On the Farm with Mark McWhorter

About Mark
Mark McWhorter has served NG Turf for more than 32 years. He currently holds the position as VP of operations, living in Fort Valley, Georgia. Mark is a graduate of Carrollton High School and earned an associate degree in business Management from Floyd College.

On the Farm with Mark McWhorter
At NG Turf, we spend the majority of our time on the farm doing the same things you do for your lawn—except we have a few more acres, more than 2,400.

We acquired some new acreage recently in Calhoun, Georgia, both to increase the amount of sod-growing area and to better serve our customers.

“We bought a 200 acre farm in the summer of 2017 that will be ready for harvest this year, and we’re buying another one now with 240 acres,” Mark explained.

Once the sale is final, land preparation will begin. Just like a homeowner putting in a new yard, the area will need to be graded, irrigation systems installed, soil samples tested and fertilizer applied. “There’s a lot to do before we plant the first blade of grass,” Mark said.

Soil Testing 
One of the most important tasks going on at the farm right now is one every homeowner should do this time of year: soil testing.

“We recommend that people take soil samples before putting our grass down.” Mark said. “And as maintenance, it’s good to take samples of your yard every year to two years so you can keep your sod healthy.”

Just like homeowners, we take samples from several areas of the farm and send them to the UGA extension service for testing to see what nutrients are lacking so the right fertilizers can be used to balance the soil and grow strong, healthy grass.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides
Mark says early spring is also the time for applying pre-emergent herbicides to stop warm season weeds like crab grass and goose grass before they have a chance to sprout.

“We always get questions about what to do to keep weeds out of the yard,” Mark pointed out. “The best thing is to try to never let them come up.”

Mark often recommends Barricade, a pre-emergent herbicide that is available at Amazon and lasts for six months. He says it works on both warm and cool season weeds, so it can be applied in early spring and again in early fall to control the majority of weeds all year long. Of course there is a wide array of pre-emergents available to choose from. See a full list at extension.uga.edu

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