Why Buying Certified Sod Matters

Did you know that there is a difference between certified and uncertified turf grass? It’s more than just a fancy title! The Georgia Crop Improvement Association (GCIA) is a non-profit organization. They are an agency dedicated to preserving the overall wellness of the green industry in the state of Georgia! GCIA turf inspectors are trained to identify noxious weeds, off-type grasses and plants, as well as insects, diseases, and other pests. The GCIA “blue tag” or “blue certificate” signifies many things, including apparent freedom from pests, purity of the grass varietal, and overall good health of the turf. 


This certification shouldn’t be confused with the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s “Live Plant Certificate,” which is a much less rigorous certification. If you’re a landscaper or a field manager, here are 4 reasons you should always ask for GCIA “Blue Tag” turf on your projects.


Four Reasons to Plant Georgia-Certified Turfgrass:

1. The Grass Species is Verified

Blue tag turf has been inspected to ensure that it’s the proper turf type. Inspectors look to make sure that the turf varietal is “pure” and isn’t mixed with any other types of turf grass. This is important because you want to make sure you’re getting what you paid for! Not to mention, different grass varieties need different types of care. If you’re unknowingly getting mixed turf, it will be much harder to successfully maintain than a single healthy species would be.


2.  There Are No Noxious Weeds

A blue tag certification also means that there have been no noxious weeds observed in the mature sod crop. Noxious weeds are any plant that is harmful to animals, crops, or the natural environment. Most noxious weeds mature and spread rapidly, and can be hard to eradicate. Weeds can be a hassle to eliminate even in the best conditions, so you definitely don’t want your lawn to come in pre-contaminated.


3. The Grass is Grown Under Tight Specifications

In addition to being field-inspected by trained professionals, blue tag grass is also grown according to a very specific set of industry standards. This list of industry standards covers the entire growing and harvesting period of turfgrasses. Compliance with some of these standards must be evaluated before seeds are even planted. This is done in order to verify the integrity and health of the soil.


View the full list of the GCIA’s Turfgrass Seed Certification Standards.


4. The GCIA Blue Tag is a Nationally Recognized Excellence Standard

There are no federal or state laws in place that protect landscapers, field managers, or other turf professionals who purchase contaminated turf grass. This means that there are no avenues to recoup losses if you’re sold low-quality sod or turf. The GCIA is the only widely recognized quality control in the urban ag industry! 


Legacy Turf Farms’ Tahoma 31 is Blue Tag Certified

Tahoma 31 Bermudagrass is a highly dense and fine-bladed turfgrass. It’s ideal for golf courses, athletic fields, and even in landscaping projects. Check out our post “Bermudagrass on Steroids  for a candid review of Tahoma 31 from the Ensworth School renovation project. Ready to talk with a turf professional about your next project? Contact the team at Legacy Turf Farms today and get a free quote on your next sod order!