Artificial Turf vs. Natural Grass
Since the inception of artificial turf, it has been an ongoing battle of which is better – artificial turf or natural grass? While we may be biased in our opinion here, there are a number of factors that come into play when comparing the two.
Financially speaking, upon initial installation, artificial turf will be much more expensive than a natural grass option. Many people dispute this by arguing the cost of natural grass maintenance over the years; however, it is important to note that if properly cared for, your natural grass will have a longer lifespan & need replacing less frequently than artificial turf which may fade & show wear that your natural grass will not.
There are a number of health and safety concerns with regard to artificial turf, mainly stemming from the man-made products used to create the artificial turf:
- Chemicals found in artificial turf can be carried into our bodies of water via runoff into the local stormwater drainage system
- It has been brought up by medical professionals that many artificial turfs may have a high amount of lead which can cause serious health problems, especially in children
- Asthmatics may have trouble breathing after playing on artificial turf due to the chemicals & man-made properties
- Natural grass allows water to wash through it and into the ground, and is also able to withstand some bacteria, artificial turf can be a breeding ground for certain bacteria. Studies have shown that staphylococci (the cause of staph infections) can stay on the type of plastic used in the production of artificial turf for more than 90 days. Additionally, any blood, sweat, skin, or other biological materials that are left on artificial true will not easily wash away into the ground (like they would with natural grass) unless they are specifically removed.
- Many athletes have been known to dislike playing on artificial turf, as it is harder on the body, without as much “give” as natural grass/ground.
Financial and health concerns aside, our Floridian climate is not ideal for artificial turf, as studies have shown that it is not uncommon for the temperature of artificial grass surfaces to be 20-50⁰ warmer than the air temperature around it. In areas with full, direct sunlight, the heat can commonly be felt through the shoes of athletes playing on artificial turf fields, or even people just playing in their backyards.
As seen in the artificial turf photo below, artificial turf uses a base material composed of soft plastic pellets, sand, silica, and/or crumb rubber. This material is known to get stuck in athletes’ cleats and can easily be tracked throughout your home and surrounding areas.
Many artificial turf companies argue that their product is superior to natural grass, due to the lack of maintenance. Many will state once installed, you can just “forget about it” and have a beautiful, maintenance free lawn. Unfortunately, that is not typically the case, as it does require its own type of maintenance to keep your turf clean, brightly colored, and cool.