Real v.s. Artificial Turf… The Winner is Clear

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When it comes down to having artificial turf versus a real and natural lawn, there’s really no comparison. Natural turf grass wins hands down in every way. Check out our handy guide about the benefits and advantages of using natural grass over synthetic alternatives.

Appearance

The beauty of a well-kept, healthy, natural lawn is undeniable, and so is the unnatural plastic sheen of an artificial lawn. No one is going to be fooled into thinking that artificial turf is real. Even if artificial turf looks good in the beginning, it’s just temporary. Even minor wear quickly begins to show, and after years of foot traffic, you’ll probably be looking at a tangled plastic mess instead of a nice, lush lawn. And, while very expensive artificial turf might not fade too much in high sunlight, more affordable brands just can’t handle the brutal Florida sun. Even if you repair your artificial turf along the way, the patch work will be obvious and make the fact that it’s fake all the more noticeable.

Maintenance

People love to tout the low-maintenance lifestyle that comes along with artificial turf, but we don’t agree. The truth is, artificial turf gets damaged just like any other lawn. As mentioned above, areas with lots of foot traffic and heavy sunlight will give away the nature of your lawn pretty quickly, requiring frequent repairs and patches that take away from the uniformity and allure of the lawn.

Also, since artificial turf basically destroys the soil underneath it, the only thing left that can survive is crabgrass and other weeds. Think that synthetic turf is strong enough to stop those weeds from breaking through? Think again. Artificial turf owners often find themselves having to apply herbicides to control breakthrough weeds, just like a natural lawn, so no less work there either.

A properly installed and maintained lawn of high-quality sod that is designed to thrive in Florida’s unique climate will last a lifetime. Artificial turf is also only warrantied for up to a maximum of eight years, meaning you’re looking at paying for tear out, installation, and maintenance all over again in less than a decade! Compared with our low-maintenance sod varieties like Scotts ProVista® St. Augustine, all of that artificial turf upkeep and replacement costs don’t seem so appealing.

Safety

Did you know that artificial turf can get so hot in the summer sun that it can actually burn human skin? That’s right — on sunny days, artificial turf can soar up to 180°F! If you allow your children to play on artificial turf during hot summer days, not only would you be risking burns, but artificial turf’s slippery surface has also been proven to cause injuries in school athletes when compared to natural turf. Think about a child or an elderly family member slipping on that artificial turf, breaking a bone, then burning themselves on the ultra-hot surface. It’s a recipe for disaster!

Did we mention that a link has also been discovered between artificial turf and cancer in school employees and children? Artificial turf is made of crumbled up old tires, and tires are known to contain carcinogens. Add in the fact that herbicides must be used to control weeds that break through the turf’s surface, and you’re just putting carcinogens on top of more carcinogens. Who would want their loved ones spending time on a lawn that’s full of disease-causing substances?

Natural grass not only stays cool in the sun, but it also keeps the ambient temperature of the yard down too! Natural turf provides just the right amount of friction for backyard sports without causing lifelong musculoskeletal injuries. And, if you care for your natural turf with an organic lawn care program, you’ll have a healthy lawn that everyone can safely enjoy!

Comfort

There’s nothing quite like the feel of fresh, natural grass between your toes. It’s soft, inviting, and comforting; why else would children love to spend their days playing in the backyard, rolling in the grass, and making memories that will follow them their entire lives? Do you want them to remember their lawn as a bleak and green plastic carpet or a rich, thriving space where they spent those carefree afternoons?

Eco-friendly

Artificial turf supporters like to mention that since it’s made of recycled tires, it must be eco-friendly. Well, nothing else could be further from the truth. Tires are made using by-products from refining crude oil. The entire process of refining oil is toxic, is not sustainable, and has a huge carbon footprint, which is why the entire world is searching for another way to produce energy for our future. While artificial turf is a profitable use for old tires, it is not safe for people or the environment. 

We already mentioned the many safety hazards artificial turf presents for humans, and it’s just as bad for local ecology. The soil under an artificial lawn is deprived of sunlight, water, and nutrients, leaving it weak and in need of regeneration if anyone ever wants to restore it in the future. Manufacturers often treat the artificial turf with biocides, which not only kill anything living on the turf, but have also been associated with contracting MRSA, a serious antibiotic-resistant infection. All of those organisms that are supposed to live in your soil and grass must move elsewhere, further depleting the soil of necessary nutrients. Finally, all of those carcinogens and heavy metals from the crumbled tire material leaches into your soil, leaving a toxic wasteland where only the most stubborn weeds can survive. 

Does any of that sound good for the environment?

Natural Turf is the Clear Winner

In our opinion, there is no competition between natural and artificial lawns. Beautiful, safe, environmentally friendly, natural turf has the advantage over artificial turf in every way. Here at Council Growers Sod in Tampa Bay, we’ve been growing grass varieties proven to thrive in our Gulf-coast climate for four generations! Call (813) 633-8665 or contact us online for a quote on Tampa Bay’s best sod, harvested to order and delivered right to your door from our fields!