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Enabling better global research outcomes in soil, plant & environmental monitoring.

DEN5 Dendrometer

With a revolutionary design the DEN5 High Resolution Tree Growth Meter provides an elegant solution to an age old issue of how to continuously measure increases in stem diameter or circumference, and diurnal fluctuations of medium and large diameter trees. For the first time scientists can easily & accurately measure discrete diurnal variations of both xylem and phloem in the largest of trees, in addition to overall total increase of stem diameter. All without the need for large, expensive, and difficult to install custom mounting frames that extend the full circumference of the tree.

Principle of Measurement

The radial dendrometer inserts into the tree along a single axis, allowing shrinking and swelling of plant tissues to be observed. The radial dendrometer creates a point of reference by locking itself in at the centre of the tree, or at a depth that encompasses the active outer radius of the tree. It then uses dual displacement transducers to measure diameter fluctuations in both xylem and phloem tissue which indicate tissue fluid pressures, thus providing information about sugar and water transport and status. Changes in diameter also indicate overall growth.


  • Daily, seasonal and long-term changes in stem diameter
  • Differentiate xylem and phloem tissue dynamics
  • Vessel refilling & embolism repair
  • Comparing carbon sequestration rates by species and by site
  • Scheduling irrigation of horticultural tree & vine crops


The Differential Variable Reluctance Transducers or DVRT’s are fixed to a small, custom design mounting frame that attaches to a single radial arm or rod that is secured to the thermally and hydraulically stable heartwood of the tree.

The primary DVRT is positioned on the bark surface of the tree and the secondary DVRT against the xylem where the bark tissues have been removed. High grade alloys are chosen for minimal thermal expansion characteristics that largely eliminate thermal disturbance. Ambient thermal disturbance is further minimised because the bulk of the device is embedded in the tree, coupling the dendrometer to the stable thermal regime of the tree being measured. All sensing elements are interfaced with a 24-bit microprocessor to provide a calibrated digital output in engineering units, millimeters (mm)

Instrument Design

The High Resolution Tree Growth Meter is simple to install and very accurate. The DEN5 can operate as a standalone logging dendrometer or can be wirelessly linked into a larger and highly modular logging network using the MCC2G Data Hub. Such independence means multiple trees throughout an experimental site can be continuously logged over a much larger area than if they were required to be connected to traditional analogue data logger, where all sensors are fitted with individual cables of maximum 10m lengths, and routed back to a centralised point. Small trees, large trees, neighbouring trees or very distant trees can now easily be measured without physically limiting experimental design constraints. Tree growth rate data becomes more accurate because a larger spatial average can be made as well as replication across a large range of trees and size classes.

Developed by Dr. Stephen Burgess during woodland and forest studies at the University of Western Australia, the radial dendrometer consists of a single, Invar-36 rod with a threaded tip that is secured into the heartwood of the tree to provide a measurement reference point.

The rod is inserted via a 3.18 mm (1/8inch) hole drilled into the tree and securely screwed into position. Two DVRT’s are secured into the mounting plate either side of the radial arm which is also fixed to the mounting plate. One DVRT is in touch with the bark and the other in contact with the xylem. It is important that no living material or bark touch the tip of the D2 Xylem DVRT as this will introduce a measurement error. Therefore the tissue must be removed and the DVRT and xylem coated in a thin film of silicone vacuum grease to prevent artificial drying at the site of measurement.

Data Output

The basic sensor output is the measure of an increase in stem diameter in millimeters (with 1 µm or 0.001 mm resolution). Provided the starting diameter and depth of insertion into the tree are entered into the instrument as configuration parameters, the DEN5 can also output; total stem circumference, stem diameter, xylem diameter, Phloem diameter. Daily Maximum, and minimum diameters are recorded and maximum Daily Shrinkage automatically calculated and logged.


Measured Parameters D1 (DBHOB): mm
D2 (Xylem): mm
Processed Outputs Stem Diameter: mm
Stem Circumference: mm
Xylem Diameter: mm
Phloem Diameter: mm
Inverted Phloem: mm
Calculated Parameters Max Stem Diameter: mm
Min Stem Diameter: mm
Max Daily Shrinkage: mm

Sensor Specifications

Sensor Type Differential Variable Reluctance
Transducer (DVRT)

Electrical Specification

Range –
(Linear Stroke Length)
0 – 6 mm (high Resolution)
500 µm or less (nano resolution)
Accuracy ± 0.1 % or 6 x 10-5 mm
(0.00006 mm) using polynomial
Resolution ± 0.6 µm or 0.0006 mm
Temperature Coefficient Offset: 0.002% / °C or 20 ppm / °C
Span: 0.030% / °C or 300 ppm / °C
Hysteresis ± 1 µm or 0.001 mm
Repeatability ± 1 µm or 0.001 mm

Mechanical Specification

Overall body length 50.5 mm
Outside Diameter 6.0 mm (smooth body)
Spring Stiffness 0.2 N mm
Bearing Material Sapphire and Stainless Steel
Standard Core Tip 4.76 mm stainless steel ball
Housing Material 400 stainless steel smooth body
Leadouts 45 cm multistrand, shielded, stainless
steel reinforced teflon insulated cable to the DEMOD.
22 cm from DEMOD to DEN5 Logger.
Operating temperature -55 to 175°C
Core material stainless steel
Cable diameter 1.778 mm

Instrument Specifications

Analogue Channels Two (2) Single Ended Inputs
Resolution 0.00001 V (24-Bit)
Accuracy 0.001 V (1 mV)
Sampling Frequency 10 Hz (10 readings / second)
Operating Temperature -40°C to +80°C


Internal Battery Specifications
960mAh Lithium Polymer, 4.20 Volts fully charged
External Power Requirements
Bus Power 8-30 Volts DC, non-polarised, current draw is 190mA
maximum at 17 volts per logger
USB Power 5 Volts DC
Internal Charge Rate
Bus Power 60mA – 200mA Variable internal charge rate, maximum
charge rate of 200mA active when the external voltage
rises above 16 Volts DC
USB Power 100mA fixed charge rate
Internal Power Management
Fully Charged Battery 4.20 Volts
Low Power Mode 3.60 Volts – Instrument ceases to take measurements
Discharged Battery 2.90 Volts – Instrument automatically switches off at and
below this voltage when no external power connected.
Battery Life varies
Example A: With a recommended solar panel and/or recommended
power source connected, operation can be continuous.
Example B: Power consumption is dependent on number and type
of sensors connected, frequency of measurement and measurement duration


Data Storage MicroSD Card SD, SDHC & SDXC
Compatible (FAT 32 Format)
Memory Capacity Up to 16GB, 4GB microSD card included.
Communications USB, Wireless RF 2.4 GHz

Mounting Frame

Frame Material Invar
Thermal Expansion
Coefficent (alpha)
1.2×10-6 or 1.2 ppm /°C
or (0.00012 % /°C)
Radial Arm Rod:
3 mm (1/8 inch)
300 mm

Instrument Dimensions

Length 170 mm
Width 80 mm
Depth 35 mm
Weight 500 g
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