Field or Floor?

The obvious difference between a natural grass sports field and an artificial field is that you don’t have to mow or fertilize artificial turf. The common belief is that artificial fields do not need maintenance, but is this true?

A natural grass sports field is a group of grass plants growing in a biologically active soil. Rainwater nourishes the plants and is filtered of air pollution as it flows into the groundwater. Organic matter like leaves, peanut shells, vomit, and bird droppings are decontaminated as they are recycled by the microbes in the soil. Fields do not need to be swept or disinfected. The grass plants when damaged by play repair themselves. These are advantages of natural grass sports fields. Mowing, fertilizing and other tasks are relatively inexpensive tasks required to maintain the sports field.

An artificial sports field is not a field at all. It is a type of floor. Do you know of any type of floor that does not need maintenance? Every floor needs to be swept, picked up and occasionally repaired. The more it is used, the more care it needs. Floors have a limited life and are expensive to remove and dispose of the materials.

Most people don’t know that artificial sports fields are more fragile than natural grass fields. For any non-sporting use, they must be protected with tarps to prevent liquids from reaching the fibers. They also need a solid protective surface, like plywood, to prevent permanent indentations. Not protecting the surfaces usually voids the artificial turf warranty. Typical protection involves laying down a layer of ¾-inch plywood. These plywood sheets cost about $20 each and weigh about 50 pounds each. Simple math gives a clear understanding of how much money, time and labor it would take to lay down, pick up and store enough plywood for just half of a football field used in a graduation ceremony. None of these tasks is needed to protect a natural grass sports field for a graduation ceremony.


  Field Grass
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