I am student at the International School of Geneva going into Year 12. I am writing this paper to outline my perspective of synthetic turf. I don’t have too much experience with it since I play basketball which is an indoor sport however my school does have a football field made out of synthetic turf and I have always wondered what the differences were between a synthetic field and a natural field. Here is what I found.
Synthetic turf consist of artificial fibers made up of polypropylene and nylon and its cushioning systems are made from rubber compounds. It is often used on fields for outdoor sports such as football, rugby and baseball due its many advantages that even landscapers are beginning reconsider the effects of natural turf by opting for the better option.
Firstly, synthetic turf is considerably less maintenance than natural grass. Natural turf requires a constant mow as the grass grows continuously. Fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals are also needed to keep the grass in a good condition. Different types of climates will also have different effects on the turf, for example dry climates will require an excessive amount of water as it does not rain regularly. Therefore gallons of water need to be transported in order to keep the grass from drying out. Sport pitches also requires to be painted often because different types of climates will cause the paint to fade and the mowing will also cut off the paint from the grass. This could become a difficulty during games because it will be harder for referees to be fair if it is difficult to see the lines. On the other hand, synthetic turf is easier. It is coated with UV in order to protect it from ultraviolet waves so its color will not fade. Sanitizing agents can be applied to the surface and organic debris can be removed in order to keep the pitch clean. It can occasionally be brushed and groomed too. Other than that, synthetic fields require no other means of up keeping. This is ideal for schools as it allows the superiors and technical service workers to focus on other maintenance jobs that the school requires.
Synthetic turf is in the long run less costly than natural grass. Even though it is more expensive to build a field with synthetic turf, it eventually pays itself off within the first few years as it requires little maintenance compared to natural turf. Natural turf that is well used can last up to 10 years whereas if the synthetic field is kept properly can last a lifetime as it is built to survive rigors and aggressive sports. Any education facility can see the economic benefit of having synthetic turf as it allows the money that would have been spent on maintenance and repairs for natural turf to be invested elsewhere.
Synthetic turf can adapt for any climate because it does not require any sunlight or water therefore it is definitely beneficial for dry climates and wet climates alike. It is useful for dry climates as schools will not have to spend loads of money to transport gallons of water in order to keep the grass hydrated. It is beneficial for wet climates as schools will not have to worry about the natural turf becoming muddy which can cause safety hazards and cancellations of sport events. They will also not have to worry about the grass photosynthesizing (creating nutrients) as it could be difficult in dark climates as sunlight is essential for the process to occur in order to stay in good condition. Synthetic turf needs none of these things that it can even be used for an indoor field.
It is impossible for natural turf to stay perfectly flat because it develops bumps and holes overtime from being overused. This can be a safety hazard because it can result in an ankle being twisted and other injuries. Schools will not have to panic about this because synthetic turf is manmade so all the necessary measurements were taken to ensure a completely even outcome. Since schools have to ensure security, synthetic turf is a safe choice because it decreases the risk of injury.
Synthetic turf comes in different lengths and colors so it can be personalized to fit any school color or logo. Schools can find this to be advantageous as it can bring about team spirit as the field can match the school kit. If there is a game being played, the colored pitch can remind the enemy team that they are not playing on their ground. It can also bring the school together as it can form a sense of community as everybody from the school could be wearing the same color as the field which can bring about school pride.
Playability is increased on synthetic turf because it is more durable than natural grass. Therefore schools will not have to fret about the field being overused because synthetic turf will not wear out. Natural grass can be played on up to 250 hours a week whereas synthetic fields are always playable. Synthetic fields can also be played on year round as it will not be affected by the changes in the weather. This will make it easier for schools to run sports teams for a year and not just for a season which will allow teams to have more time to practice and improve.
Any school can recognize that natural turf is very hard to control due to it being extremely high maintenance, costly and is affected by weather and overuse which can be frustrating at times. Schools can however control synthetic turf because it is just so easy due to it being low maintenance, safer, able to adapt to most weather and it can be used all year. Synthetic turf seems like the obvious choice.
Anna Grace Ogden