Moisture Meter for Olive Trees: Use Instructions & Meter Reading Guide

This post may contain affiliate links which may generate a small commission from clicks that result in a purchase.

Knowing watering requirements for olive trees growing in pots or containers is very important since one of the biggest problems with olive trees in pots is too much or too little water. In order to help you to answer the questions when to water your olive tree and how often, there is a great tool – a moisture meter for olive trees and other plants. It measures humidity in the soil which has fundamental importance to the biological processes of every plant. As well, a moisture meter is handy if your olive trees grow in big pots or containers and there is no way to check the moisture by sticking your finger inside the soil.

So by using a moisture meter, even experienced growers and hobbyists will know when to water the olive trees to be assured of consistent soil moisture for their plants. And this article will explain in more detail how to use a moisture meter and water your olive trees with confidence.

What is Moisture Meter?

Moisture meter defines soil moisture by using its moisture sensors such as electrical resistance blocks and tensiometers in order to measure water content held in the spaces between soil particles.

 A plain moisture meter is easiest to use for quick plant checks, it measures moisture instantly and, a good thing, you don’t need any batteries. It’s great for indoor plants.

Other more complex moisture meters may need a longer time to reveal full results and may need to be charged prior to use. These advanced moisture meters mostly used for a large garden, crop field, or pasture.

moisture meter for olive trees sm
Moisture meter for olive trees is an amazing tool for beginners growers who water the tree too frequent and usually overwatering it

What is The Best Soil Moisture Meter?

The three-in-one moisture meter is considered to be the best moisture meter, especially for potted olive trees. It is easy to use, accurate, not very expensive, and has 3 functions:

  1. tests soil moisture to prevent overwatering
  2. assess a sunlight level required to boost olive tree growth
  3. measures soil acidity or pH to improve overall olive tree health

Definitely, this moisture meter can be helpful to rule out many issues with your potted olive trees and other plants and avoid the most common olive tree overwatering symptoms.

This is three-in-one moisture meter that I recommend and is best seller on Amazon:

Last update on 2024-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

How to Use Moisture Meter?

It is relatively straightforward to use a moisture meter for olive trees in pots as logs as you do it correctly. By following these steps you will use it in the right way without making the most common beginner’s mistakes.

1.     Prepare Your Moisture Meter

Unpack your new moisture meter. Moisture meter has a head (gauge) and the probe(-s) that points to the end.

Or clean the probes with dry cloth if you have just used for other plants.

2.     Insert Moisture Meter in the Right Place

Then, hold the head of the moisture meter and insert the probes into the soil correctly. The best place to take the moisture readings is halfway between the center of your olive tree and the pot, then halfway down into the pot.  This measures the soil moisture in the middle of the soil surface and roots. For larger pots or containers, it is recommended to take 2 to 3 readings in different spots to assess the overall situation.

For example, if you touch the top of the soil with a moisture meter it may feel dry. But if you stick a moisture meter down into a pot, you will see that the roots are quite wet and no need for watering. As a result, stay consistent and insert the moisture meter in the same place each time to get more accurate readings.

3.     Take Accurate Reading

Keep the moisture meter about 5 – 8 seconds as it enters the humidity reading zone. Then check the reader results to assess the humidity level in the soil of the olive tree. Check out a section down below on how to read moisture meter for olive trees.

4.     Take Out Moisture Meter

After you assessed the soil moisture, do not leave the meter in the soil for too long as it can damage the tool. After you take each reading, wipe off the probe and keep the moisture meter clean and put it in a dry and safe place.

5.     Monitor Soil Moisture frequently

Use the moisture meter to spot-check your potted olive trees and decide if you need to water it. Up until you set up your olive tree watering routine, I recommend checking the soil moisture once per week.

How do You Read a Soil Moisture Meter?

Most common moisture readers have a gauge that shows the water content on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being most dry and 10 being most wet. Other moisture meters have a color range of red, green, and blue.

As for olive trees, the ideal humidity is 50% to 60%. That means, water them when the moisture goes under 40%. If we speak on a scale of 10, the ideal soil moisture is between 5 to 6. So water your olive tree when the gauge goes to 1 or 2 since it’s a good practice to let the olive tree to dry fully in between waterings.

