May 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 48

OPERATIONS
Synthetic Turf: The World's
Fastest-Growing Play Surface
By Kevin Kinsley

O

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FOREVERLAWN

ver the past 10 years, a new trend in surfacing has emerged
as parks, schools and recreational facilities have chosen synthetic turf as a preferred play surface. Recreational facilities,
ranging from elementary school playgrounds to professional
sports fields, are providing longer playing times, more consistent safety and
improved performance - with significantly less maintenance - thanks to
synthetic turf.

These benefits have led to a growing demand for synthetic turf. Environmental concerns, such as water conservation and pesticide use,
have further expanded the desire
for this popular surfacing option.
In the United States alone, there
are approximately 13,000 synthetic
turf sports fields with around 1,500
new installations each year. Add
playgrounds and play areas to those
figures, and it's easy to see why the
use of synthetic turf is projected to
nearly double by 2025.

Improved Technology
Consumers today can choose from
hundreds of products engineered
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Parks & Recreation

| M AY 2 02 0 | PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G

for virtually any need, from a lush
lawn, to a clean neighborhood dog
park, to a rugged sports field. In addition to the wider variety of products available, the yarn that makes
up the individual blades of grass
has undergone improvements. The
characteristics of the blades are far
more realistic and significantly reduce the probability of turf-related
injuries in sports applications.

Always Ready for Play
Thanks to the effective drainage
and durability of synthetic turf, it's
no longer necessary to close facilities after it rains due to muddy, unsafe conditions. Synthetic turf does
not get muddy or dirty, and athletes who play outdoor sports benefit from the predictable, consistent
surface designed to provide benefits, such as shock absorption and
favorable conditions year-round.

Accessibility
Play areas are among the public
spaces covered by the Americans
with Disabilities Act. Ensuring
that inclusive recreational areas
exist for people of all abilities at
parks, schools, childcare facilities,
shopping centers and public places
is a growing priority. Synthetic turf

surfaces are universally accessible,
offering a consistent surface that
allows wheelchairs to roll easily
and other mobility devices, such as
braces, to be used without sinking
into the ground. Some synthetic
turf even offers static reduction and
antimicrobial agents for added protection and accessibility.

Low Maintenance
Since synthetic turf requires no
water and less upkeep than natural
grass, schools and businesses continue to switch from natural to synthetic to save money and resources.
Synthetic turf maintenance can be
as simple as removing debris with a
leaf blower, compared to seeding,
mowing, weeding and pest control
for natural grass.

Promotes Safety
and Good Health
Local park departments and
schools strive to provide safe, accessible play facilities where people of
all ages can lead active, healthy lifestyles. Synthetic turf is not prone to
mildew and bacteria that can exist
on surfaces, like wet mulch, nor
does it contain allergens. Holes
and uneven surfaces on fields are
no longer a concern. With the current technology incorporated into
the design of today's synthetic turf
fields, surfaces are becoming safer
and more predictable, maximizing
the play experience.
Kevin Kinsley is Brand Leader,
Playground Grass at ForeverLawn
(kevin@foreverlawn.com).



May 2020 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May 2020 - Parks & Recreation

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