AstroTurf: Great for enclosed stadiums, not suburban yards

It’s reported that more Houstonians are using synthetic turf to replace natural grass in their yards.

Is that a good thing?

When it comes to synthetic grass “AstroTurf,” Houston was blessed to have the first in the world, thanks to the Astros playing in the Astrodome in 1966.

KTRH’s GardenLine host Randy Lemmon said the “Eighth Wonder of the World” – the world’s first multipurpose domed sports enclosed stadium — needed it because there wasn’t access to sun and air.

Businesses and industrialized areas are possibly good candidates for it.

Lemmon said if we had the weather of Phoenix, Arizona, he might even have his own artificial turf business.

He refuted nearly every argument made for synthetic turf.

-There’s too much shade to grow a decent lawn.

"You should be doing ground covers in the front yard that look natural," said Lemmon.

-The sun is too harsh.

"A lot of sun on artificial is exceedingly hot. It absorbs the heat and natural turf actually helps do a cooling around properties," said Lemmon. "St. Augustine, Bermuda and Zoysia love to have six to eight hours of sunshine directly on it all day."

-It can stand up to the wear and tear of pets.

"You don't have three labs," said Lemmon.

-The EPA claims mowers emit pollution.

"That's your concern? Then get an electric mower," said Lemmon. "Artificial grass is made from petroleum products."

-EPA data finds grass clippings fill landfills.

"Most people here in the Houston area mulch-mow their grass, as they well should," said Lemmon.

Obvious benefits of synthetic turf include no weeds, bugs, muddle puddles or fertilizing.

“I can flip every environmental concern they have and make that same environmental concern flip on why it has to be natural,” said Lemmon.

But, he doesn’t see it gaining any ground in the suburbs of Houston, unless it’s in a small back yard in a brownstone community. He added any homeowners association in The Woodlands probably won’t approve synthetic turf in the front yard.

Synthetic turf has a lifespan of about 15 years.

It’s reported that in the past seven years, the production of synthetic turf in North America has nearly tripled and is expected to grow another 20 percent in the next three years.

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