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A Growing Industry Worldwide, Despite Lack of Hard Numbers

For competitive reasons, companies in the synthetic grass industry keep a tight lid on their sales, market share and potential growth figures. However, the Synthetic Turf Council has said that the market for synthetic grass is already over $500 million a year and is growing very quickly.

The Council also suggests that the share of product sold for artificial lawns (compared with sport fields or other uses) is the fastest growing segment of the industry, increasing nearly 80% a year.

TenCate, a Dutch manufacturer of plastics used in artificial grasses, said in its annual report that “the volume of the global market (for artificial grass) will increase by an average of approximately 15% (annually) in the coming years.” The manufacturer further said there will be “an increasing demand in the market for fibers that bear a stronger optical resemblance to natural grass.”

Aesthetic, Practical and Environmental Reasons Fueling Industry Growth.  Homeowners, daycare centers, pet resorts and private elementary schools agree that today’s top-quality synthetic grasses look just like the real stuff. But other reasons also lead many homeowners and businesses to choose CleanTurf and the new generation of artificial lawns over sod.

The primary reason is to enjoy a lush, green lawn all year, regardless of the weather, and with no yard work. Not having to maintain a yard is the next biggest selling point for CleanTurf. Many homeowners give other reasons:

They like to travel – or their business requires them to be away from home. With a synthetic lawn, they can leave home for as long as they want and not worry about whether their grass will survive or setting sprinkler systems.

Their health or age doesn’t allow them to put the time and energy into yard upkeep. These customers simply want to put more of their valuable time and energy into tasks they enjoy more than taking care of a turf lawn.

They consider a synthetic grass environmentally responsible. This is especially true in arid or drought-plagued regions of the United States. CleanTurf's Products do need to be watered, fertilized, mowed or treated with pesticides.  They got tired of their dogs ruining their natural turf yards. CleanTurf is incredibly close to the real thing – and dogs and kids agree!

More Cities Pay Property Owners to Use Synthetic Grass     

An increasing number of cities and water conservation districts are paying homeowners, businesses and even schools to “go synthetic.” Many are offering rebates for property owners who tear out existing natural turf and replace it with artificial lawns, such as CleanTurf and other new-generation synthetic grasses.

Depending on the location and climate, studies show that homeowners and some businesses use between 50 percent and 70 percent of their water on their natural grass and gardening.

Here are some examples of a trend occurring throughout the Southwest and West:

Southern Nevada Water Authority recently cited turf replacement as a key element of a long-range plan to heighten local conservation efforts.
In Albuquerque, N.M., the city water commission offers as much as $500 to residents who convert even part their lawn to landscaping that needs little water or to artificial grass. Las Vegas, Nev., and Mesa, Ariz., have similar programs.

The North Marin (California) Water District has paid high schools $15,000 an acre to switch from natural to synthetic surfaces. The district also limits the size of combined natural turf and swimming pools in new homes to 5,000 square feet, and encourages plants over turf grass and natural foliage.

Reno, Nev., in 2003 started paying homeowners willing to remove grass from their yards $1 per square foot. The program paid out $13 million in its first seven months that year.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), a cooperative of water agencies serving 19 million people people in six counties throughout Southern California, including Los Angeles and San Diego, is offering rebates starting at $0.30 per square foot.


aerified – the mechanical process of re- introducing air and pore spaces on a natural grass field to relieve compaction and allow quicker movement of water, nutrients and gases through the root-zone for better root development. A turf surface is considered aerified when a mechanical aerifier is used to make holes a few inches deep and on two-to- six inch centers.

choker layer – a layer of coarse sand or fine gravel that separates the finer textured surface rooting media from the coarse drainage gravel when using the sand construction method.

compaction – the reduction of air space between the soil/root-zone particles of a natural grass field, or of the in-fill material of a synthetic field. A turf surface is considered compacted when heavy vehicular or foot traffic compresses the top two or three inches of soil on a grass field and reduces the movement of the in-fill material on synthetic fields. Compaction makes fields very firm.

crown – the highest elevation of an athletic field used to facilitate excess water run-off. Native soil fields are commonly constructed with a center elevation (crown) up to 18" inches higher than the sidelines. Sand-based and synthetic fields utilize a very minimal crown and sometimes are completely flat.

crumb rubber – coarse sand-sized to small gravel-sized rubber pellet's used as an infill material in an artificial turf or topdressed on a natural grass playing field.

Cultivar – a variety or subdivision of a plant species that, because of similar morphology and performance characteristics, can be distinguished from other plants within the species.

cultural practices – mowing, fertilizing, irrigating, aerification and preventive pest control practices used to produce a quality natural turfgrass surface.

density – the number of tillers, leaves or fibers in a unit area. A dense turf is usually very resilient.

denier – a unit of weight that expresses the density of a synthetic fiber. The lower the denier, the finer the fiber.

drainage modification – the utilization of coarse sand, gravel and/or perforated piping used to speed the removal of gravitational water after it permeates through the sports turf surface.

drainage profile – a vertical section of the root-zone sub-surface soil and any drainage enhancements, such as coarse sand, gravel and drainage pipe systems that will allow mapping and facilitating the downward movement of water into, through, and out of the soil.

dragging – pulling or pushing a mat or tine rake over a surface to smooth out undulations, re-incorporate finer particles, or stand-up turf fibers or tillers.

epidemiological issues – health issues that can affect many individuals, i.e. heat exhaustion, or the presence of heavy metals, carcinogens, and infectious fungi.

face weight – the unit of measure to determine the amount of yarn per square yard.

field hardness – the ability of a surface to absorb energy. Shock absorbing properties are measured in Gmax.

field markings – indications/markings on a field, such as inbound lines, numbers, and goal areas that are regulated by the governing bodies for the particular level of play and sport.

