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I’m landscaping my yard and thinking of installing synthetic turf. What are the benefits?

An effective and efficient way to save money and water is to replace your water-guzzling lawn with synthetic turf or grass. Not only is it a hedge against rising water costs, synthetic turf also eliminates the need for fertilizer, weed retardant and other chemical applications associated with a healthy green lawn.

Not many people consider fertilizers to be harmful to the environment, but when really examined it is found that 40%-60% of the nitrogen found in groundwater, rivers, lakes and other forms of water is coming from the fertilizer we are putting on our lawns. And, by removing the upkeep of a lawn, which includes “mowing and blowing”, Americans will save 800 million gallons of gas a year!

Is synthetic turf safe for my family?

The answer to this question is not known as a thorough analysis has not been conducted.  Senate Bill 47 is currently being introduced to place a moratorium on turf installations containing crumb rubber from used tires at public and private schools as well as government intuitions.  This ban on artificial turf will remain in place until 2018 giving the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, Department of Public Health, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control time to conduct a study to be completed by July 1, 2017.

This study will compare the potential hazards in crumb-rubber turf surfaces with those made of alternative materials such as coconut fibers, rice husks, cork and used shoes. Also studied will be the rate of bacterial infection from skin abrasions. Costs for the studies would come from the California Tire Recycling Management Fund, which subsidizes programs related to waste-tire disposal.

What are the brown crumbs that my child has in his shoes every day after school?

Synthetic turf fields are made of a synthetic grass-like material, to which ground-up rubber tires are added as “infill.”  These rubber tire granules fill up space between the artificial grass blades and also provide an impact-softening base for athletes.  Since the “tire crumbs” are loose on the synthetic turf, they easily get into shoes, clothes, hair etc.

Is it true that artificial turf can get hot enough to burn my child’s feet?

Synthetic grass is designed to respond like natural grass, and in most conditions, the surface temperatures will be similar. In full sun, synthetic grass absorbs more heat (Mother Nature gave natural grass the gift of transpiration) but turf should not be uncomfortable for feet or paws. A quick spray of water can provide instant cooling.

I have big dogs.  Is synthetic turf a good choice for my yard? 

Many pet owners love synthetic turf because it is so easy to clean! When artificial turf is used outside, it can easily be cleaned with a hose. The plastic backing is porous so water and pet urine will absorb into the ground just like on natural grass. Other pet accidents are cleaned in the same way as on a regular lawn.