Posted 19 January 2022 by AusGAP Certified

What are Imposter Grasses?

What are Imposter Grasses?

When purchasing AusGAP Certified Turf, you can be sure that the variety you have selected has been grown according to the best industry practices and purity protocols. This means you are provided an assurance that your turf will be genetically pure and true to type. When purchasing other varieties, those without AusGAP Certification, you do not have this assurance. Here at AusGAP we refer to these uncertified grasses as ‘imposter grasses.’ Substitution with inferior turf products and contaminated varieties is prevalent among these imposter grasses, which is why AusGAP Certification is so important. Read on to find out more about imposter grasses and how to ensure you receive the genuine, pure and uncontaminated turf variety you have selected.

What are imposter grasses?

An important example of the impact imposter grasses can have resulted after the conclusion of Plant Breeder Right’s (PBR) on Sir Walter buffalo grass. After this protection ended, the name and variety were available to the market through unlicensed suppliers and were not protected under patent or copyright. This meant that anyone could grow and claim to supply Sir Walter, but without any guarantees or assurance that it was in fact the genuine variety. To protect the variety now and into the future, Sir Walter from licensed suppliers is now AusGAP certified and identified by these producers as Sir Walter DNA Certified. With many people being sold imposter grasses claiming to be the same or like Sir Walter, this important indicator can ensure you do not receive an inferior or substituted product.

Another common example of an imposter grass is when a customer is sold a substituted variety. This is where the customer specifies one variety such as TifTuf Hybrid Bermuda (couch grass) but receive an inferior couch that doesn’t have the same characteristics required for the project, or they receive another completely different turf variety like kikuyu.

If you selected a variety for its hardwearing, low maintenance and drought tolerance characteristics, but receive a variety that can’t hold up to those claims, you may have received an imposter grass.

Why are imposter grasses harmful to the turf industry?

Imposter grasses are either deceptively sold or are not grown to AusGAP standards. Using imagery or claims to sell one variety, but providing another, is deceptive and misleading to the consumer. This results in a bad customer experience and can end up being very costly to replace. If you receive an inferior product, your turf may not have been grown in a controlled environment, allowing grasses to cross populate and contaminate. In addition, weeds, pests, and diseases are more likely to have infested the turf and not been identified. This disregards decades of research and development put into developing turf varieties and puts the integrity of the whole industry at risk.

How can you avoid receiving an inferior product or imposter grass?

Each AusGAP certified variety is grown to best industry practices, this mean the turf you receive is true to type and genetically pure. If you order TifTuf or any other certified variety you can be sure you are getting the characteristics it claims to have whether it is shade, drought, or wear tolerance. Ordering through a reputable grower that produces AusGAP certified turf varieties is the best way to protect yourself from imposter grasses and inferior products.

Don’t settle with uncertainty, AusGAP is your turfgrass purity assurance. You can always be certain our certified turf varieties are genetically pure and true to type, ensuring the turf you receive is visually free of weeds, pest and disease and grown to best industry practices.