What Is an Artificial Turf?
Artificial turf is commonly used in sports stadiums, golf fields, recreational parks, and the outdoor area of commercial properties. It is also becoming popular in the home yard as a landscaping substitute for “live” grass, which requires regular maintenance like watering and mowing.
As its name suggests, artificial turf is a man-made fiber that looks like natural grass because of its blades and color. They also come in different pile heights, shades of green, and blade shape to replicate various types of grass and serve other purposes (playground, sports use, commercial landscaping, etc.).
Today’s artificial grass also has brown thatch to mimic the look of dried grass that you can see on a natural lawn.
It was in 1966 when the world’s first artificial grass was used. It all started when the management of Houston Astrodome, an indoor sports stadium, failed to grow natural turf, so they were forced to install a synthetic version.
In the early days, synthetic grass was mainly used in sports applications like football fields, soccer complexes, and batting cages. But in recent years, it has been gaining popularity in residential and commercial landscaping, especially in regions frequently experiencing droughts such as California, Nevada, and Colorado.
How It Is Made?
All artificial turfs start with white plastic pellets that serve as the base material in which color pigments, additives, and UV stabilizers are added. Then, all these are melted and extruded through a perforated steel plate, creating strands that are immediately solidified into a trough of water.
Once solidified, the synthetic grass is transferred through a large pulley, keeping them separated while moving on to the next process. Rollers then stretch them continuously until the desired shape is achieved–i.e., as thin as natural grass.
Afterward, the grass-like strands are held together by spools that are woven together to create multiple synthetic yarns. Then, a giant spool secures these strands in position to make them “stand” like natural grass.
The synthetic yarn is then meshed with fabric that will serve as its base. A piece of equipment that closely resembles a giant sewing machine hooks together the threads through the sheeting.
While the synthetic sheeting is merged with fabric, a machine cuts the ends of the yarn to further make it appear like a grass blade. Finally, another device coats the backing with adhesive.
Once the adhesive is dry, hot pins are used to puncture the turf for drainage.
And finally, the turf undergoes multiple inspections and minor trimming.
Why Consider the Use of Artificial Turf Over Real Grass?
Aesthetically speaking, there’s not much difference between today’s artificial turf and natural grass. However, the synthetic version provides unique advantages such as:
Water conservation. If you live in a drought-prone region, artificial grass is a better option than the real one.
Low-maintenance. Caring for a “living” lawn requires maintenance that includes watering, use of pesticides and fertilizers, mowing, etc. By contrast, artificial turf only requires minimal maintenance–just hose off the surface and pick up debris or pet waste, and you’re good to go.
Durable. You can have low-maintenance turf that will look good for up to 15 years.
Superior drainage. Properly installed synthetic turf provides better drainage than natural grass, which means no potholes and mud. Additionally, it dries faster than the “real thing.”