In other cases with a color scale, you should water the olive tree when the scale enters a red color zone and keep the plant happy in the middle of the green scale.

After watering your olive tree, it is normal that the scale reaches 10 or maximum in a blue zone.

moisture meter readings
Consider watering olive tree when moisture meter shows 0 or 1 , that means the soil is fully dried.

How to Take the Most Accurate Moisture Readings?

Without a doubt, it matters a great deal how you take the moisture readings. If you stick the probe at the top of the soil, it may show completely dry. There as, if you measure the humidity all the way to the bottom of the olive tree pot, it reads wet. This difference in moisture is caused by gravity.

As well, your moisture meter readings show a wetter close to the center of the olive tree comparing to the outside of the pot or container where the soil tends to be dryer.

So always make sure you take the moisture readings from the same exact place each time, ideally halfway between the center of your tree and a pot, and halfway down into the pot or container.

Olive Tree Moisture Tips

  • Leave the olive tree to dry completely between waterings – water when moisture meter shows green color or is below 4 on a scale of 10
  • Olive tree moisture motto: better dry soil than damp – so keep moisture meter close to the red-green zone since olive tree needs a moderately humid soil
  • In winter water less your olive tree as no need to encourage growth – the soil moisture should be low or in the red zone
touch the soil of olive tree before watering
Another way to measure soil moisture by using senses and touching the soil with your fingers. Though, you need to be cautious of moisture at a root level

Generic FAQs

Are Soil Moisture Meters Accurate?

Yes, soil moisture meters are accurate as long as you stick them in the same exact place in the pot or container. However, the moisture meter may give you false results:
1. if the tool is broken and needs to be fixed or replaced (for example you stick it into dry soil and it shows wet results)
2. if the soil has too much salt, the moisture meter won’t work when the soil is full of salt

Can You Leave Moisture Meter in Soil?

No, it is not recommended to keep a moisture meter in the soil for too long as it can damage the tool. You must keep the probe of the moisture meter clean and dry in order to provide accurate moisture reading results.

What Level of Moisture is Acceptable?

Ideal moisture for plants is 50% to 60%. It may go higher during and after the watering. For the olive trees, the lower moisture is preferable comparing the higher.

Looking for a Personalized Gift?

Adopt an Olive Tree in Greece –
Receive Premium Olive Oil from Kalamata!

Conclusion: Moisture Meter for Olive Trees

You can monitor your olive tree soil moisture by digging into it and observing the moisture levels with your fingers. However, this method is time-consuming and is not accurate. For this reason, I recommend always using a moisture meter which will do this job for you!

Since olive trees in pots need moderately humid soil, a moisture meter is handy for checking the soil moisture of olive trees in order to set up a watering routine and caring for your plants. Keep the olive tree soil humidity in the meter’s green zone and water when it is red (or below 2). Try not to reach the blue zone as it may show olive tree overwatering symptoms. Other than that, maintain regular care of your olive tree and it will bring so much love and join into your home.

Hopefully this article saved you a headache and time in checking when is a right time to water your plants and how to use and read a moisture meter for olive trees in pots.

Grab the Essentials for Your Olive Tree

Available best selling products on Amazon:

Last update on 2024-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Read Next

how often to water olive trees indoors & how much
Learn how often to water your olive tree

Learn More

Join our Facebook community: Olive Tree Growers and Enthusiasts



Are You Looking to Buy an Olive Tree? 

If you are looking to add more potted trees or other plants to your orchard, or if you like to replace a neglected olive tree, the best places to get them are your local nursery or an online nursery.

One of the most reliable and the world's largest online nurseries is Fast Growing Trees. They deliver fast, neat, and healthy plants backed with a 30-day guarantee.14400 140091914400

14 thoughts on “Moisture Meter for Olive Trees: Use Instructions & Meter Reading Guide”

  1. Hello!
    We just purchased a small potted olive tree a week ago. From top soil to the highest point, it is roughly 3 feet tall.

    Since we bought it, leaves have been falling down in great quantities. I brush the leaves gently and they fall. My moisture level is at 7/8, haven’t watered it in two days and I will wait until it dries out.

