, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 5-15

Bahiagrass crop coefficients from eddy correlation measurements in central Florida

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Abstract

Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) is a warm-season grass used primarily in pastures and along highways and other low maintenance public areas in Florida. It is also used in landscapes to some extent because of its drought tolerance. Bahiagrass can survive under a range of moisture conditions from no irrigation to very wet conditions. Its well-watered consumptive use has not been reported previously. In this study, bahiagrass crop coefficients (K c) for an irrigated pasture were determined for July 2003 through December 2006 in central Florida. The eddy correlation method was used to estimate crop evapotranspiration (ETc) rates. The standardized reference evapotranspiration (ETo) equation (ASCE-EWRI standardization of reference evapotranspiration task committee report, 2005) was applied to calculate ETo values using on site weather data. Daily K c values were estimated from the ratio of the measured ETc and the calculated ETo. The recommended K c values for bahiagrass are 0.35 for January–February, 0.55 for March, 0.80 for April, 0.90 for May, 0.75 for June, 0.70 for July–August, 0.75 for September, 0.70 for October, 0.60 for November, and 0.45 for December in central Florida. The highest K c value of 0.9 in May corresponded with maximum vapor pressure deficit conditions as well as cloud free conditions and the highest incoming solar radiation as compared to the rest of the year. During the summer (June to August), frequent precipitation events increased the cloud cover and reduced grass water use. The K c annual trend was similar to estimated K c values from another well-watered warm-season grass study in Florida.

Communicated by S. Ortega-Farias.