In situations where natural grass is too expensive, too difficult to maintain, or simply can't be grown, artificial turf is an appealing option. Artificial turf can be used on sports fields or in landscaping and has the distinct advantages of consistency, durability, and no need for watering. The two most common forms of artificial turf are Astro Turf and Field Turf.
AstroTurf was first introduced in 1965. Today, the original AstroTurf is known as AstroTurf 12. Since its introduction, it has become one of the most common forms of artificial turf in a variety of applications, beginning with sports fields and advancing to other commercial and residential uses. Although AstroTurf is actually a brand name, the term has lost its brand association and come to refer to all types of synthetic turf.
AstroTurf is available today in several surfaces, including "GameDay Grass," "Pure Grass," and the aforementioned "AstroTurf 12." GameDay Grass provides a softer surface for athletes, and has replaced older AstroTurf surfaces on many indoor playing fields. Pure Grass is the most realistic-looking option from AstroTurf, ideal for landscaping uses. AstroTurf 12 is the direct continuation of AstroTurf's original product.
Field Turf rose to prominence in the 1990s as an alternative to AstroTurf brand products. Field Turf was designed to look more like natural grass and to provide a softer, more cushioned surface to reduce injury and simulate the natural "give" of grass and dirt. Field Turf is constructed of individual fibres that resemble blades of grass and an infill layer that consists of natural sand and rubber particles. In 2005 the Rogers Centre in Toronto made the transition from AstroTurf to Field Turf, signalling the market dominance of the new product.
Similarities and Differences
In their basic functions, AstroTurf's GameDay Grass and Pure Grass (along with Field Turf) are very much alike. They each resemble natural grass from a distance and offer a consistent colour. They require little maintenance and have a positive environmental impact since they do not require water. In addition, these varieties of artificial turf can be laid over many different surfaces, removing the need to prime a surface or install a drainage system that would be needed with natural grass. AstroTurf 12 is an older product that is less realistic but still offers the same general advantages over natural grass.
Other Types of Turf
There are several other brands of artificial turf that compete with AstroTurf and Field Turf on a smaller scale. These brands are usually less expensive and offered by local or regional landscapers primarily for residential landscaping uses. Websites such as ArtificialTurfSupply.com market their own brand of turf, known as the LXR Pro Series. Italgreen is an all-weather brand of artificial turf that uses an organic (rubber-free) infill and is marketed as safe for pets.