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Precision Nitrogen Management for Golf Course Fairways

Michael G Carlson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Increasing nitrogen (N) use efficiency on golf courses is important as nutrient application restrictions have increased since 2006. Precision turfgrass management (PTM) is suggested to improve input use efficiency of turfgrass systems. The objectives of this research were to: 1) summarize PTM research and propose an agenda to promote adoption, 2) quantify the relationship between turfgrass canopy reflectance, growth rate, and visual quality, 3) quantify spatial and temporal variability of fairway turfgrass and test the accuracy of reflectance to monitor spatial and temporal variability of fairway growth, and 4) develop and test novel remote sensing-based variable rate N (VRN) fertilizer application system. In chapter 1, a systematic review of precision turfgrass research reported only 6% of research focused on developing models or decision support systems. In chapter 2 a small plot field study was performed by applying varying N rates resulted in a variable relationship among growth rate, visual quality, and canopy reflectance. Growth rates ranged from 4.84 to 22.9 kg ha–1 d–1 in 2019 and from 6.05 to 17.8 kg ha–1 d–1 in 2020 to achieve the ideal visual quality of 6 to 7. In chapter 3 a field study was performed at a Jim Ager Memorial Junior Golf Course in Lincoln, NE to quantify the spatial variability of turfgrass growth on three of the fairways. Growth rate and canopy reflectance of the fairways varied from May to September, whereas the canopy reflectance-based site-specific management units reduced the variability of growth rate compared to the whole fairway suggesting that reflectance can be used to reduce variability of growth rate. In chapter 4, the six remaining fairways at the golf course in Lincoln, NE were used for a field study to test the remote sensing-based VRN fertilizer application systems. A Threshold-based VRN system reduced processing time to create prescription VRN application maps and total N applied. Precision nutrient management is possible with remote sensing based VRN application systems and site-specific management unit delineation.

Subject Area

Agronomy|Horticulture|Remote sensing

Recommended Citation

Carlson, Michael G, "Precision Nitrogen Management for Golf Course Fairways" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI29162869.