As we press on into the future, technology seems to be getting better and better at making things that aren’t real, appear real. From fake hamburgers not made of meat to porcelain tiles that mimic marble, these reproductions sometimes offer benefits that improve on the real thing. Producing meatless meat is better for the environment, while porcelain tile is more durable than marble.
Well, for those of us in landscaping, ‘fake grass’ has improved over time, too. Today’s artificial turf is as far technologically from the 1970s plastic stuff as a Beyond Burger is to the soybean patty school kids got from the cafeteria years ago. In fact, artificial turf is so much more lifelike today that it’s now even become a legit viable option for residential lawns.
What is in the New Artificial Turf
“Turf is polypropylene fiber that is tufted into a carpet,” explains Iannick Di Sanza, marketing manager, of Tarkett Sports. Di Sanza’s company makes FieldTurf, the artificial turf used by the Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Ohio State Buckeyes. Polypropylene is a type of plastic fiber also commonly found in everyday packaging like pill bottles and yogurt cups.
“Plastic carpet” pretty much described artificial turf’s early days. Released by Monsanto in the late 1960s, AstroTurf, which was the original artificial turf, was installed on the baseball field in Houston’s Astrodome, Within two years of the Astrodome installation, 3M’s Tartan Turf was laid down at Michigan Stadium.
Who’s Using Artificial Turf
Artificial turf today is found on a variety of fields for sports including football, soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse and field hockey. You find it on indoor and outdoor fields. Its durability means it can stand up to use on multisport fields, like those at high schools, where many teams practice and the field sees nearly nonstop action. The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was played on artificial turf, but the 2019 one wasn’t.
In the era of concern over natural resources, artificial turf also has also become a sustainable option for home lawns because watering is completely unnecessary. Maintenance is minimal, which means no pesticides or fertilizers.
Some turf criticisms come from advocacy groups who worry about possible risks caused by the chemicals in the infill. However, according to a report from FieldTurf, more than 90 technical studies and reports have been performed since 1990 “by leading universities, toxicologists, and government agencies” that have considered a variety of health and safety questions about the use of recycled rubber.
If opinions vary about artificial turf, it could be due to the wide variation in types of turf, level of maintenance, amount of use and even the installation process. It’s likely that the condition of the artificial turf at the local high school will not compare to what players find at major stadiums.
One thing is for sure. Artificial turf is a solution and a choice if you are looking to avoid the difficulties and maintenance of a real lawn. it is something to consider and you can ask Broward Landscape how they can help install this on your property.