PACE Turf - Turfgrass Information Center

2009 International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis

11th International Symposium on Soil and Plant Analysis Plenary Session 2: Turf and Landscape

Spatial Analysis and Remote Sensing for Precision Turfgrass Management

By: Larry Stowell, PACE Turf, San Diego, California

While precision farming has enjoyed increasing adoption over the past several years, the concept of precision turfgrass management is still in its infancy. However, with the introduction of sensors such as the GreenSeeker by NTech Industries, Inc., interest in GPS and GIS has been growing. This presentation will describe development and potential applications for remote sensing (aerial, hand held, and equipment mounted sensors) coupled with GPS and GIS in turfgrass management and diagnostics. Case studies conducted at golf courses, a professional baseball field and a thoroughbred racing track will be used to illustrate the benefits of using sensors as management tools that can help to reduce inputs and improve turf quality. Factors evaluated include turfgrass nitrogen status, soil salinity, soil moisture, irrigation distribution, and soil compaction.

Sensors used in these studies include the GreenSeeker NDVI sensor and a Geonics EM-38 electrical conductivity meter mounted on utility cart-drawn sled, a handheld Spectrum Technologies CM1000 chlorophyll meter, a handheld Spectrum Technologies TDR-300 soil moisture sensor, and the Spectrum Technologies SC900 soil compaction meter. A Trimble AgGPS132 GPS receiver set to beacon was used for sub-meter GPS location and Recon TDS400 hand held computer running HGIS software by StarPal and a B&B Electronics 232BSS-4 smart switch multiplexer were used for data acquisition. Handheld digital photography was also used to provide another method for visualizing results, with digital images analyzed using SigmaScan by Systat Software Inc.

Currently, use of spatial analysis and sensor systems is primarily restricted to academic and professional advisors, but adoption of GPS and GIS by end-users in the turf industry may become more widespread as economic pressures result in the need to reduce the cost of labor, fertilizer, pesticides, fuel and irrigation water at large turfgrass sites.

Presentation (3.6 MB pdf)

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