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  • Author or Editor: Van Cline x
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Accurate, rapid, and nondestructive estimates of turfgrass leaf water status are important for site-specific irrigation and drought stress management. The objective of this study was to identify changes and correlations among the canopy reflectance, canopy temperature, and leaf relative water content (RWC) of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) under water deficit conditions. Six cultivars of perennial ryegrass were subjected to dry-downs in the field from May to Aug. 2007 and from June to Aug. 2008. Turf quality was positively correlated with soil moisture (SM), RWC, and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), but negatively correlated with canopy and ambient temperature differentials (ΔT). ΔT was well correlated with RWC (r = –0.77 to –0.78) and SM (r = –0.66 to –0.74), whereas SM was correlated with RWC (r = 0.64 to 0.74) across seasons in both years. When a wide range of stress symptoms occurred in July and Aug., RWCs became highly correlated with ΔT (r = –0.80 to –0.89) and NDVI (r = 0.77 to 0.81), whereas ΔT was correlated with NDVI (r = –0.70 to –0.80) in both years. SM was well correlated with RWC (r = 0.71 to 0.80), NDVI (r = 0.70 to 0.73), and ΔT (r = –0.76 to –0.78) in July and August in both years. These results suggest that changes in ΔT can be used to predict well the leaf water and soil moisture content of perennial ryegrass under water deficit conditions. Combined with NDVI, the correlations can be used for direct mapping of the variability in grass water status, thus improving irrigation management.

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