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Gerald Henry, Rebecca Grubbs, Chase Straw, Kevin Tucker, and Jared Hoyle

Previous research involving turfgrass response to soil moisture used methodology that may compromise root morphology or fail to control outside environmental factors. Water-table depth gradient tanks were employed in the greenhouse to identify habitat specialization of hybrid bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] and manilagrass [Zoysia matrella (L.) Merr.] maintained at 2.5 and 5.1 cm. Turfgrass quality (TQ), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), canopy temperature (CT), and root biomass (RB) were used as metrics for plants grown in monoculture in sandy clay loam soil. Mowing height did not affect growth of turfgrass species in response to soil moisture. Turfgrass quality, NDVI, and RB were greatest, whereas CT was lowest at wetter levels [27- to 58-cm depth to the water-table (DWT)] of each tank where plants were growing at or above field capacity. However, bermudagrass RB was greatest at 27-cm DWT, whereas manilagrass RB at 27-cm DWT was lower than RB at 42.5- to 73.5-cm DWT in 2013 and lower than all other levels in 2014. Both species responded similarly to droughty levels (120- to 151-cm DWT) of the tanks. Turfgrass quality, NDVI, and RB were lowest, whereas CT was highest at higher droughty levels. Bermudagrass may be more competitive than manilagrass when soil moisture is high whereas both species are less competitive when soil moisture is low.

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Chase M. Straw, Rebecca A. Grubbs, Kevin A. Tucker, and Gerald M. Henry

Research compared handheld and mobile data acquisitions of soil moisture [volumetric water content (VWC)], soil compaction (penetration resistance), and turfgrass vigor [normalized difference vegetative index (NDVI)] of four natural turfgrass sports fields using two sampling grid sizes (4.8 × 4.8 m and 4.8 × 9.6 m). Differences between the two sampling grid sizes were minimal, indicating that sampling with handheld devices using a 4.8 × 9.6 m grid (120–130 samples) would achieve results similar to the smaller grid size. Central tendencies and data distributions varied among the handheld and mobile devices. Moderate to strong correlation coefficients were observed for VWC and NDVI; however, weak to moderate correlation coefficients were observed for penetration resistance at three of the four locations. Kriged maps of VWC and NDVI displayed similar patterns of variability between handheld and mobile devices, but at different magnitudes. Spatial maps of penetration resistance were inconsistent due to device design and user reliability. Consequently, mobile devices may provide the most reliable results for penetration resistance of natural turfgrass sports fields.