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(i.e. more money spent and passed onto the end user), and is where the cost benefit analysis of purchasing seed comes into play for the industry.


Now here’s the monkey wrench Qualified seed, specifically blue or gold tag, was originally developed only to imply that seed vari- eties were genetically pure, or authentic varieties that were not hybridized during breeding.


As the field grows, it can acquire poa trivialis, poa annua, and other species deemed undesirable to the end user, but not deemed noxious by the state of Georgia. Think kudzu for undesirables.


Photo courtesy of Ed Castro Landscape


In response to this, companies required to test millions of pounds of seed began breaking down the amounts into smaller portions, and called them lots.


For Blue Tag Qualified, 1 poa annua seed is legally allowed per 5 gram test on each lot of seed. Which means you could buy close to 5000 poa annua seeds in a 50# bag of fescue unless you ask for poa-free seed or pay more, in which case it’s entirely possible to go above and beyond to remove it beforehand.


Gold tag provides the greatest chance for the purest seed, but oſten it is upwards of $15.00-20 a bag more expensive because of the monetary input seed companies spend to qualify seed to that level. For some, the thought of knowing little chemical control will be necessary to remove un- desirables is worth the money, yet most prefer to take a risk or didn’t know the differences existed.


Get proactive Te surest way to acquire great quality seed is to be proactive.


• Ask for seed tags and seed tests mid-summer and plan ahead about what is in the bag you buy and what is not.


• Focus on turf rankings by universities, but make sure you get the clean seed first, not the cheapest blend, as the best price with tag along weed will always produce sub-stan- dard overseed results.


If the industry understands the stringent questions to ask, the end results are beautiful, healthy turf stands we can all be proud of.


Te key for the entire process is to understand how seed companies operate to profit from seed cleaning, and how sometimes those legal tag levels don’t tell the whole story. If the industry understands the stringent questions to ask, the end results are beautiful, healthy turf stands we can all be proud of.


About the author Russell is the Metro Atlanta/West Georgia Territory Manager for Pennington Seed’s Professional Turfgrass Team, serving as sup- plier, wholesaler, and consultant for both the construction and landscape industries.


C: 404.987.7902 E: arussell@penningtonseed.com


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UAC MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2012


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