Frequently-Asked Questions

General

What is POGO?

POGO is system for obtaining superior insight into turf conditions, allowing better decisions to be made more efficiently and cost effectively, and ultimately resulting in healthier turf. The Pogo system is made up of the POGO Pro portable wireless sensor, the free POGO smartphone/tablet app, and the POGO Turf Pro Cloud analytics system.

The three most influential soil parameters which contribute the most impact on turfgrass health: moisture, salinity (electrical conductivity) and temperature. The POGO system provides measurement of all three simultaneously, and very easily using a rugged hardware device and the smartphone you already own. All captured data is immediately available on-site for immediate decisions and is synchronized with a cloud-based analysis application which visually identifies good or bad trends and tells you what you need to do and when.

The POGO is not just a tool that measures moisture, temp and salinity. It is a system that captures every important variable that goes in to every day decision-making. Those three variables happen to be at the heart of the agronomy focus of the turf system, but many other features we offer are at the heart of course conditioning and operational management. They are all equally valuable to the superintendent and turf manager.

How does it work?

The POGO Pro contains a GPS receiver, a Wi-Fi transmitter, and a patented multi-parameter soil sensor. It connects wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet which runs the free POGO Turf Pro app. The app is used to initiate the recording of soil sample data (user places the POGO in the turf, taps a button in the app to record the data, moves to next location). The app logs data measurements while displaying real-time analytics and assessments of turf/soil moisture, conductivity and temperature. Data is synchronized with the web-based POGO Turf Pro Cloud application (through the device’s internet connection) which offers in-depth turf and property insight and analysis.

Who is it for and what makes it unique?

For golf course superintendents who have limited time and budgets for maintaining optimal turf conditions, POGO is a portable, turf and soil insight system that provides superior insight into turf health and performance and the influences on it. Unlike soil moisture sensors, POGO is the only research-grade, all-in-one system that measures all three critical parameters, providing near real-time analysis and logging of information in a cloud-based system.

Analysis

How does POGO help me optimize my irrigation program?

Moisture, EC and temperature are recorded along with the precise GPS location with every sample taken with the POGO. The Visual Insight reports show varying levels of moisture on each zone by interpolating values between samples and illustrating with color-coded areas on a satellite map. Because EC is measured, the moisture level is extremely accurate (since EC has an effect on the true moisture reading or moisture availability as the plant sees it). By viewing today’s and past Visual Insight reports, along with automatically-generated distribution uniformity analysis, you can see how moisture changes day to day or is impacted by routine operational procedures, and therefore know how your irrigation methods should be adjusted.

Can the data indicate the right time to flush?

Yes. By trending EC over time, it is easy to assess when it reaches a high level, prompting flushing needs.

How can the POGO identify moisture issues?

Compare variations within a zone and particularly from day to day. Easily complete distribution uniformity assessments. Utilize the powerful POGO Turf Pro cloud analytics system for advanced analysis.

Measurement

Can pH be measured with the sensor in the soil?

No, pH is a measurement in solution. Soil consists of solution, air and particles.

Does the POGO directly measure salt / salinity?

It does not directly measure “Salt” (NaCl). But it does measure salinity activity by measuring EC. All salts (+ and – ions) in solution add to EC.

Does the POGO need to know what soil type my turf is growing in?

No. The POGO requires no calibration across turf/soil types and remains scientifically accurate and precise across measurements.

How accurate is the GPS?

Smartphone GPS receivers are rated at 10 m accuracy (most can actually get down to 3 meters). However, the integrated GPS in the POGO has sub-meter accuracy with a clear view of the sky.

How does the sensor in the POGO differ from other sensors?

Using the patented and unique HydraProbe sensor and its coaxial impedance dielectric reflectometry protocol, the POGO measures WFV, EC and canopy temperature simultaneously and without calibration, unlike any other sensor. Visit soilsensor.com to learn more about various measurement methods.

How does the POGO take its measurements?

Using a precisely-tuned and unique process focusing on dielectric permittivity of moisture and EC, making it the only commercially-available research-grade sensor requiring no calibration across turf/soil types. Temperature is measured using a thermistor in the plate that rests in the turf canopy.

Why is the temperature taken on the turf surface?

The thermistor is located in the plate at the base of the POGO shaft and above the tine extensions. It therefore measures the surface, or canopy temperature of the turf which is a much more direct indicator of turf stress than soil or air temperature.

Are all three soil parameters really necessary to measure? I already measure moisture and temperature, so aren’t I getting at least 2/3 of the data I need?

The interaction of all three—the effect of each on the other—is more important than any parameter individually (i.e. the sum is greater than the parts). Therefore just knowing 2 parameters is a very different level of knowledge than knowing all three. In addition, calibration of three parameters separately leads to variability in data collection methods making this information less representative of key decision making factors over time.

What is the relationship between EC and water %?

In many cases, as moisture goes up, salts in solution go up and therefore EC goes up. But this is not always the case and EC-to-moisture ratios change from many affecting variables in turf dynamics.

Miscelaneous

Is POGO available in different colors?

Yes, you can order your POGO in green, black, blue, red and silver. Other than the color, the product is identical.

What is the warranty?

The POGO Pro is warranted to be free from defects for 2 years.

Why isn’t the POGO longer?

To assure consistent sampling with straight down, complete probe contact with the turf/soil. Any tines exposed to air influence the measurements. Sensor precision AND method of measurement are required for precise and accurate measurements time after time. The POGO is designed to maximize both.

Can the POGO get wet?

The outside of the POGO can come into contact with wet grass and is fairly water resistant overall. However, do not submerge in water above the sensor area.

Do I have to insert the POGO fully into the turf/soil?

Yes, push the tines into the turf/soil and have the stainless steel base plate firmly in contact with the turf or soil surface.

How long can the data be stored on the smartphone?

Indefinitely. Historical data needs to be manually cleared/deleted by the user from the device. However, if utilizing the POGO Turf Pro Cloud analytics system, after an upload of data, the data is cleared from the app and saved indefinitely in your cloud account.

Operation

Can I communicate with the POGO Pro and my cellular network at the same time?

Yes because two separate, independent radio protocols are being used.

Can I communicate with the POGO Pro and my Wi-Fi network at the same time?

No. Devices only be connected to a single Wi-Fi network at a time, and while your smartphone/tablet it is connected to the POGO Pro’s ad-hoc Wi-Fi network, it cannot be connected to another network.

Do I need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network for the POGO to work?

No, the Pogo uses what is known as an ad-hoc wireless network, which means it does not rely on a pre-existing infrastructure, such as routers or access points. Your smartphone is connected directly to the POGO, and not a WiFi network.

Do portable devices such as Android tablets, iPads or the iPod Touch, that don’t communicate via cellular, still work with the POGO?

Yes. Any Apple or Android app based device will work with the POGO. All it needs is integrated Wi-Fi capability (which they all have).

Why does the POGO utilize a mobile app to view its readings?

The POGO utilizes mobile app technology to provide a rich user interface to make it easy to take samples, view data and make timely decisions. Rather than integrate a small text-only display and difficult-to-use buttons, we can leverage the power of touchscreen gestures, colour graphics, and synchronization with the cloud. In addition, customers can choose to update the interface with improvements and additional features as they are released.

How long will the tines last?

The tines integrated with the sensor have a 2 year warranty. The tines are made of very high marine grade stainless steel built to last through years of use in all turf/soil types.

Can I replace the tines on the POGO?

If the tines get damaged, the entire integrated sensor assembly can be replaced as one unit.

How long will the batteries last when charged?

The POGO can easily endure a full day of heavy use before needing to be recharged.

How long does it take to charge?

Up to 2 hours if the batteries are very low.

How long should I put the POGO sensor in one location before I take a reading?

About 20 to 30 seconds is typical for the first in-zone reading mainly to acclimate the sensor to the turf’s temperature. Each successive reading takes about 3 seconds.

How many measurements should I take per area?

