Choosing certified sod is the only way you can be certain that the variety you receive is exactly what you purchased. All sod is required to have a state “Department of Agriculture” tag, which means only that the sod is free of fire ants. However, this tag does not qualify the sod as a certified variety that is guaranteed to be one you’ve paid for, although some less-than-scrupulous growers and brokers try to dupe customers into believing that.

In North Carolina, certified sod comes with a “Blue Tag” certification. In other states, certified sod of a licensed variety may instead come with a state “Crop Improvement Association” certification certificate. If your delivered sod — either shipped from a grower or ordered by a landscaper — does not carry one of these certificates, then your sod is quite possibly NOT the variety that you thought you had purchased, and you may end up disappointed.

Certified sod is typically (depending on each state’s requirement) required to include:

  • A “Blue Tag” or “Crop Improvement Association” certificate with every purchase.
  • Documented class of planting source (Breeder, Foundation, Registered, Certified).
  • Thorough inspection of turfgrass fields at least twice a year, which:

√ Ensures true-to-type, genetically pure varieties, with no off-types or mutations.

√ Eliminates common bermudagrass and noxious or objectionable weeds.