The Green, Green Grass of Tanque Verde

Guest Ranch

One of the most frequent questions we hear at Tanque Verde Ranch is, “How do we keep the grass so green”? Great question, considering we live on a dude ranch in the middle of the desert with emerald green lawns scattered around the property. So, how do we do it? Well, here is our secret. In the desert, due to the extreme heat we have every summer, the process may differ from other regions. Here at the ranch, Troy Tremmel, Grounds Supervisor, oversees all of the seeding to make sure the lawns stay healthy and green all year long. We seed twice a year to deal with the temperature climate changes. In the Spring, the ranch uses Bermuda grass seed because it can withstand the intense heat of the summer months in the desert. Troy starts by stopping the watering of the lawn two weeks prior to seeding so the winter grass will start to die off. After the two weeks, the groundsman will shave the grass down to ½” to remove the dead winter grass. Next, they lay Bermuda seed over the lawns. Once the seed is properly in place, Troy covers the seed with Milorganite fertilizer. What is Miloganite? This fertilizer is made of organic-based nitrogen and contains 4% Iron. The Iron content of the Milorganite is the element which gives the grass such a rich green color and it is far better for the environment than using Phosphorus. The last step is adding a top dressing to the grass. This consists of a mixture of plain old dirt and chicken droppings. The utilization of the top dressing is so the seed does not become burned when watering. Add water and within a week the first small blades of grass will start shooting up through the dead grass. After three weeks, we have a stunning, lush emerald green lawn smack dab in the middle of the desert. The grass does require watering twice a day in the hot summer months when we can reach triple digit heat. A similar process is implemented for the month of October in the fall for our winter lawn. The only component that differs from the spring seeding is Troy uses Winter Rye seeds. In the winter months, the lawns are watered once a day and sometimes once every two days. The mystery has now unfolded of how a lawn ended up being in the most unlikely of places. These lawns have had many a family playing on them, a bride walking down the aisle to her groom, a reception being held or just an individual enjoying the day on them. So, please be our guest and throw down a blanket, break open that book and enjoy our amazingly vibrant green lawn under a towering tree while relaxing on your next vacation. And if you happen to run across Troy during your stay, he is the reason the grass is so green at Tanque Verde Ranch. He has made an oasis in the Sonoran Desert for your indulgence.