Turf vs. Grass Fields

May 19, 2014

ID-10036062

Image courtesy of Worakit Sinjinda / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With the arrival of spring and summer on the horizon, students will be spending more time out doors than they have in recent months. Whether they are in engaged in spring sports, gym class, field day, or outdoor events such as graduations, students are likely to find themselves on your school’s field. Over the past few years, administrators have found themselves amongst others who have begun to question whether they should make the switch from natural grass fields to turf fields. By definition, artificial turf is a surface of synthetic fibers that are made to look like natural grass. Typically, underneath the surface lies a rubber like material that is often produced by recycled rubber products.

As a school administrator, it’s important to provide a facility that both you and your students will benefit from, and therefore you must weigh the pros and cons of all available options when making the decision on which kind of field you will use. The following are some pros and cons of artificial turf fields to help guide you in the decision making process:

Pros:

1. Cost: Though the initial cost of a turf field is quite expensive, they are financially friendly in the long run. This is because they require less maintenance than a traditional grass field. For example, turf fields do not die over the winter as grass fields do, and they are resistant to damage from animals. Additionally, turf fields do not need to be cut or receive chemical treatments the way that grass fields do.

2. Safety: Since turf fields are relatively weather resistant, the risk of tripping or falling under certain weather circumstances is reduced. In fact, sporting events that would normally be canceled due to rain can generally still be carried out since turf fields eliminate the problem of mud and excessive slipperiness. Due to this characteristic, many believe that the chance for injury is also reduced (such as ankle sprains) since students are less likely to experience an uneven surface or slip.

3. Location: While grass cannot generally thrive indoors, turf fields can, making indoor fields an option. This can be extremely beneficial for schools who offer winter track, since students would no longer be subjected to the chilly outdoors throughout their sport’s season.

Cons:

1. Heat: Though turf fields are advantageous in the rain, they are often difficult to manage in the heat. Turf fields are known to attract heat, and studies have shown that the temperature of some fields can even rise to be more than 30 degrees hotter than the air temperature. This can become a safety and health hazard for students since it increases the likelihood of dehydration.

2. Chemicals: Although they don’t require the use of pesticides or fertilizers, turf fields may expose its users to chemicals like lead, zinc, cadmium, or chromium. Additionally, after a  storm, turf fields can produce toxic runoff which can end up in the water we drink. In the long run, too much exposure to these chemicals can be harmful to both students and the natural environment.

3. It’s Permanent: Once artificial turf is placed over grass, it is extremely difficult to go back to a natural field. This is because once turf is installed, it harms any organism in the soil making it impossible to grow anything on the surface without waiting years for the soil to be rejuvenated.

For more pros and cons of turf fields, click here.

Once you’ve decided on the playing field you plan to have installed, it’s time to think about the seating that will accompany it. After building a beautiful new field, it seems only fitting to choose grandstands or bleachers that can further enhance your school’s outdoor setting. That’s where we come in!  At Nickerson Corporation, we’ve partnered with leading manufacturers including Sturdisteel to provide seating that is both safe and comfortable to make sure that your viewers are provided with an unforgettable viewing experience. If you already have outdoor bleachers and grandstands, we are available for complete on site maintenance, inspections, repairs and enhancements to ensure they are up to code.

For more information, contact us at 631-666-0200 today!