University Research Project 2- Digital Image Analysis of Annual Meadow Grass Populations for Golf Greens and Football Pitches.

The reduction of annual meadow grass in the sward is widely accepted as an important principle of good turf management practice. Annual meadow grass in golf greens has many disadvantages such as susceptibility to disease, its tendency to create thatch and to produce slow surfaces. In football pitches it is also a grass species that roots much less deeply than perennial ryegrass which leads to the surface cutting up and thinning out rapidly.

Greenkeepers therefore need a simple method to assess the quantity of annual meadow grass in the sward. Currently this is done visually and a “guestimate“is made.

Just looking at the greens and making an approximation is inaccurate and tends to over-estimate the percentage of the surface colonized by annual meadow grass.

How does it work

In this project the smartphone digital camera is used to record high quality images of the turf surface and then powerful digital image analysis software is used to determine the proportion of annual meadow grass in the sward.

You switch your camera on, point it at the turf surface horizontally at waist height and walk a giant W shape across the green taking 20 photos as you go. The photos are then emailed to the central computer and digitally analysed using image processing software. A similar technique to facial recognition software used in security cameras is used. The software has a degree of artificial intelligence where it can recognize the differences between annual meadow grass and other grass species by analyzing colour and contrast differences. The numbers are crunched, and results displayed as a percentage of each grass present.

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