What I want to do:
Use infragrams, NVDI's, and/or anyting related to evaluate how much drought stress a lawn is experiencing.
My attempt and results:
I've looked here (public lab), but so far the closest I've found are some infragram's that show the difference between dead plants and plants that are alive. That's not so useful, at least not for gardening: I don't need an infragram before I can distinguish whether my lawn is alive or mostly dead. Besides, by the time it's mostly dead it's too late anyway.
I'm currently monitoring my lawn's soil moisture in real time with soil moisture sensors at three different soil depths. You can see it here: https://plot.ly/~WhiteRabbit/27
Questions and next steps:
What (if any) real-world infrared/UV/spectrometry/fluorescence measurements and interpretations can be done to monitor/detect a lawns unmet water needs? Has anyone already done this, or something similar using NVDI or an infragram camera? I mean, presumably, the rate of photosynthesis does decrease as grass becomes progressively stressed from lack of water, doesn't it? At what stage of stress from low soil moisture can an infragram start detecting a lawn's unmet water requirements? Is an infragram sensitive enough to detect the entire range, or just when it's near the permanent wilting point, or only when it's already dead?
Why I'm interested:
Using soil moisture sensors, as above, I can monitor the soil moisture pretty accurately where the soil moisture sensors are, but it doesn't tell me as precisely what the soil moisture levels are in other parts of the lawn. If an infragram could indirectly reveal the driest parts of the lawn, by revealing which areas of the lawn are photosynthesizing the least, it would be useful information, and it might also help me more easily locate where to put additional soil moisture sensors. Ultimately, I'd like a quantified, non-subjective, and accurate way to determine when I should irrigate my lawn. Can infragrams help with that? I was considering buying one of the infragram cameras, but from reading the postings here I can't discern whether infragrams yet have down-to-earth practical uses such as this seemingly simple objective. Do they? If they aren't yet of practical use, I'd like to know that before I buy one so that I'm not later dissapointed after buying one.
A huge amount of water is spent irrigating lawns (probably half of the water consumed by a typical home), and a lot of it could be saved if it were easier to monitor. So, especially given expanding drought conditions in many areas, this could potentially scale-up to large societal benefits through simple "grassroots" efforts. :-)