System cost: $600.00 plus shipping costs
Development of the global tree monitoring system was funded by a private grant and from contributions from people like you that appreciate trees for the beauty and support of life they bring to this earth. The development of these experimental systems was very time consuming and expensive, and we do not make a profit from the sale of the devices. In fact, the price is far less than the cost of parts and labor of putting them together.
There are some important site criteria that need to be met before we can confirm it as an appropriate host location. This document provides an overview of the location and tree criteria. If you believe your location meets the basic criteria, please fill out and submit the form below. We will then contact you for a brief phone or Zoom consultation.
"Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale them to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish."
-- Munia Khan
"Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth."
-- Herman Hesse
Monitoring of tree electrical activity globally is a new endeavor that has not been done before. There is much that we do not yet know. By hosting a tree monitor, you will truly be a citizen scientist helping to generate new questions for us to explore in the global laboratory.
The tree monitoring system consists of a Remote Tree Unit (RTU) and a base station. The RTU is placed on the tree to be monitored and continuously measures the electrical voltage potentials generated by the tree and the electrical potentials between the earth and the tree. The base station receives the measurement data from the RTU via a low power radio transceiver, and in turn transmits the data to a cloud server through your Wi-Fi internet connection.
Because the system relies on low power radio waves and an internet connection, the location of the tree to be monitored must be in or near the line of sight to the home or building where the base station will be located. The base station must be kept indoors, have access to a power outlet, and be within range of your Wi-Fi router.
While the system is not difficult to install, you will need to use some hand tools (hammer, screwdriver, wire cutters, wire strippers, chisel, and a knife). You will need to attach the RTU to a tree and remove small areas of bark from the tree to attach electrodes. A 4 ft ground rod will also need to be driven into the soil near the tree.
You will also need access to either a Mac computer or a Windows 10 PC for initial setup using the Base Station Manager software.
Select a tree that has 6-inch (15 CM) or greater diameter (distance across the tree trunk) at chest height (approximately 4 to 5 feet or 120 to 150 CM) from the ground. The tree should be at least 25 feet tall (7.5 meters). Select a tree that is healthy with a generally round trunk cross-section.
Tree Selection
The tree’s location should be within approximately 300 ft. and have a clear line of sight to the building where the base station will be located. Radio waves from the transmitter are reduced by vegetation and obstacles, so choose a tree where the straight-line path between the tree and base station has good clearance.
The tree should also be in a spot that receives as much direct sunlight as possible year-round, so that the solar panel can keep the RTU battery charged. If the solar panel does not receive enough direct sunlight close to the tree, the panel can be placed further away where it can receive more sunlight. The panel comes with 25 ft (7.5 meters) of cable. The cable has to be safely connected between the solar panel and the RTU in a way that is protected from damage by lawn mowers, pets, yard activities, etc. and run so that it does not create a tripping hazard. If the tree is located near a source of AC power, you will have the option of using a small battery charger rather than a solar panel.
Keep in mind that the sun is higher in the sky during the summer and much lower in the winter, and there may be trees, buildings, or other obstacles that block the sun from getting to the solar panel during the seasonal extremes. The RTU battery will keep the system operating for several weeks during cloudy weather, but if the sun is blocked for longer periods the battery will eventually run down.
Tree Selection

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