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Lawn and Turf Grass Mixtures that have had Foreign Plant Material Added

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Some seed companies were using ground peanut shells, ground corn cobs or other plant material in the preparation of lawn and turf grass mixtures. Such material is significantly cheaper than seed and to allow this practice to continue would have the effect of forcing all companies producing lawn and turf grass mixtures to adopt this practice in order to remain competitive.


The standards for lawn and turf grass mixtures are set out in Table XIV of Schedule I to the Seeds Regulations. In addition, sections 6 to 10, 15 to 20 and 28 set out requirements that a lawn or turf grass mixture meet.

Table XIV indicates that a Canada No. 1 Lawn Grass Mixture shall have a minimum of 85 percent pure seed by weight, i.e., a maximum of 15 percent inert matter is allowed in such seed. Some seed companies have determined that the standard of 15 percent inert matter means they can add inert matter to lawn and turf grass mixtures up to this level.

"Specialty seed" is defined in subsection 2(2) of the Seeds Regulations as "seed of a kind or species or of a mixture of kinds or species mixed with or attached to any fertilizer, soil, compost, peat, moss, mica, plastic, paper, cellulose or other material and includes artificial seeds".


Lawn and turf grass mixtures that have had foreign plant material added clearly meet the definition of specialty seed and must be correctly labelled.

Section 31 of the Seeds Regulations sets out the criteria that apply to specialty seed including the requirement that it "shall be labelled to indicate the kind of seed and the approximate percentage or net quantity of seed in the product".

Originally issued March 21, 2002

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