Seed World

Kicking the Need for Artificial Turf

There’s a heated discussion going on in the Netherland sabout the potential health risks of artificial grass because of its rubber infill. According to Barenbrug, scientists have found reasons to believe that this infill could increase the risk of cancer.

In the past few years, there’s been a great deal of research invested into natural grasses, and many innovations have since been been introduced.

What’s the outcome? With the proper maintenance, Barenbrug reports that the latest natural grasses offer an excellent and cheaper alternative to artificial grass.

Natural grass has improved tremendously in the field of wear tolerance the past few years. Whereas, sports pitches could often be used for only 250 hours a year in the past, a pitch sown with the latest grass varieties can now tolerate at least 450 hours of playing.

Natural grass is also a good choice for the environment. With proper upkeep, natural grass is a sustainable, environmentally and CO2 friendly product. For example, natural grass binds greenhouse gases from the atmosphere in the soil, exchanging them for oxygen. It also has a strong effect on the reduction of urban heating.

A grass seed mixture may have a strong influence on the turf’s sustainability. Nowadays, there are grass varieties with characteristics such as excellent disease resistance, drought tolerance and utilization of minerals. These characteristics enable savings in, for example, pesticides, water and fertilizers.

Creating an artificial grass pitch will cost around 400,000 euros, or $437,060. A pitch of natural grass is much cheaper, involving only about 80,000 euros, or $87,412.

There’s also a large difference in the annually recurring costs. The costs involved in the upkeep and depreciation of a natural grass pitch amount to about 14,000 ($15,297) euros a year, and those of an artificial one to around 42,000 euros ($45,891).

In short, natural grass scores high on all fronts. And then there’s also the way in which natural grass is perceived and experienced: real grass smells and feels good, many sports enthusiasts prefer playing on natural grass, and it also causes fewer injuries.

All in all, Barenbrug believes it eliminates any need for artificial grass.