10 Uses of Artificial Grass in the United States

Today one can find artificially produced fields in any number of places: indoor arenas, residential neighborhoods and commercial business parks. For various reasons, manufactured turf has taken root in all these places and more. 10 uses of artificial grass include baseball, football, field hockey, soccer, ski and snowboard parks, tennis, arid landscaping, residential lawns, high-traffic commercial areas, to replace concrete around swimming pools and on indoor putting greens.

Artificial turf was introduced to baseball at the Houston Astrodome n 1966. It replaced tufts of dead plant matter dotting a dirt field painted green. The new playing surface soon spread to Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium, Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium and Cincinnati’s Riverfront stadium. Players soon learned that the new fields caused the ball to bounce harder and faster, forcing them to change their playing style to give them more time to react. The harder surface also took a toll on the bodies of players and a number of stadiums switched back to their natural state. The solution was to make the surface softer. In 2000, a new product, FieldTurf, was spread on St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field.

In 1969, the University of Philadelphia was the first football stadium to make the switch. Now there are 13 stadiums of National Football League team that use the new, softer surface. For a stadium that plays host to a number of different sporting and musical events, the more durable surface makes a great deal of sense.

As its name implies, Field Hockey is completely informed by the surface on which it is played. The introduction of a synthetic alternative has changed the game significantly and made it difficult for some communities to keep up. The turf for Field Hockey, unlike most other arena sports, does not try to produce the feel of grass; instead, it welcomes the short fiber structure that retains the improvements in speed and accuracy or the original AstroTurf. But it can be prohibitively expensive to maintain two separate sports fields; manufactures are even now working on a new product that will satisfy the needs of the many sports teams out there.

Soccer, for the most part, no longer uses man-made grass. After a brief affair with the surface, it was banned in England. The ban quickly crossed the Atlantic and became the rule in the United States, as well. By the ’90’s, most American soccer clubs had returned to a natural playing surface.

To soften the surface and make it less likely to exacerbate injuries, especially injuries to fragile human joints, most manufactured turf now uses water to cushion the unfilled turf. Two other types are sand dressed, where some sand, not visible from above, is piled on the surface. Sometimes, even more sand is used, which makes the carpet tougher, but slows the ball down enough for a soccer game. The ability to play in winter is one reason soccer teams are still interested in the synthetic surface.

European snow sport clubs were the first to use the green carpet to allow skiing and snowboarding in warmer months. First appearing in the ’60s and ’70s, these slopes were known as pista del sole, Italian for sunny slopes. These uses have become increasingly common. Tennis, where surface is everything, has never accepted fake sod for tournament play, although it is used in some indoor venues.

Landscapers adopted the new technology very readily. It was easy to install, inexpensive to maintain, and withstood high traffic situations. Around swimming pools, it was more comfortable and less slippery than cement. In particularly hostile environments, such as the Arizona desert, it was the ideal choice. For residential lawns, water use is curtailed significantly, leading to financial and environmental benefits. And, of course, every executive likes to have his own putting green replacing the carpet of his office.

While it has had its ups and downs, there is no doubting that there are at least 10 uses of artificial grass. Next time you are at your favorite sports arena, look down and see if you can tell. Is the field all natural, or can you see the hand of man?

Source by Roger Mckenzie


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