Industry must do more to halt substandard lawn seed blends, urges Johnsons Lawn Seed

1 - Johnsons Campaign for Quality - Johnsons Lawn Seed (L) v low quality competitor (R)

Following the launch last year of its campaign to halt the use of low grade lawn seeds in blends sold across the UK, Johnsons Lawn Seed has renewed its call for seed providers to improve their product quality.

Guy Jenkins from the UK’s largest grass seed producer, DLF Trifolium – makers of the market-leading Johnsons Lawn Seed – said that although its 2014 ‘campaign for quality’ had been warmly welcomed by commentators across the industry, many poor quality lawn seed blends continue to be sold, risking the industry’s future sales as well as disappointing consumers.

He confirmed: “Lawn seed is a core selling, commodity product for every garden retailer.  Families, couples and the retired rely on it year after year to establish, improve and repair the lawns that are the key to enjoying their gardens.  Unfortunately, a lack of consumer understanding about grass seed types and characteristics, combined with a more price-sensitive market, mean that some suppliers are continuing to cut corners by bulking out their lawn seed blends with low grade seeds.  This may save pennies to the manufacturer, but when it fails to perform consumers are let down, and this ultimately undermines the market.”

Johnsons Lawn Seed has also highlighted several cases of unsuitable agricultural grasses, including annual ryegrass, being used in products that are being offered as domestic blends.  “We run separate breeding and testing programmes for amenity and agricultural grass seed varieties,” explained Guy.  “They produce very different outcomes; for example, low growing, dense amenity varieties are best for your lawn, whilst quick growing tall agricultural varieties produce lots of grass for animals to eat.  We have also shown that there are huge differences in lawn and turf quality between the cheapest and mid value seed blends, versus quality mixes.

2 -Johnsons Campaign for Quality - Johnsons Lawn Seed (L) v low quality competitor (R)“The presence of Lolium Multiflorum rye-grass on the carton’s mixture label, for example – apart from Axcella, an amenity variety – is a key giveaway of unsuitable seed being present.  This not only produces a poor quality result; it can erode consumer confidence in lawn seed products overall and have a negative impact on all suppliers, no matter what quality they offer.”

Danish international grass seed organisation DLF Trifolium has over 100 years’ experience in plant breeding and seed production.  As a result of these programmes, all of its Johnsons Lawn Seed grass species are selected, cultivated and rigorously tested in order to incorporate them into suitable mixtures for a range of domestic needs.   Its products are also supplied for sports and amenity uses across the world.

Guy Jenkins added: “Every variety in our lawn seed is the result of millions of pounds, and years of research and development and has been thoroughly tested in a variety of conditions.  We then select the best blends to suit different lawn situations, seasons and uses. This enables us to offer consistent quality year after year, leading to consumer satisfaction and loyalty, repeat business for retailers, and confidence in us as a supplier.”
Informing the consumer

To back its campaign for quality, Johnsons Lawn Seed has taken steps to provide consumers with as much information as possible.  The company offers an array of helpful information about lawn creation and maintenance; from tips on sowing and choosing the right seed for individual needs, to combating disease and weeds, and ongoing maintenance.  All this information can be obtained through the company’s website, as well as its in-store merchandising support and informative packaging.

Guy concluded: “With the 2015 season just beginning, we are calling for all lawn seed suppliers to eliminate the use of substandard or unsuitable varieties in their lawn seed mixes.  It is easy to ignore the issue and sell at a cheap price, but it impacts on the whole industry – and most importantly, the consumer.  It is up to all of us to safeguard the future of British lawns with best quality in every box.”

For more information, interviews or images please contact:

Kimberley Hornby, DLF Trifolium PR Team, Whitefoot PR

Tel: 01858 681122 Email: kimberley@whitefootpr.co.uk