International Turfgrass Genetic Assurance Program

2425 South Milledge Avenue, Athens, Georgia 30605

Phone: 706-542-2351 Email:

Administered by the Georgia Crop Improvement Association.


 Terry Hollifield, Administrator

The International Turfgrass Genetic Assurance Program (ITGAP) was developed and designed to provide a mechanism for University and privately developed turfgrass varieties to be propagated and distributed worldwide while maintaining variety identity, purity and freedom from other crops and perennial grasses and weeds.

The ITGAP process is one of Process Verification. ITGAP does not “guarantee” a genetically* and mechanically pure product to the end user. But by participating in the program, both ITGAP and the grower are able to state that the grower is producing grass to a published standard audited by a third party.

To achieve the above goals ITGAP uses a system of field inspections and documentation to verify that the producer is in compliance with ITGAP Standards.

The turfgrass producer is solely responsible for the genetic purity* of the grass sold. These standards will assist the producer in marketing genetically pure grass. The Georgia Crop Improvement Association is responsible for the administration of this program and its only responsibility is to audit producers annually for compliance with the published standards. Producers use these standards and production protocols as a basis for producing genetically and morphologically uniform sod and sprigs.

*Genetic purity is defined as: the plant population conforms to the phenotypic characteristics as described in the breeder’s description.

General Standards:

Applications for membership may be obtained by contacting the Georgia Crop Improvement Association at Applications for membership must be executed prior to planting certified fields.

All planting stock will be from sources approved by ITGAP.

  1. The supplier of the approved planting stock will provide a document showing name of producer, date of harvest, kind and variety of grass harvested, quantity shipped, field number and letter from ITGAP declaring the source as eligible.
  2. Nurseries designated for expansion purposes will be planted on fumigated land. Fumigation material and rate will be approved by ITGAP Administrator. Exceptions must be approved by ITGAP prior to planting.
  3. Production of ITGAP fields will be limited to five years. In the 5th year during the annual inspection an intensive inspection of the production field will be made for genetic purity and the time may be extended.
  4. ITGAP administrators may make the decision to extend the life of a certified field and this decision will be final.

Land Requirements:

  • For a field to be eligible, it must have been inspected prior to planting and found to be free of contaminating perennial grasses. Nurseries should not be planted on land that is prone to flooding.
  • Wheeled irrigation systems should travel only on program fields and must be the same variety or a variety(s) that do not produce seed and are distinguishable from the program variety.

Field Inspections:

  • Fields must be managed in a manner that will facilitate the inspection process.
  • Fields must be inspected annually during the growing season by an ITGAP/AusGAP representative.
  • The producer will provide documentation of quarterly self inspections.

Field Standards:

Isolation requirements:

Fields must be isolated from any other variety and other perennial grasses by an artificial barrier and/or strip of bare land at least three meters wide to prevent contamination during the growing season and harvest operation. Warm season varieties that have the potential for seed production will be separated by a minimum of 20 meters and be separated by a barrier sufficient to prevent cross-contamination.

Specific Requirements:

During the annual or any other inspection, the field is not eligible for approval if an average of 3 contaminates* is found per HA.

* Contaminates shall consist of warm season perennial grasses, including other ecotypes/varieties of the same genus/species being produced. All contaminates, when found, will be treated at the time of the inspection with a non-selective herbicide to eradicate.

The following is a list of typical prohibited perennial grasses, but not inclusive: Bermudagrass (Cyndon spp.), Seashore Paspalum (Paspalum spp.), Zoysiagrass (Zoysia spp.), St. Augustinegrass (Stenotaphrym spp.), Buffalograss (Buchloe spp.). Kikuyugrass (Pennisetum spp.), and Centipede (eremochloa ophiuroides). ITGAP may add other genus/species to the list as needed.

Dedicated Equipment

All non-dedicated equipment (mowers, harvesters, sprayers) must be thoroughly washed (including tractor wheels) prior to entering ITGAP fields. Thorough cleaning of non-dedicated equipment must be documented.

Wash facilities must be available for cleaning equipment. Adequate water/air volume and pressure must be available.

Mowing or harvesting equipment shall not travel across adjacent fields which contain other varieties or non ITGAP production.

Irrigation equipment that is mobile or capable of being transported to the program fields must be dedicated to those fields only.

Required Inspections

Farm Audit

In addition to the production field inspections, an annual inspection of the premises, equipment and protocols will be completed. Quarterly self inspections of production fields by the owner/manager are required.

Certificate of Assurance

A turfgrass assurance certificate will accompany each shipment of ITGAP/AusGAP Certified foundation sod and sprigs for planting of new fields. The certificate will state the kind and variety of grass harvested, the quantity shipped, field number, date of harvest, and the producer’s name and address. The certificate must be traceable to the buyer of the sod using producer internal records. The certificate will bear the signature of the producer’s person responsible for the varietal purity of the grass. Certificates are available from the AusGAP program administrator.