Grass vs. Turf: The Great Green Debate and Why Natural Grass Takes the Crown

Grass vs. Turf: The Great Green Debate and Why Natural Grass Takes the Crown

Bethel Farms

Nature is like a treasure chest full of beautiful things that we, as humans, often strive to replicate. Think about sports fields – we desire uniformity, durability, and resilience in our play surfaces. For a long time, people have been debating whether to use real grass or synthetic turf for these fields. Both have good points. Synthetic turf might seem like an easy pick because it's practical, but natural grass holds the crown for several really cool reasons.


Fake grass, or synthetic turf, is a tough guy – it can take a lot of rough play and doesn’t need much looking after. This is why many sports fields that are used all the time like to go with fake grass. Because it's so smooth and even, balls roll straight, and there’s less chance of tripping on bumps or holes. But wait, it’s not all good news. Synthetic turf has some not-so-great sides too. NFL players have expressed concern and opposition to synthetic turf due to its perceived dangers and potential for increased risk of injuries. It's often made with bits of old rubber tires, which can let off some nasty chemicals. Another big problem is that it gets super hot when the sun is shining, which isn’t good for the players, the people watching, or Mother Earth. Plus, it doesn't do anything good for nature; it's like a desert where nothing lives.


Now, what about real grass? Real grass needs a lot of TLC – you've got to cut it, water it, feed it plant food, and poke holes in it so it can breathe. Some folks think this is a hassle when you compare it to synthetic turf that doesn't need all this fuss.


However, the benefits of natural grass far outweigh these considerations, making it the clear winner in our green debate. Here’s why:

  1. Eco-Friendly: Grass, along with all the green plants, does a super cool thing called photosynthesis. Imagine it like a magic trick: grass takes in carbon dioxide, which isn't good for us, and changes it into oxygen, which we need to breathe. This helps make the air cleaner for us. Grass is like a superhero - it also traps things like dust, smoke, and other yucky stuff to make the air even cleaner. It's like a big sponge that soaks up more of the bad carbon dioxide than it lets out. This is awesome for our planet. Acting as a natural air purifier, it produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide. Synthetic turf, in contrast, offers none of these environmental benefits.


  1. Cooling Effect: One significant drawback of synthetic turf is the 'heat island' effect. On sunny days, artificial surfaces can reach temperatures as high as 60°C (140°F), posing a risk to the health of players and contributing to local heat build-up. Natural grass helps to moderate temperatures. Natural grass absorbs sunlight and uses the energy for photosynthesis, which helps to keep the surface 20-30 degrees cooler than artificial turf. This cooling effect can be a deciding factor, especially in areas experiencing rising temperatures.


  1. Safer Play: Natural grass provides a softer and safer play surface. It has natural give, reducing the risk of injuries from falls. On artificial turf, the risk of abrasions, burns, concussions, and more serious injuries is higher. While infill systems for synthetic turf try to replicate this natural cushioning, they don’t quite measure up.


  1. Sustainable Maintenance: While maintaining natural grass can be labor-intensive, advancements in technology and sustainable practices have made this task more manageable and eco-friendly. Organic fertilizers and smart irrigation systems can minimize water use and prevent chemical runoff.


  1. Aesthetics and Wellness: The sensory experience of natural grass — its scent, color, and texture — adds an element of wellness. Research shows that interaction with natural environments can reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function. Being surrounded by natural elements has been shown to have positive effects on mental health. Natural grass can contribute to a sense of well-being and connection to nature, something that synthetic alternatives cannot replicate.


  1. Innovation and Sustainable Practices in Grass Maintenance: Innovations in grass breeding have led to varieties that are more drought-resistant, disease-resistant, and require less maintenance. These developments, combined with sustainable practices such as using compost and reducing water consumption, make maintaining a natural grass field more feasible and environmentally responsible than in the past.


Natural Grass Takes the Crown

So, there you have it! We dove into the big green debate between real grass and synthetic turf and saw how each one stacks up. While synthetic turf has some cool points like being tough and easy to take care of, natural grass steals the show with its superhero-like powers. It not only gives us a comfy and safe place to play, but it's also like a friendly neighbor to the environment. It keeps the air clean, helps the earth stay cool, and does a lot to make sure our planet remains a great place to live. In this head-to-head battle, real grass comes out wearing the crown, making it the king of green spaces. Are you looking to install real grass in your home or on the sports field? Explore all the options we offer and find the perfect solution for your needs at Bethel Farms.