Artificial turf may seem like a game-changer because it’s marketed as a no-maintenance alternative to grass lawns, but the cost, health and environmental effects, and even befouling odors associated with it cancel out the so-called benefits.
“Anyone know about artificial turf?” a Redditor asked the r/landscaping community. “Just heard this dude quote my 80 year old grand $13,000 for this front yard.”
The grandfather’s 720-square-foot greenspace in Newport Beach, California, was withering because of longtime trouble with the sprinklers, and he said he was inclined to install the fake grass because he was “DONE.”
“Why would you want a yard full of Astro turf?” one commenter wrote. “That will just get too hot to walk on. Don’t do it. If you need a ‘lawn’ find a mix of plants good for your hardiness zone that don’t grow tall and require excessive watering after establishment.”
Another simply said: “Don’t.”
Turf gets so hot that if outdoor temperatures reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit, sports coaches have to start thinking about restricting activity on the surface. A 2017 study showed it could intensify the urban heat island effect, harming people and the environment.
The material is also prohibitively expensive, as this $18 per square foot estimate showed.
In March, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that six former Major League Baseball players who spent much of their careers on the turf at Veterans Stadium died of brain cancer. The artificial surface has been linked to other health problems that scientists say could be the result of forever chemicals and other toxins leaching into the environment.
The loss of native habitats and microplastic pollution are among the other effects on the Earth, as turf can lead to soil degradation and air and water pollution via volatilized chemicals and stormwater runoff.
And then there’s the stench factor other Redditors have experienced.
“This has become very popular in Arizona, and is very cosmetically pleasing. However both the homes I service that have artificial grass smell terrible,” one user wrote. “Both homeowners have two dogs and the smell of dog urine is unfathomable. No amount of rain or washing helps, hot days add to the stench.
“Something to consider if your planning on letting your dogs use it.”
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