Spatial site assessment of soil moisture and plant stress on golf courses
Krum, Joseph Mallon
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A high degree of spatial and temporal variability associated with golf courses creates microclimates with specific input requirements. Three principles of precision agriculture are to apply inputs only where, when, and at the rate required by the plant. To maximize water-use efficiency on irrigated sites with diverse microclimates, or site-specific management units (SSMUs), these principles must be applied to water as the "input". Several SSMUs were identified during dry-downs (days following rain events) by measuring and mapping (via GIS) the volumetric water content (VWC) and normalized difference vegetative index (NDVI) across ‘Salam’ seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum Sw.) golf course fairways at the Old Collier Golf Club in Naples, FL during the summer of 2006. Areas of excessive and inadequate VWC and corresponding plant NDVI stress indices provided the spatial basis for SSMU delineation. Through modification of irrigation system design and scheduling within SSMUs, turfgrass water-use efficiency can be improved.