Using Hyperspectral and Multispectral Indices to Detect Water Stress for an Urban Turfgrass System

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title




Spectral reflectance measurements collected from hyperspectral and multispectral radiometers have the potential to be a management tool for detecting water and nutrient stress in turfgrass. Hyperspectral radiometers collect hundreds of narrowband reflectance data compared to multispectral radiometers that collect three to ten broadband reflectance data for a cheaper cost. Spectral reflectance data have been used to create vegetation indices such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the simple ratio vegetation index (RVI) to assess crop growth, density, and fertility. Other indices such as the water band index (WBI) (narrowband index) and green-to-red ratio index (GRI) (both broadband and narrowband index) have been proposed to predict soil moisture status in turfgrass systems. The objective of this study was to compare the value of multispectral and hyperspectral radiometers to assess soil volumetric water content (VWC) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) responses. The multispectral radiometer VI had the strongest relationships to turfgrass quality, biomass, and tissue N accumulation during the trial period (April 2017–August 2018). Soil VWC had the strongest relationship to WBI (r = 0.60), followed by GRI and NDVI (both r = 0.54) for the 0% evapotranspiration (ET). Nonlinear regression showed strong relationships at high water stress periods in each year for WBI (r = 0.69–0.79), GRI (r = 0.64–0.75), and NDVI (r = 0.58–0.79). Broadband index data collected using a mobile multispectral sensor is a cheaper alternative to hyperspectral radiometry and can provide better spatial coverage.



tall fescue, turfgrass management, vegetation index, NDVI, drought stress, soil volumetric water content, nitrogen availability


Badzmierowski, M.J.; McCall, D.S.; Evanylo, G. Using Hyperspectral and Multispectral Indices to Detect Water Stress for an Urban Turfgrass System. Agronomy 2019, 9, 439.