Geo-textile – manufactured fiber materials made into a variety of fabric constructions and used in civil engineering and construction applications

Gmax – a unitless measure used to express the impact attenuation (hardness) of a surface. It is the maximum ration of the magnitude of missile acceleration during impacts to the acceleration of gravity, expressed in the same units.

Grade – the desired slope or elevations of an athletic field achieved by using earthmoving equipment. A proper grade will remove excess water.

Grooming – the dragging of a mat, broom, turf comb or spring-toothed rake on the surface to stand up the turfgrass, synthetic fibers or infield material after traffic has occurred.

Heat Index (HI) – the temperature the body feels when heat and humidity are combined. Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the HI by up to 15°F.

impact testing - a measurement of the hardness of a playing surface. A weight is dropped from a given height through a guide tube. An accelerometer is mounted inside the weight and measures the maximum deceleration upon impact with the surface. The surface hardness is expressed as Gmax. The higher the Gmax, the harder the surface.

monofilament – yarn fiber made in one single strand. Yarn is extruded out of a shower head- type extruder versus a film tape for slit-film yarn fibers.

native soil – unamended soil that is commonly found in a specified area.

pad – shock absorbing layer sometimes installed below carpet backing for additional field cushioning.

pile fiber loss – the reduction of the diameter, denier, total fiber and/or density of the carpet fibers due to abrasive actions, such as field traffic, grooming or other action that may affect the fibers over a period of time.

plant protectant – an application of a pesticide before the outbreak of disease or infestation, usually on grass that has a history of such outbreaks or infestations.

resiliency – the ability of a surface to recover from, or adjust easily to, change from objects that strike the surface.

road mat – a protective cover used to prevent turf damage in high traffic areas, such as Enkamat® and Bravomat.

root-zone – layer of soil in which the roots of the grass plants are found. Also a growing medium.

rubber infill – granulated car tires or sneakers used as an infill material on synthetic surfaces.

sand-based fields – a field that has a rootzone/ growing medium that consists of sand as the primary growth material.

sand-modified fields – a native soil field that is modified with sand. This is intended to improve the rootzone, which increases the water and nutrient retention and increases field stability.

sand/rubber mix – a percentage of sand and rubber particles that are combined to create an “infill material,” which is used on the new generation of synthetic surfaces. This mix fills in the areas between the fibers to provide structural support of the fibers, padding for the players, and ballast to weigh it down.

seam/inlay integrity – the strength, trueness and durability of the area between two edges of synthetic material, which can be hand-sewn or adhered with adhesives. Numbers, logos, and line markings are typically done this way. This is a critical area that needs to be addressed during construction

shock-absorbency – the ability of an object to reduce or dissipate energy from the sudden impact of another object.

site work – earthwork that is necessary before field construction can take place, i.e. the removal of buildings, trees, rocks, soil; installing utilities, improving or installing drainage.

soil profile – a vertical section of soil showing natural or incorporated layers of different colors, textures or materials.

spiking – vertically puncturing the soil to promote turf density and lightly aerify the thatch layer on natural
grass, or loosening the crumb rubber on synthetic surfaces.

static charge: producing stationary charges of electricity.

subgrade – the soil base upon which a field is constructed and into which drainage lines are added.

sun exposure – the amount of Ultra Violet exposure that materials will undergo based on the amount of sun exposure. The most particular concern is the loss of useful tensile properties in products made from
polypropylene materials.

synthetic fibers – manufactured fibers resulting from chemical synthesis.

synthetic turf – textile product designed to simulate the appearance and playability of natural grass utilizing a synthetic fiber grass blade constructed into fabric form.

synthetic turf backing – intermediate material used in the manufacturing process of a synthetic turf system to provide a stable medium to insert the synthetic fiber grass blades. The backing also provides dimensional stability for the synthetic turf system.

sweeping – maintenance process used on synthetic turf systems to remove loose debris from the surface and groom the synthetic fiber grass blades.

thatch – an intermingled layer of living and dead grass stems, roots, and other organic matter found between the soil surface and the grass blades.

topdress – process utilized on synthetic and natural turf systems in which a material, such as sand or granulate rubber, is applied mechanically to the turf to create a consistent, level playing surface.

underground drainage – system installed beneath a natural or synthetic turf system to permit the uniform and speedy exit of moisture from the playing surface. It may consist of natural materials, (sand/soil), and/or engineered products (pipes, drainage mats or synthetic stone substitutes).

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