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Turf Division:

The turf division is responsible for maintaining all mowed grasses. Relying on largely organic methods and new hybrids, costs have steadily dropped and grass performance has dramatically improved. There are three distinct soil types irrigated by a commercial system using thousands of sprinkler heads. Water is pumped from large man-made lakes with 5 emergency wells that work across the entire system.

After extensive experimentation and testing Prairie Oaks Ranch has developed a unique combination of turf grasses for North Central Texas. This region is famous for scorching summers and  hard freezes in early spring. Most grass varieties show too much winterkill or weak starting performance in the spring. They also tend to fade in late summer. The vicious circle of too much water, too much fertilizer needs a break.

Utilizing a combination of Common Bermuda, Tifway 419, Raleigh,Yukon and Mini Verde on a bed of amended topsoil, the fairways are both quick starting in spring and drought tolerant in July. They require less water and less mowing while keeping an inviting green appearance.

Key to our success is a commercial composting program that relies on a compost tea for primary fertilization. About 80 acres of native grasses are baled each fall. In the spring the bales are shredded on a large outdoor concrete pad with drains. The piles are mixed with starter compost from  the large tumbler displayed on the right.

Gradually a small amount of river bottom mud is added and the shredded mounds are watered with highly active lake water. The drench flows through the hay mix and eventually into an underground 12,000 gallon mixing tank. The stacks also benefit from a mixture of Medina, humus, molasses, mycorrhizal products and a large quantity of red worms.

At the first sign of stress we cover affected areas with 1/4 inch of compost and then water every week with the compost tea. The result has been an annual $22,000 savings in fertilizer, less fungus damage and far less insect infestations. We are also experimenting with worm friendly greens that reduce compaction.

In 2007  50% of the ranch's sod came from home grown plots with the goal that 100% will be harvested on site in 2008.

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