Assessment of Narrow-band Canopy Spectral Reflectance and Turfgrass Performance under Drought Stress

in HortScience

Canopy reflectance has the potential to determine turfgrass shoot status under drought stress conditions. The objective of this study was to describe the relationship of turf quality and leaf firing versus narrow-band canopy spectral reflectance within 400 to 1100 nm for different turfgrass species and cultivars under drought stress. Sods of four bermudagrasses (Cynodon dactylon L. × C. transvaalensis), three seashore paspalums (Paspalum vaginatum Swartz), zoysiagrass (Zoysia japonica), and st. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), and three seeded tall fescues (Festuca arundinacea) were used. Turf quality decreased 12% to 27% and leaf firing increased 12% to 55% in 12 grasses in response to drought stress imposed over three dry-down cycles. The peak correlations occurred at 673 to 693 nm and 667 to 687 nm for turf quality and leaf firing in bermudagrasses, respectively. All three tall fescues had the strongest correlation at 671 nm for both turf quality and leaf firing. The highest correlations in the near-infrared at 750, 775, or 870 nm were found in three seashore paspalums, while at 687 to 693 nm in Zoysiagrass and st. augustinegrass. Although all grasses exhibited some correlations between canopy reflectance and turf quality or leaf firing, significant correlation coefficients (r) were only observed in five grasses. Multiple linear regression models based on selected wavelengths for turf quality and leaf firing were observed for 7 (turf quality) and 9 (leaf firing) grasses. Wavelengths in the photosynthetic region at 658 to 700 nm or/and near-infrared from 700 to 800 nm predominated in models of most grasses. Turf quality and leaf firing could be well predicted in tall fescue by using models, evidenced by a coefficient of determination (R2) above 0.50. The results indicated that correlations of canopy reflectance versus turf quality and leaf firing varied with turfgrass species and cultivars, and the photosynthetic regions specifically from 664 to 687 nm were relatively important in determining turf quality and leaf firing in selected bermudagrass, tall fescue, zoysiagrass and st. augustinegrass under drought stress.

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