    I was wondering if the falling of leaves was normal and if not what to do to prevent my tree from going bald… it is indoors in a sunny spot.

    Thank you for your help!

  2. Hi JF, don’t worry too much about it. It is very common for an olive tree to start dropping leaves when you move it inside. We name it transitional shock and stress – it takes time for the tree to get used to a new environment. don’t overwater it, it is enough to water once per week or bi-weekly, of course, depending on overall conditions. Give it time and your tree will recover eventually and you will see new buds! Wish your tree a speed recovery!

  3. I purchased a gnarled olive tree approx 150 year in February this year ! It was in perfect condition but has turned brown and started to drop leaves ! I suspect I have not given it enough water ! I have repotted it into a large 1m pot with good drainage and started to water approx 10lts per week and iam using a moisture meter !
    The branches are still green and alive.
    Do you think it will recover and is there anything else I should do

  4. Hi Ian, sorry to hear about your tree, it may be a transition shock where the tree takes its time to adapt and enjoy a new environment. Olive trees are hardy trees and most important is full sun and regular watering when in pots. Dry the soil in between the waterings, never let the roots stay too moist for too long. And your tree eventually recover!

  5. Pauline Manners

    I have a ten year old Mediterranean olive tree in a large pot , it has flowered and looked really good till about a week ago when I noticed leaves were dropping off and brown .I have been really scared to water it and think now I have let it get too dry , how often should I water it please . I totally love this tree and would be heartbroken to loose it .

  6. Hi Pauline, the easiest way to observe the roots now is to dig soil and check if the roots look healthy. stop watering it now up until the soil is fully dry. Water once per week, but it depends on few factors so it’s better to check my extensive article on how often to water olive trees (there is a link on the bottom of the article in “Read next” section). You need to set up a watering schedule – the moisture meter can be a huge help in this process too.

  7. Pauline Manners

    Thank you so much , I have got your recommended water meter, the olive was completely dry so I gave it a big soak and will water again when totally dry. No more leaves have fallen off since watering, fingers crossed I am on the right track. Thank you so much for your help.

  8. Hi Pauline, thank you for updating me – that’s amazing news! I am very happy you followed my advice and your tree is recovering! Happy growing!

  9. I have a new 3-4ft Arbequina Olive tree and a smaller 1-2 ft one. I have a water meter to check moisture. When they are ready to water about how much water should each get?

  10. Hi!
    Another question! If the mositure meter is reading low in one spot and high in another…should you wait to water until all spots of the soil read low moisture?

  11. Hi Amy, the best is to check moisture close to root ball. If it is dry, you should water the olive tree. Otherwise, leave ir to dry.

  12. Hi Amy, you need water at least 20 % of the volume of the pot. Otherwise, use a deep watering method and water your tree thoroughly until the water begins to drain out of the bottom of the pot. Hope it helps.

  13. Hi Vangelis, i recently acquired an indoor 10 foot black olive (bucida buceras) tree in a 15 gallon plastic container (inside of a decorative pot) . I have one friend who owns one of these and she waters it 2-3x a week half a gallon each time. another friend of mine waters his daily.

    I am very confused on what to do

    When I first received the plant the nursery watered it so I waited 1 week, used a moisture meter and the meter said the plant was still at about 5-6 in moisture so I didn’t water it.

    Then i notice a few days later leaves started following so I gave it 1 gallon of water on Friday.

    Today it’s Monday and I read the moisture meter and its showing moist/wet in some areas and dry in others.

    Im not sure what to do

    It’s confusing because your website says dont water it until it shows 1 or 2 on the moisture meter but I feel if i waited til the soil got that dry more leaves will drop.

    Please help!

  14. Hi Newbucida, most probably your tree was experiencing a transition shock, and moving your tree into a new place some leave drop is expected. More about it please read my article “Problems with olive trees in pots“. as per using a moisture meter, always insert it in the same place each time to get most accurate readings and insert it in halfway between the trunk and the pot. Olive trees prefer to stay dry rather than moisture all the time, so do not overwater, and better to apply water when it is fully dried rather than frequent. Start watering your tree once per week and then check the moisture daily, if the moisture is still high, reduce the watering frequency. Also, for more information read my guide on how often to water olive trees indoors

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *