The University of Rhode Island has called the rain gauge “the most important garden tool.” In the college’s guide to rain gauges (see excerpt below), the school discusses the use of this critical tool and its proper use in your garden. If you don’t own a rain gauge, you can find one here.
What is a rain gauge?
A rain gauge measures rainfall and other precipitation events, such as heavy dew and mist. Most lawns and gardens need about one inch of water each week. By measuring and recording rainfall, you will have an accurate account of what nature has already supplied.
Where to place a rain gauge?
Rain gauges should be placed in an open area away from trees, buildings, and other structures, as this may cause an inaccurate reading. A general guideline to follow is placing the rain gauge twice as far away from the height of an object such as a tree. Depending on the type, it may be made for mounting on a post with a screw, stuck into the ground with a plastic or metal spike, or stand on the ground with a special holder.
How to use a rain gauge?
After installing a rain gauge, you will need to check it once each day and record the amount of precipitation collected. If you do not check your rain gauge at about the same time each day, evaporation could occur and result in an inaccurate reading. Be sure to take the reading at eye level to avoid error and to empty the rain gauge after checking it. Add the daily precipitation measurements at the end of each week to obtain a weekly precipitation amount. If the total weekly precipitation is less then one inch, the difference can be supplied with irrigation.
via Healthy Landscapes: Rain Gauges – Your Most Important Garden Tool.