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
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
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.
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
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