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Gardening with Synthetic Turf
Synthetic turf has been around since the mid-1960s when it was first used to replace grass at America's Astrodome in Houston Texas. It is often called 'Astro Turf' because of this use.
Artificial turf was developed for sporting facilities, especially big indoor stadiums, but has expanded to be used in landscaping projects around office buildings, major civic and entertainment complexes, and for home landscaping.
How Is Synthetic Turf Made?
Artificial or synthetic turf is made in a similar way to a broadloom carpet. It has a backing, usually made of polyester tire cord, and nylon or polypropylene fibres, dyed green to resemble grass. This is treated with a UV filter so the colour does not fade during the life of the product.
After the fibres are threaded through the backing by a huge machine with multiple needles, the artificial turf 'carpet' passes under a latex dispenser for a coating on the underside of the backing. It's given a second backing and then placed under a heat lamp to cure the latex.
More recent advances in artificial turf technology have produced a more natural grass feel. 'Field turf' uses a mixture of smooth rounded silica and cryogenically frozen and smashed rubber particles to provide more "give," which can reduce injuries to people running, playing or falling on it.
The Advantages of Using Synthetic Turf
While synthetic or artificial turf is usually considered for sporting grounds, there is a growing use of synthetic turf in landscaping, especially for large areas of grass, or areas that will receive hard wear from constant traffic.
Instead of grass that looks brown and withered in summer, thanks to water restrictions, or chopped up and muddy during winter, you will have lush green 'grass' all year round.
Artificial turf can drastically reduce maintenance costs on your lawn area. Lawn maintenance supplies such as pesticides, herbicides and fertiliser are no longer required and your water costs are drastically reduced.
During wet weather, water drains through the base of the turf, rather than pooling on the surfaces, so you don't have a wet and muddy area.
Maintaining Artificial Turf Surfaces
As it is a carpet-like surface, artificial turf requires regular brushing and vacuuming to remove dirt and debris from the surface.
It also must be disinfected periodically. Bacteria and viruses do not appear to break down naturally on artificial turf as they do on grass. The presence of such pathogens could cause illness or infection.
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