Artificial turf replaces beautiful green lawns with a bland, plastic carpet. It’s also expensive and needs to provide the ecosystem services that living landscapes do. Water agencies that offer turf replacement rebates recognize this and endorse living landscapes instead. Turf fields contain crumb rubber, manufactured “forever chemicals” that can cause cancer and interfere with natural hormones. It also increases greenhouse gas emissions and pollutes ecosystems.
Artificial turf doesn’t need water to grow and look healthy. Instead, Artificial Turf Colorado Springs can save you gallons of water yearly by having a synthetic lawn. That is great for the environment, and it’s also good for your wallet. Watering costs can add up quickly, especially with a large yard. With a synthetic lawn, you can reduce your water bills and your environmental footprint.
While synthetic grass doesn’t need water to maintain its beauty, it does require a little more attention than natural grass. For example, the material can harbor bacteria that can cause infections like staph. Because of this, it’s important to keep up with regular cleanings with a mild detergent and water. That will help to sanitize your home’s outdoor spaces and reduce the risk of infection for family pets.
Another thing to consider when installing an artificial grass lawn is how it will impact weeds. While most brands of synthetic turf are weed-resistant, the material can still be affected by weeds that penetrate the underlayer. If you have a serious weed problem, it may be necessary to use a herbicide. These chemicals can be toxic to pets and children, so it’s best to speak with a landscaping pro about your options.
Another issue with artificial turf is that it harbors odors from pet urine. The smell can be overwhelming if dogs and other pets frequently use your yard. While most brands of synthetic turf have anti-bacterial properties, this doesn’t stop odors completely. However, rinsing the area with water works wonders in reducing pet odors. Rinsing also dilutes the mineral salts from the urine and prevents discoloration of your grass.
Artificial turf doesn’t require regular fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides to keep it looking lush and green. That helps the environment by reducing the chemicals used on your property and in the background while also saving you money and time from spending hours working on your yard!
While synthetic grass may be a good choice for those with pets, it is important to note that pet waste and other pollutants build up on the turf’s surface. These pollutants wash off during rain events or when the turf is hosed down to maintain cleanliness and coolness. That carries the pollution through the drains and into stormwater systems, where it is transported to local waterways and, ultimately, the ocean.
Urban runoff from irrigated artificial turf and debris and petroleum products (turf blades and infill) pollute coastal waters and beaches. These toxins enter the marine food chain and are ingested by shellfish and other sea life, contributing to ocean acidification, disease, and death.
Turf also suffocates soil, which reduces infiltration and leads to erosion. It’s essential that the base materials and liners be made from recycled content, and a porous rock or gravel is recommended to allow for infiltration and soil health.
Aside from its negative environmental impacts, synthetic turf is a plastic product that will eventually fade and degrade. At the end of its lifespan, it will become garbage in a landfill. Choosing natural landscaping alternatives, such as native plants and climate-appropriate shrubs, encourages the healthy and vital ecosystem that nature has to offer us. These natural ecosystems provide habitat and food for birds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators essential to healthy indigenous plant communities.
If you want to keep a beautiful lawn without spending time pulling weeds and mowing, you can do so with artificial turf. However, you must be proactive and do homework to ensure your artificial grass stays weed-free.
In most cases, weeds grow in your synthetic lawn because of the infill material—organic and sand-based varieties—which contains seeds. In addition, if your installers don’t pay careful attention to installing the weed barrier properly (and it’s not unusual for this to happen around the edges), weeds can find their way in.
Surface weeds are also easy to remove with a weed killer or herbicide. It would be best to brush your fake yard at least twice a year to eliminate any dirt and debris that has built up and created an environment for weeds to take root.
As a bonus, when you switch from a natural grass lawn to an artificial one, you will return wildlife that would otherwise be displaced due to a lack of habitat to your property. That includes hummingbirds, bees, butterflies, and songbirds that will return to enjoy the lush greenery and the flora they need for survival.
Swapping to an artificial lawn will help limit air pollution from gas-powered lawnmowers that emit harmful volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide. These gases contribute to smog and global climate change. In addition, your reclaimed grass will benefit the local ecosystem by helping to retain and infiltrate rainwater. That, in turn, helps reduce flooding, drought, and water pollution. You can’t get that with a paved yard or synthetic turf.
Despite manufacturers’ claims, artificial turf does not have any chemicals. The crumb rubber from tire recycling contains PAH (polyaromatic hydrocarbon) carcinogens that can cause skin cancer in humans, and the PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) used in the manufacturing process or present in the finished product has been linked to a host of health problems at extremely low levels of exposure.
When it rains, PFAS leach into waterways and are washed downstream, where they can be absorbed through the skin or directly ingested by swimmers and animals. The contaminated water can then run into drinking water systems and affect residents.
Studies have linked PFAS to various health issues, including liver and kidney problems, thyroid dysfunction, and cancers. PFAS are known to be persistent in the environment, do not break down, and are toxic at tiny doses.
Some PFAS leach from artificial turf fields, especially after heavy rains, and are ingested by children and other athletes. Other sources of PFAS exposure include firefighting gear, which firefighters use to protect themselves against flames and smoke during a wildfire or rescue operation. Cancer has emerged as the leading cause of death for firefighters, and a recent study showed that the PFAS in their turnout gear is associated with an increased risk of lymphoma among firefighters.
Artificial turf also leaches plastic bits into waterways, where they can be ingested by marine life and contribute to the trash TMDLs in coastal waters. The best synthetic lawns use antimicrobial backing to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mold, and other microbes that can harm pets or people. The best artificial grass also does not require phosphates or other fertilizers that can pollute the environment.
In addition to avoiding water, fertilizer, and chemicals, turf saves you time and money on yard work. A good quality synthetic lawn will look just as great year after year with minimal care. You’ll never spend a Saturday mowing and trimming, pulling weeds, or spraying your yard with a lawnmower again. With some basic maintenance, your turf will last 10-20 years or more.
Turf is a good option for homeowners because it doesn’t need to be watered to maintain its green color. It’s also a great alternative for drought-prone regions that see weeks or months without rainfall. While artificial grass does not require constant watering, you’ll still need to rinse it about once a week with a garden hose.
Stain management is one of the most important maintenance items with artificial grass. Unlike natural grass, where food, pet, or oil stains would eventually grow out of the lawn or be mowed away, a color on synthetic turf can be permanent if not addressed quickly. If a spill occurs, blot it with a dry absorbent like kitty litter and rinse the area with cold, clean water to avoid stains.
You can also use a leaf or air blower to remove debris and dust lodged in the fake grass. That is particularly helpful during times of the year when your yard may be filled with leaves and other organic waste. You’ll need to wash off your turf about once a month with a mild cleaner. You can use a green cleaner, an ammonia mixture, or a diluted household detergent to clean your artificial lawn. Avoid using caustic or acidic cleaners on your turf because they can permanently damage or discolor it.