequency domain sensor the relationship between dielectric permittivity square root () and actual substrate moisture content (θ m) was strongly linear for all tested substrates. However, for each substrate a distinct specific calibration equation of was required. The correlation between substrate permittivity and EC was linear for frequency domain sensor for all moisture levels (0% to 35%). In the case of time domain sensor, each green roof substrate was also described from a different calibration curve between actual substrate moisture content and period of time that was recorded by the device. It was found that their relationship was quadratic for all substrates. In addition, time domain sensor output responded in a quadratic manner to increasing levels of EC. This response was found to interact with actual substrate moisture content as well. It was concluded that the most reliable results for moisture content determination of the coarse-textured green roof substrates were obtained by substrate-specific calibration curves for both dielectric sensors.