Mark McWhorter looking at premium sod field at NG Turf sod farm

On The Farm with Mark McWhorter

About Mark

Mark McWhorter, president of NG Turf sod farms

Currently serving as NG Turf president, Mark has worked in just about every aspect of his family’s business for more than three decades, spending several years on each of the farms in Whitesburg
Calhoun and Fort Valley.

He earned an associate degree in business from Floyd College and began working in production as farm manager in Whitesburg at just 19 years old, gradually working his way up to executive management. 

The past year has been an exciting one at the NG Turf farms with our 35th anniversary, the addition of online ordering and a host of other improvements and additions. President Mark McWhorter talks about some of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to produce premium sod, and offers tips to help homeowners grow healthier, more beautiful lawns.

arial view of NG Turf's sod farm

Growing the Farms

The NG Turf team has put a lot of time and energy into developing new fields for sod production. “We’ve added significant acreage during the last three years, and we’ve just started to get some sod off of it within the last six months or so,” Mark mentioned. “We already harvested a whole crop of fescue, and we’re growing a lot of TifTuf™ Bermuda, some El Toro zoysia and Zeon® zoysia as well.”

“Most people don’t realize what goes into developing a property to grow premium grass,” Mark explained. “A lot goes into the initial setup, including laser grading, installation of ditches and drainage, irrigation and pumping stations, and then there’s soil testing and fertilizing. So much has to happen before planting the first blade of grass.”

Since NG Turf offers Blue Tag Certified sod varieties, like TifTuf, Zeon and others, additional work is done to prepare the soil and grow grass to stringent specifications. Each field undergoes multiple third-party inspections to ensure the highest quality and performance possible for the premium grasses.

Mark says plans are in the works to acquire and develop even more acreage in the coming months, with the goal of increasing inventory and convenience. “We are constantly growing and adding to the business to better serve our customers.”

Lawn Tips for Homeowners

We spend much of our time on the farms doing the same things you do for your lawn—we just have a few more acres. “We always get questions about what to do to keep weeds out of the yard,” Mark said. “Now is a very good time to get your sod going right for the whole year.” He advises applying pre-emergent herbicides within the next 45 days to prevent warm season weeds like crab grass and goose grass before they sprout.

“Most people don’t put it out early enough in the year, so inevitably they get all these weeds popping up when the grass starts turning green. Then they’re stuck with them for the rest of the year because it’s hard to kill weeds selectively once they emerge.”

Mark often recommends Barricade, a pre-emergent herbicide available at Amazon that lasts for six months. He says it works on both warm and cool season weeds, so it can be applied in late winter or early spring and again in early fall to control the majority of weeds all year long.

Fertilizing is another important task, both for the farms and for home lawns. Just like homeowners, we take soil samples from several areas of the NG Turf farms and send them to the UGA Extension Service for testing to see what nutrients are needed.

“They will send you back a prescription of exactly what fertilizers you need to put out in your yard and when,” Mark explained. “Without that testing, you’re just blindly guessing which fertilizers to use and how much lime to apply.” He added that although few lawns receive routine lime applications, most need it for optimum grass health.

soil sample bag

Questions? NG Turf can help!

If you have questions about NG Turf’s premium sod, contact our Certified Turfgrass Professionals at 770.832.8608 or info@NGTurf.com. And be sure to ask about our spring green-up guarantee.

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