Turfgrass breeders throughout the U.S. have worked very hard to develop cultivars of the common turfgrass species that are well adapted to different regions of the country. In addition there is an excellent program, called the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP), partially sponsored by the USDA that tests new and old standard cultivars of the most common turfgrass species at locations throughout the U.S. The results of these tests are available at the NTEP web site (www.ntep.org). Many of the evaluation sites are at public universities throughout the U.S., and university extension programs can generally provide data on the best locally adapted cultivars. In selecting an appropriate cultivar, it is generally best to select one that has rated high both locally and nationally, in other words, it rated within the top ten to twenty of the local test and its national average is in the top ten to twenty.
Once an acceptable cultivar has been selected, it is important to locate a source of high quality seed. Seed quality is one of the most often overlooked aspects of turfgrass establishment. If poor quality seed is selected, even the most intensive management efforts may not result in an acceptable turf.
Unfortunately many home and garden supply stores do not stock high quality seed, therefore, it can be difficult to locate the seed that you want. In some locations, agricultural seed supply stores may stock high quality seed of well-adapted cultivars. The Internet can also be searched to locate companies that deliver high quality seed by mail. The best way to determine if seed you are buying is high quality is to see if it has a state seed certification tag. The tag will indicate the level of germination of a selected sample and tell the relative percentage of important weeds and contaminating species.