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Lakshmy Gopinath, Matthew Barton, and Justin Quetone Moss

The availability of freshwater is a growing concern throughout the world as it is an increasingly valuable and limited resource. Alternative water resources such as recycled water low in quality and high in salinity are now frequently used to irrigate turfgrass. However, irrigating with highly saline water can affect the growth, performance, appearance, and quality of turfgrass. Bermudagrass (Cynodon sp.) is the most commonly used turfgrass throughout the southern United States. In this study, the spectral reflectance and visual response of ‘Riviera’ common bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) were evaluated by consecutively irrigating with 12 salinity concentrations (4–48 dS·m−1) in increments of 4 dS·m−1 via manual overhead irrigation for 30 days. The experiment was replicated in time in a controlled environment with four replications for each salinity treatment and control. ‘Riviera’ maintained a leaf firing (LF) value above 5 (rated on a scale from 1 to 9) when irrigated with 28 dS·m−1 for 30 days. Also, the LF value did not fall below 2 when irrigated with a salinity concentration of 48 dS·m−1 for 30 days, suggesting high salinity tolerance of ‘Riviera’. However, in this study, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) had a lower ability to detect the increase in salinity stress due to the limited area measured by the NDVI measuring device used. An increase in sodium ion concentration was observed in the shoot with increasing salinity concentrations. The NDVI was highly correlated (r = 0.93) to LF, indicating the usefulness of NDVI as a tool to measure the magnitude of salinity stress. The multiple linear regression analysis revealed that the data showed a linear response to salinity stress with LF (r 2 = 0.86) and NDVI (r 2 = 0.76) decreasing linearly as the salinity concentration and days of treatment increased. This study provides an accurate depiction of the spectral and visual responses of ‘Riviera’ when exposed to multiple salinity concentrations with narrow increments.