The Advantages of Certified Sod
When you invest in new sod for your yard, it seems reasonable to expect that all the grass will be of the same variety and will arrive weed free. Unfortunately, not all sod is created equal. For the best results, look for the Georgia Crop Improvement Association (GCIA) Turfgrass Certificate. Without it, you may not get the beautiful new lawn you envisioned.
Why It Matters
With the rising economy in recent years, our region has seen an increase in construction and landscaping projects. According to the GCIA, along with this increase has also come a higher rate of complaints about sod contaminated with other varietals, weeds, pests or disease. When purchasing non-certified sod, the consumer has no assurance as to quality and may risk contending with unsightly and even costly issues after installation.
In order to ensure high-quality product, sod growers must follow strict management standards and source only high-quality planting material. As in any industry, sod farms run the gamut in terms of management practices and quality control, and according to the GCIA, only half of Georgia’s producers participate in the GCIA Turfgrass Certification program.
Benefits of GCIA Certification
The GCIA is an organization of farmers and agribusiness owners interested in the growth and sale of high-quality seeds and propagating materials of superior plant varieties, including turfgrass. They provide a third-party inspection service and certification program for sod providers to ensure consumers receive only the highest quality product.
Sod farms that provide GCIA certified product undergo inspections three times per year. GCIA inspectors check to be sure the sod contains a single grass varietal—like El Toro Zoysia or TifTuf Bermuda, and to be sure the grass is of high-quality and weed free.
The GCIA Turfgrass Certificate asserts the following:
- The turfgrass was inspected for varietal uniformity and absence of other turf species.
- No noxious weeds were observed in mature sod.
- The turfgrass was grown under rigorous specifications in a field inspected by trained professionals.
- It is the highest quality sod available for landscapes, athletic fields and golf courses.
- It is the nationally recognized standard of excellence in the urban agriculture industry.
Sorting Industry Certificates
Two organizations issue certificates for grass, which may cause confusion. The Georgia Department of Agriculture offers a Live Plant Certificate, which simply looks for “apparent freedom” from insects, diseases and other pests. Only the Georgia Crop Improvement Turfgrass Certificate ensures both quality and grass uniformity.
Every shipment of GCIA certified sod must be accompanied by a GCIA Turfgrass Certificate, proving that the sod was produced on an inspected and certified farm. To learn more about NG Turf’s GCIA certified turfgrass, give our Certified Turf Professionals a call at 770.832.8606 or email info@NGTurf.com.