Technology innovations have dramatically changed virtually every aspect of our lives. And the changes just keep on coming. It’s no different for artificial turf. Especially in the last decade or so, synthetic turf has become the grass of choice for homeowners and commercial property owners and managers. It is increasingly used to add beauty and functionality to public spaces.
Yard for yard, though – or perhaps we should say acre for acre – by far the biggest user of artificial turf is the sports industry. From professional baseball and football stadiums to community TOT leagues, artificial grass has replaced its natural cousin. It is safer to play on and easier to maintain. The quest for ever-more-resilient and “natural” athletic turf is fueling new research into all types of faux grass.
Many of the latest advances have focused on fiber design
Have you ever examined a blade of grass up close? It’s not a long, flat triangle. Grass is three-dimensional, with complex variations in size, shape, color, and other structural details. These details differ from one type of grass to another. For example, St. Augustine grass looks and feels very different from a fine fescue. Grasses function differently, too, because they are adapted to their environment.
Artificial turf mimics natural grass. Products have different characteristics, designed to accommodate different usage requirements. Or provide maximum aesthetic beauty in a landscape. Scientists are constantly working on newer ways to make and install artificial turf, so it looks, feels, and plays better than ever.
For athletic fields and lawns where people and pets will play, fiber memory is crucial. In other words, the blade’s ability to be crushed under impact and then return to its original shape and position. Resilience improves safety as well as natural-feeling footing. For instance, taller blades and deeper infills to soften the impact of falls. And taller blades that stand up look most realistic.
Another example is heat resistance. Direct sunlight heats artificial grass. However, hollow blades remain cooler, and W-shaped blades diffuse heat and sunlight.
Several other factors affect the turf’s softness and performance, including:
- Type of plastic polymer used
- Blade design
- Blade density and pattern
- Type of shock layer/infill system used
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers says, “Perhaps the most intriguing development is shock absorption technology for artificial fields is coming from the automotive industry.” A company in Michigan is working to see if the same material auto makers use to reduce crash impacts can also be used to cushion player impacts on artificial turf. We’ll have to wait and see.
Everybody benefits from the latest advances in artificial turf
You don’t have to be a professional athlete – or any kind of sports enthusiast – to reap the rewards of all this ongoing research. The advances inspired by the desire to improve athletic fields are applicable to all fake grass products.
There’s an artificial turf specifically designed for just about anything. Landscapes and outdoor living. Dogs. Children’s play areas. Common areas. Event venues. And, of course, sports fields. Oh, and let’s not forget one of the most popular uses of synthetic grass – backyard putting greens. We like to say that our grass comes in 50 shades of green.
Our 2017 Heavenly Greens Product Guide illustrates all the varieties of artificial turf we offer and explains the applications each type of grass is best suited for. All the products we sell and install are of the highest quality. Our goal is to give you the best, longest-lasting artificial grass for your needs. It will not only look beautiful, it will be tough, soft, and green in every sense of the word.