About 9 samples per average size putting green. For larger areas, take more samples. Smaller areas like tees should have at least 5 or 6 samples depending on their size. 9 samples will give you a representative sampling of a typical size putting green.

POGO Turf Pro Cloud

Is there an additional cost to using the POGO Turf Pro Cloud analytics system?

Yes. There are packages available for various access and features. Every POGO comes with free 90 days of access to the POGO Turf Pro Cloud.

Do I need to use the cloud application to access the data?

No: moisture, EC and temperature data can be emailed in a .CSV file. However, since the Visual Insight reports use the GPS coordinates to display your data visually on an actual satellite map, we know you’ll find the value of the POGO Turf Pro Cloud application extremely high. Plus, you can try for 90 days for free.

About 90% of all POGO users purchase a full POGO Turf Pro Cloud account.

Salinity/EC

Does the POGO directly measure salt / salinity?

It does not directly measure “Salt” (NaCl). But it does measure salinity activity by measuring EC. All salts (+ and – ions) in solution add to EC.

Are all three soil parameters really necessary to measure? I already measure moisture and temperature, so aren’t I getting at least 2/3 of the data I need?

The interaction of all three—the effect of each on the other—is more important than any parameter individually (i.e. the sum is greater than the parts). Therefore just knowing 2 parameters is a very different level of knowledge than knowing all three. In addition, calibration of three parameters separately leads to variability in data collection methods making this information less representative of key decision making factors over time.

What is the relationship between EC and water %?

In many cases, as moisture goes up, salts in solution go up and therefore EC goes up. But this is not always the case and EC-to-moisture ratios change from many affecting variables in turf dynamics.

Why do I need to measure EC if I don’t have a salt problem?

If you use fertilizer, you are adding salts continually. Unless your turf is consistently 100% perfect, any problem areas may be because of a “salt problem” or better stated, a salinity problem—you just don’t know if they are from overwatering, under watering, over fertilizing, under fertilizing, incorrect fertilizer application, or some cultural ailment, etc. The only way to know is to measure salinity along with moisture and temperature, and to trend this information over time so that you see an issue before the symptom shows up in your turf system.

Sensor

Can pH be measured with the sensor in the soil?

No, pH is a measurement in solution. Soil consists of solution, air and particles.

How does the sensor in the POGO differ from other sensors?

Using the patented and unique HydraProbe sensor and its coaxial impedance dielectric reflectometry protocol, the POGO measures WFV, EC and canopy temperature simultaneously and without calibration, unlike any other sensor. Visit soilsensor.com to learn more about various measurement methods.

How long will the tines last?

The tines integrated with the sensor have a 2 year warranty. The tines are made of very high marine grade stainless steel built to last through years of use in all turf/soil types.

Can I replace the tines on the POGO?

If the tines get damaged, the entire integrated sensor assembly can be replaced as one unit.

Shouldn’t POGO measure the moisture content across a deeper depth (to insure it include the entire root system?)

No! The predominant moisture and salinity exchange with the root system of all types of turf occurs in t the top 2” to 2.5” of the root system. This is why POGO was designed to measure the top 2.2” inches for moisture and salinity. When the sensor is measuring too deep, you are diluting the measurement outside of the most influential region.

Why can’t I choose the length of tines for the POGO, so I can measure at the depth I need for the location I’m at?

Even in deep-rooted systems, the predominant exchange of moisture and salinity that the turfgrass depends on for optimal performance occurs in the top 2 to 2.5”. This is always the region you want to measure and reference against over time. By varying the depth, you will end up basing your decisions off of invalid information. An independent study has been conducted that verifies this and is available upon request.

I only have roots that are 1” deep. Don’t I want to measure to a depth of 1”?

Even if roots are very shallow (1”), due to natural capillary activity in a turfgrass root zone, this shallow root system is still predominantly influenced by the top 2 to 2.5” of the root zone medium.

Why does the POGO have 4 metal tines?

It’s a uniquely patented design that maximizes sampling size and precision while utilizing a unique, scientifically precise and accurate measurement method called “Coaxial Impedance Dielectric Reflectometry“.