Evolution of the artificial turfs over the past 40 years
Artificial turf is synthetic turf that is made out of synthetically manufactured materials and is also known as astro turf. It's a popular choice for many athletic stadiums and is also gaining acceptance in residential and commercial projects. The astro turf doesn't require any watering, fertilisers or mowing. It doesn't get muddy and can be used all year round. An average astro turf will last for 8-10 years after which it would need to be replaced entirely.
It's a great advantage where it can become difficult to lay natural turfs. It's also a great option for homeowners who don't want the headache of looking after a natural turf. The technology behind artificial turf has changed a lot since it first appeared on the scene in the 1970's. Over the last four decades there has been a lot of change. So much so that the athletic fields have first embraced the artificial turfs and then switched over to the natural turfs in order to switch back again to the artificial turfs.
Some of the advantages that the artificial turf has over natural turf are
- It doesn't require any mowing, pesticides, watering or general looking after.
- It can be used in any weather especially for sports applications. There are a number of companies that specialise in laying the artificial turfs for sports such as American football, soccer, baseball, rugby, lacrosse and golf.
- With the third generation of artificial turf made of polyethylene yarn, the incidence of abrasions and burns of the athletes has been greatly reduced.
- The artificial turf will last for over 8-10 years as compared to natural turfs that require annual maintenance and can look worn out after the professional season for the sports is over.
- The use of artificial turf has become widespread for commercial as well as residential applications. Since the turf remains green all year round, it has become the preferred choice of many. Moreover it saves a lot of water and maintenance cost for the homeowners as well.
- The new generation of artificial turf is extremely safe for children and pets as well and can handle extremely heavy traffic. Since the artificial turfs have no abrasive surfaces, they are extremely safe even if the children play on them barefoot. During normal play, the artificial turf won't get stained or muddy as compared to the natural turf.
- The artificial turfs are also been increasingly used for golf courses and airports too. Depending on the area, the installation of the artificial turfs can take from a few days to about a few weeks. The company that you engage for laying the artificial turf can only give the best time and money estimate.
- Today's artificial turfs are manufactured with a drainage system designed to allow the water to permeate in the ground and drain off from the surface of the artificial turf. This helps in retaining the natural water table of the ground and keeps the surface of the artificial turf clean. In case of heavy downpours the water will drain off the surface just like the normal turf would do.
Maintenance of the artificial turfs
It's advised by the company that artificial turf should be raked a couple of times to ensure that the fibres of the artificial turf stand up. It also helps to remove the fallen leaves, foliage and dirt that have accumulated as a result of normal weather changes. What's more, the companies that install the artificial turfs also provide warranty for the turfs.
Artificial turfs have some problems of their own
The artificial turfs are perfect answers where water and other environmental conditions don't allow the natural turfs to be laid. However the artificial turfs aren't without their disadvantages. One of the biggest problems is that the artificial turfs are incapable of tackling the carbon dioxide that is been released in the air. Normal turfs can capture the carbon dioxide and transform it into oxygen. To that extent, they add to the greenhouse effect.
A common problem is "turf toe" that is experienced by the athletes that play on the artificial turfs. This is injury caused to the big toe when the athletes play on the hard surfaces. While on the athletic field, blood, sweat and spit of the athletes is easily absorbed by the natural grass and is broken down by the pathogens in the soil. But the artificial turfs have to be swabbed down with disinfectants and detergents to clear the ground of the bodily excretions by the athletes.
But for many, the natural choice seems to be the artificial turfs.