What good are weather stations?

Is a weather station really useful? For those who have a weather station, how do you use the information from one in your gardening?
I must admit, I am tempted to get one but then again I love electronic gadgets. Can you talk me into getting one?

NO!!! I wouldn’t do that to a person. I have none and I am ecstatically happy

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I don’t think such gadgets are that helpful. (Unless you can make use of it as a ‘teaching’ resource for your students…and make it a ‘tax deduction’!)


I have never tried a real one, I just get indoor outdoor thermometers, that helps to understand how cold hardy plants are, and they can be used to monitor the temperature, and the humidity when propagating. The sensors can be used indoors as well, they don’t have to be used outdoors.

I have 20 apple trees on my backyard lot in town. I have codling moths. Also, I have a weather station. The weather station helps me log outdoor temperatures to know when to spray for codling moths.

I could do this with a piece of paper and TV weather reports, but I live in a microclimate. (Most people do.) My microclimate is significantly different from that at the airport where the TV stations get their readings. I believe that the difference in predicted codling moth emergence between my backyard and the airport is as much as five days.

I take the trouble to maintain my backyard weather station and log its readings for the improved accuracy of codling moth treatment. I believe it’s worth it.

Here’s too much information (TMI™).


I think they can be incredibly useful, but are by no means necessary. As @CRhode says, you can use it to predict insect emergence, or you can get a better handle on what your microclimate is and what varieties will do well in your yard. Plus, it’s just interesting (to me, anyway). I would like to get one, but I don’t have any spots in the yard that would meet the requirements for reliable measurements, especially wind. I might still get a temp and rainfall one someday.

Yes: if your current instrument readings vary much from the official regional station as reported on TV or in newspaper, then a weather station could be useful. One alternative is to use data from the wunderground website. Zoom in on their map for your location and see if anyone is operating a station nearby. Some of these hobbyist stations are very elaborate. Some have historical data.


I’ve been thinking about employing the Phrenonogy extension to WeeWX for the same purpose. Have you found it useful enough to be worthwhile?

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I have one, an AcuRite. It’s a nice tool but not vital.

Tracks my rainfall and also can serve as a way to assess freeze danger. I have two temperature sensors - one at the top of the hill, one at the bottom.

The anemometer is crap though. It might just be the location, or too many obstacles, but it has never registered a wind speed greater than 21 mph, and I know that’s complete BS.

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I used to have one I really liked. It would take and monitor 4 thermometers.

I would use one in the front yard (south), one in the back yard (north), one in the front enclosed porch and one in my canning/dormant storage room in the basement. The last one was particularly helpful because I wanted that room to stay cold, but not much below 30 degrees.

The last couple I’ve bought/looked into don’t offer such monitoring.


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I have one and I’m very happy to have it. When we get spring freezes, or 115 degree summers, its nice to know what the trees are experiencing.

I have a thermostat on the side of my house I can read online, and the weather station, positioned in one of the orchard sections, uploads and I can pull data over time using an app on my phone.

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That’s definitely a nice feature! I’ve been wanting to log the temps in my unheated enclosed porch, my garage, and the back basement steps to determine the “best” location to overwinter potted plants. I’ve been toying with iButton style temp loggers, but having it integrated with a weather station would be even better.

I have this one


Love it

Main use for me is to compare my local to what weatherman says. I’m routinely 8 degrees lower for the low at night. That good info

Also it saves a minute history on the cloud. So I could tell you when things happened historically. Including inside temperature in my house

Love it

Yes, but I’m the designer and author. The last season was the cleanest crop I’ve ever achieved with respect to insect damage. I think my relying on the computer models to dictate when to spray (and then actually doing it promptly) is mostly responsible, although dormant-oil application and nuking plum curculios at petal-fall, which are not scheduled according to the codling-moth models, contribute.

Over the last couple of years, my extension has gone through one revision and is due for another to make sure it’s compatible with a soon-to-be-released new version of WeeWX by Tom Keffer and Matthew Wall. The extension aims to provide a general-purpose framework for Degree-Days types of calculations. There are several. There are many models that predict insect and crop development based off such calculations. Given the general type of calculation and the parameters that a model needs, the extension will plot a graph of Cumulative Degree-Days showing developmental stages that have passed according to the temperature record.

  • phrenology: In popular usage, the obsolete physiological hypothesis … that the mental faculties and traits of character are shown on the surface of the head or skull; craniology. It is considered a pseudo-science by all reputable medical personnel.

  • phenology: The science of the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena, as the migrations and breeding of birds, the flowering and fruiting of plants, etc.

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Ah. Should have noticed that.

That sounds like a pretty good endorsement. I’ll have to rig up something, perhaps a USB-to-Ethernet adapter, to pull data from the Davis weather station on the other end of our house to the Mac in my office that would run WeeWX.

Apologies for the “phrenology” typo. My fingers have (tiny) minds of their own.

I use mine for:

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The Weatherflow Tempest is a pretty nice set-it-and-forget-it home weather station. I really appreciate that there are no moving parts for rain/wind measuring.

Currently of value to me knowing my microclimate temp which like others can vary fairly a lot from the official temp at our airport.

I may just have to check out WeeWX and @CRhode 's phenology extension as well though. Very interesting…

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BG1977: Interesting comment on the AcuRite. Mine is a model 01536 and when I first installed it, I blew at the wind gauge cups. The display read 22mph, seemed about right.

But since then, I would say it registers 1/2 to 1/3 values of the wind speeds. Max reading over an entire year was 16mph.

The precip and temperature readings seem accurate.

I also have a $100 one from Ambient from Amazon, not currently offered. It doesn’t have a display, I communicate view with phone, upload to web. I think I can view from PC also, but generally don’t.

The charting interface on the phone kind of sucks, but is useable and hugely better than nothing.

I find it useful enough that I’d now be willing to get something more expensive if better interface, more accurate, more convenient. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the precipitation and wind measurements, mostly I care about the temperature.

I have an AcuRite system with 4 outdoor sensors, two in a greenhouse, two outside. The batteries can give out suddenly, so the extras serve as backups. It only does temperature and humidity, and the humidity is totally useless.

It has a phone app so I can see high and low temp graphs for various times. The best feature is an alarm that can warn if the power goes off in the greenhouse and it starts to freeze. It’s also interesting to see how different the lows can be compared to the local official weather station (I’m usually a few degrees warmer). You can move the sensors around to see all the microclimates around the yard as well. It’s surprising how much difference there can be just a few feet away

Fun toy for plant nerds, but not really essential.