Did you watch any of the football playoffs?   You probably noticed that the turf in Denver was a bit beat up because it was natural grass.   Most people probably don’t think much about field surfaces, assuming it’s just the preference of the home team. However, both options have advantages and disadvantages that are taken in serious consideration when selecting which field type to use.

This topic has come up with several local towns looking at installing artificial playing fields.  There certainly are some pros and cons to both.

Artificial Turf

Pros

  • Low maintenance: No more mowing or watering your lawn, killing weeds, fertilizing, etc.
  • Lasts a long time
  • Doesn’t get muddy or damaged by lawn activities

Cons

  • Very expensive upfront to install
  • Other forms of maintenance including water cooling, smoothing, sweeping, cleaning and sanitizing, and spraying for static
  • Ground rubber filler may need occasional refilling
  • Athletes and asthmatics can inhale rubber dust
  • Health and safety risks of the rubber are under research as potentially contribututing to cancer
  • Can be unbearably hot during summer days
  • It might look right, but it doesn’t feel or smell like natural grass
  • High disposal and replacement costs when it wears out
  • No direct benefits to the environment; does not filter air and water, does not produce oxygen or store carbon, actually heats up the neighborhood

Natural Grass

Pros

  • Self-sanitizing
  • Looks, feels, and smells natural
  • Variety of lawn options with mowing and maintenance
  • Stays cool to touch in hot weather
  • Softer impact on people
  • Low-cost maintenance/installation
  • Benefits the environment by producing oxygen, storing carbon, improving soils and filtering air and water, cools the neighborhood

Cons

  • Requires mowing, fertilization and other maintenance
  • Can die or become damaged under certain environmental conditions or heavy use
  • Can get muddy and torn up after rain and activity

The allure of no more mowing and weeding combined with the resistance to heavy activity makes artificial turf appealing, but in our opinion the cons list significantly outweighs the pros, perhaps we are bit biased though!

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