Welcome back to our history of artificial turf. In a previous blog, we outlined the origins of this material that’s found throughout backyards and sports fields in Bakersfield. Long gone are the days of coarse green plastic grass. Instead, there’s life-like and soft grass. But how did we get to that point? Let’s find out more.
While Astros fans were distracted by the on-field display, other sports field managers and owners were intrigued by the use of synthetic turf. Homeowners who water their grass regularly know that the cost of doing so can be prohibitive, especially during the summer months. This issue is only exacerbated by the scale of most sports fields. Astroturf then was a great way for field managers to reduce costs, maintain the aesthetic of the playing field, and ensure that the athletes had a consistent surface to play on all year-long.
The Astrodome was the first field to make use of synthetic grass, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Throughout the 1970s, some of the largest stadiums and playing fields would adopt synthetic turf.
Improving Synthetic Turf
While the Chemgrass was green and useful for playing fields, that’s where the similarities ended. While Chemgrass kept watering costs down and could be used for years, it did have its downsides. Since it was made from nylon, it would abrade and “burn” skin when athletes would slide across it. Moreover, it was a fairly expensive material, and the investment of covering an entire field was a major one.
Manufacturers once again partnered with scientists to produce a more convincing form of artificial turf. While nylon was effective, the goal was to create a turf that was softer and looked more like grass. Developers turned to polypropylene instead. This generation of turf was softer and the tufts of grass were spread more evenly to enhance the visual appearance of real grass.
This form of synthetic grass first took the field in the 1980s. In addition to an improved appearance, it was also infilled with sand to help stabilize the surface. Polypropylene was already cheaper than nylon, and the use of sand helped to lower the costs even further. The more stable surface made this generation of turf ideal for sports like field hockey and was very popular in Europe. However, the sand was coarse and irritating and got everywhere, and would scratch players skin when they made tackles like in soccer or football.
Another Generation of Artificial Turf
Realizing that the previous generations of synthetic turf lacked in significant ways, researchers once again began the process of creating a new kind of turf. Beginning in the 1990s, companies began creating synthetic turf that used polyethylene as the basis of the “grass.” The PE blades of grass were longer than the ones made from nylon or PP. The fibers were spaced apart even further and were backed with yarn. This added to the plush feeling of the turf, gave it more stability, and made it appear even more like actual living grass. Instead of using sand as infill, recycled ground rubber was used. This added extra spring to the turf and kept athletes from scratching themselves open during a tackle.
It’s this third generation of artificial turf that you’ll find at sports fields all around the country. It’s also the same kind of synthetic turf that is now being used on a wide scale in homes throughout Bakersfield!
The Future of Artificial Turf?
While the third generation of synthetic turf is used in many capacities, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Companies are still researching ways to improve the look, feel, and use for artificial turf. These are considered by some to be the fourth and fifth generations of turf, and they might be finding their way to homes and fields sooner than we think.
We Provide Synthetic Turf to Bakersfield
Ready to leave the neighbors looking green with envy? Then it’s time to install synthetic turf in your home or business. Simple to maintain, cost-effective, and great for a lasting look, we offer both EasyTurf and Smart Turf products. We can install, repair, and enhance your synthetic turf. It’s time to elevate the appearance of your landscaping. Contact our landscaping firm in Bakersfield today to find out more!