LSA’s USA Study Tour: Day Eight

Written by:

Now on Florida soil, the the Lawn Solutions Australia study group kept up the pace of the previous week with turf farm and retail outlet visits organised.

Florida has a similar climate to Australia’s and the Lawn Solutions Australia Group had researched the area and climate data with the University of Wollongong prior to the trip.

They were looking for a location similar to Sydney’s climate and found something close at Masters Turf Farm in Ruskin, about an hour out of Orlando.

The group was welcomed to the farm by operators and brothers, Ralph and Randall Williford.

Seeing paddocks of green grass was pretty much a first for the visitors as the tour, a lot further north until now, had seen many areas that had seen severe weather and dormancy of most turf types.

The hosts explained how they too, had experienced cooler-than-normal weather, yet the condition of the turf in their care belied that fact.

Coming from a fairly modern mixed vegetable background, the brothers moved into turf around 10 years ago, saying the move was a positive one for their business.

With irrigation already established it was a relatively easy changeover to turf, with their 400 metre deep bores providing flow of around 1000L / min to their static, in-ground irrigation system.

With around 40ha of zoysias, couch and St Augustine’s under production, the farm was not large by comparison to others the visitors had seen. 

It did however, offer great insight into the performance of these grasses – some possibly destined for Australia in the not-too-distant future.

Following the turf inspection the tourists stopped at a John Deer Landscapes Centre on their return to Orlando where they were introduced to the one-stop-shop concept of turf distribution, commonplace in the US.

The range of products handled by the centre, from turf to irrigation; fertiliser, pesticides and herbicides was quite amazing, apart from their delivery of big bag products of soils and mulches.

The centre was an interesting mix-up from straight turf venues in the tour and gave the visitors a taste of what’s possibly around the corner in Australia with these ‘big-box-type’ stores.

The tour group joins up with a number of other Aussies and turf growers from throughout the world as they head tomorrow for the Turf Producers International convention being held at Disneyworld.

Pictured at Masters Turf Farm in Florida, host Ralph Williford talks visitors through their turf farm operation.

For more information visit

Check out Day One’s summary here:

Day Two:

Day Three:

Day Four:

Day Five:

Days Six & Seven: