GCIA Ensures Landscape Pros’ Access to Certified Turfgrass

gcia logoBilly Skaggs, GCIA Seed Certification Program Manager

Here in Georgia, the Georgia Crop Improvement Association (GCIA) ensures turfgrass professionals can purchase high quality seed and turfgrass sod which are free of noxious weeds, genetically pure, and guaranteed to germinate. GCIA is a non-profit organization, operating as an agent for the University of Georgia.

Certified seed and turfgrass are produced and increased under a limited generation concept that is supervised by GCIA. There are three classes of certified seed and turfgrass:

  • Foundation material which is produced from breeder stock
  • Registered material produced from foundation stock
  • Certified material produced from registered stock.

Each generation increase is field inspected by GCIA.

Turfgrass certification is the only quality control offered for protection of the sod buyer, as state and federal laws do not address vegetatively produced crops. Our turfgrass members produce “blue tag” certified sod which is field-inspected at least three times yearly by knowledgeable inspectors. Each inspector is trained to recognize off-type plants, other crops, noxious and objectionable weeds, which can create unsightly and costly problems in turf.

When only the best will do, many landscape architects specify Georgia certified “blue tag” turfgrass on their projects. When ordering sod or bidding jobs, be sure to specify Georgia Crop Improvement Association “blue tag” certified grass. The blue certificate assures you that the grass provided by your grower has met a rigorous set of inspection criteria designed to promote high quality, true to variety, and weed free turfgrass.

For more information, visit www.certifiedseed.org. And remember, Certified Sod Doesn’t Cost – It Pays!




What’s the orange goo?

Jean Williams-Woodward, UGA Extension Plant Pathologist

I’ve been getting some calls and emails about “orange goo”  growing on cut hardwood stumps. It is weird, interesting and looks like an attack of ‘the blob” (see the image to the right). So, what causes the orange goo?

It’s the yeast, Cryptococcus macerans, growing on the sugary sap flowing from the cut branches or trunk. A few other fungi can also be found mixed in, including some species of Fusarium and Acremonium. The yeast is harmless to the plant; it is just growing on the sap.

The orange color comes from the pigment carotene, which is the same pigment that colors carrots orange. Some strains of Cryptococcus macerans could cause disease in humans, so if you can’t resist touching it, wash your hands! Generally though, it is harmless and just another interesting oddity in the fungal world.

Easy web site to plot climate trends

Article retrieved from CASE

CASE image 1The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is the official Federal archive of weather and climate data for the US, and they have data for many other countries as well.  One of their most useful tools is their new “Climate at a Glance” web site, which allows you to plot trends in climate variables like temperature, precipitation, and drought indices for any part of the US.  The web site includes a link to a map of climate divisions for the US so you can pick your region.

Here is the website address:  http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/time-series/us

State budget provides facilities enhancement, construction for UGA turf program

Sharon Dowdy, News Editor with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

For decades, University of Georgia scientists have conducted state-of-the-art turfgrass research. Today’s researchers still work in the same labs where modern turfgrass science started in the 1950s. Those legacy labs and greenhouses will soon get much-needed renovations.

Georgia’s FY015 budget includes $11.5 million for the improvement of the University of Georgia’s turfgrass teaching, research and Extension facilities across the state.

The funds will be used to build new greenhouses and research facilities on the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ campuses in Athens, Griffin and Tifton.

Georgia’s turfgrass and related industries contribute more than $7.8 billion annually to the economy and provide 87,000 full- and part-time jobs. Turfgrass is one of Georgia’s top crops and provides 17 percent of the state’s farm gate value ($117 million).

“The urban ag industry has been a longtime supporter of Georgia’s turfgrass and horticulture education and research programs — and now Georgia’s legislators recognize the economic value that these industries bring to Georgia,” said Mary Kay Woodworth, executive director of the Georgia Urban Ag Council.

UGA Extension turfgrass specialist Clint Waltz credits the funding to the support of the council and UGA’s other green industry partners.

“World-renowned research and testing is accomplished at these UGA facilities and in the laboratories — and all are woefully outdated,” Woodworth said. “In order to continue to attract the best and brightest researchers and experts, we need state-of-the-art educational and research facilities. This funding will provide what we need to not only attract, but retain world-class turfgrass and horticulture experts.”

On the main UGA campus in Athens, the funding will be used to complete construction of an indoor and outdoor research laboratory that includes, a greenhouse, classrooms and new research field plots. Collectively, these new additions will become the college’s Athens Turfgrass Research and Education Center.

On the UGA Griffin Campus, the funds will go to construct a complex that includes a turfgrass research and education building, greenhouses and associated support offices and workspace.

“This project will continue the Griffin Campus’ tradition of cutting edge turfgrass research, attracting world class researchers and educators, graduate students, cooperators and industry. The UGA Turf Team is humbled by the industry’s support of our programs and appreciates all their efforts to garner funding for these facilities enhancements,” said Waltz who is based in Griffin.

The Tifton campus will see a new greenhouse complex.

“The necessity for new greenhouse facilities has become more critical during the past few years so that the level of research and development which has come to be expected from UGA’s Tifton Campus Turfgrass Breeding Program can continue,” said UGA turfgrass researcher Brian Schwartz who currently works in greenhouses built more than 50 years ago.

For more on turfgrass teaching, research and Extension programs at UGA, see the website www.GeorgiaTurf.com and follow on Twitter @GeorgiaTurf.