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Sod vs. Artificial Turf

FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Sod
Artificial Turf
Cost to Install
Cost to construct both types of playing surfaces depend upon:
  • existing soil conditions and associated preparation, especially with respect to drainage issues
  • end use of playing surface (type of sport/activity) and frequency of use
  • local, annual weather conditions
Same as sod...
Durability and Maintenance
  • properly maintained fields require applications of water, fertilizer, herbicide and possibly pesticide
  • mowing and aerating
  • turf varieties have been developed for greater durability under heavy traffic conditions (turf growth naturally repairs traffic damage!)
  • fields can be overseeded as needed to encourage more ground coverage when traffic damage has occurred
  • playing surface typically replaced every 8 to 10 years
  • requires painting, “grooming”, sweeping, rolling, and watering (to cool surface)
  • damaged areas usually require repair by outside contractor
  • surface requires disinfecting against mold, bacterial growth, and bodily fluids
Environmental
  • reduces water runoff and increases groundwater retention (as compared to impervious surfaces such as roadways/ roofs etc, that lead to water runoff)
  • temperature modification (absorbs radiation and reduces temperature extremes)
  • builds topsoil
  • grass clippings increase microbial activity
  • generates oxygen from photosynthesis
  • absorbs pollutants from the air
  • can increase water runoff if drainage system is not correctly installed or managed
Safety & Health
  • historically associated with a more “giving” playing surface (divots in natural grass are an indicator that the field is yielding to the player’s impact, lessening the chance of injury)
  • good microbes are present in grass and soil that sanitize the playing surface by decomposing human body fluids, etc.
  • good microbes also compete with harmful microbes (infection-causing microbes)
  • playing surface temperatures are moderated by natural grass
  • field hardness (either too hard or too soft) can result in immediate or chronic injury
  • lower incidence of beneficial bacteria, which allows build-up of harmful bacteria (and associated infections) and necessitates the use of cleansers to sanitize the field
  • EXTREME temperatures occur on the artificial turf surfaces, leading to heat-related illness
  • ground tire rubber that is often used as infill (cushion) is potentially toxic
  • playing surface can be abrasive and cause injuries that are difficult to heal (especially associated with harmful bacteria that can be present)

For more information on this subject please follow this link: Natural Grass and Artificial Turf: Separating Myths and Facts
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