Artificial Grass Problems in Spain.
So you have decided on an instant lawn solution with artificial grass - but is it the right choice?
There are many arguments put forward for Artificial, Synthetic, Plastic grass, Fake Grass. And there are many reasons why people decide upon plastic lawns. Indeed for many commercial installations Artificial Grass makes a lot of sense.
In plain English here are just a few of the issues:-
Firstly it's a complete myth that Artificial grass needs no maintenance. Read on for details.
Cost - The figures just don't stack up!
We have been quoted 25 euros for artificial grass and 25 euros to prepare the ground and lay it. You can purchase cheaper alternatives, but the quality would be suspect. So the cost for installing 100M2 of lawn would be around 5,000 euros. Even if you were to assume that you spent 500 euros on drought resistant grass and purchased water the most expensive way possible, the first years cost would be around 900 euros and 400 euros every year after that.
At that rate it would take over 8 years for you to recover the initial cost of installing artificial grass. Unfortunately this is towards the end of the useful life of the artificial grass, often outside the warranty period and when it is beginning to show signs that it needs replacing!
To suggest that artificial grass (a plastic petro-chemical product) is either sustainable or ECO friendly is total nonsense. The recent moves away from plastic packaging and carrier bags supplied by Supermarkets is testimony enough.
After heavy foot traffic or after furniture has sat on the lawn for a long time, an artificial grass lawn may flatten and require "fluffing" with a rake. You may have to pull up weeds, which occasionally grow in the infill. After years of use, artificial or synthetic grass becomes compacted and may need new infill. This time-consuming process involves removing the old infill with a wet-dry vacuum and adding new infill with a spreader. Unlike natural grass, artificial or synthetic grass has a uniform, bright green color that may look out of place in the winter.
Heat remains a problem with synthetic grass, with a hot day capable of turning an artificial lawn from a lush oasis to a foot-frying carpet of torture. Lawn temperatures can be as high as 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit above the air temperature. In direct summer sun (especially in the Mediterranean), synthetic grass becomes much hotter than natural grass and can smell like hot rubber. When the outdoor temperature is between 90 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the synthetic grass temperature can approach 200 F, according to Brigham Young University. On a hot summer afternoon, children and pets cannot play or walk barefoot on an artificial lawn surface. Sprinkling the area with water is often recommended and may lower the synthetic grass temperature, but the cooling effect lasts for only five to 20 minutes. So the water saving benefits of artificial grass are greatly diluted.
Not ECO Friendly - Environmental Concerns
Unlike natural grass, synthetic grass does not absorb carbon dioxide or produce oxygen, and does not filter pollutants from air and water. When it is time to replace synthetic grass, the old grass usually goes into a landfill because the material is not recyclable. Synthetic grass releases greenhouse gasses into the environment. Harmful substances, such as zinc and nonylphenol, may leach from the recycled rubber granules and pollute water, according to the Washington Toxics Coalition.
Not Child and Pet Friendly - Toxicity
Toxic metals including zinc, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and chromium can be present, which have many harmful effects on humans and the environment.
Dirt and Odor
Synthetic grass needs regular cleaning with a bristle brush or broom to remove dirt, leaves, pet hair and other debris. Unlike natural grass, artificial grass does not promote decomposition of pet feces, urine or anything else that was alive, which can leave odors. One owner was quoted saying "If he doesn’t hose down the animals’ waste within 10 minutes or so, the smell becomes unbearable — far worse than it was with natural lawn". Wash the turf with soapy water and a pressure washer or power washer to remove pet odors and any remaining small debris. Do not clean with undiluted bleach, which will damage synthetic grass.
Weeds can and do grow in artificial grass. Weeds grow in driveways, pathways, cracks in concrete, tarmac, and rock crevices, do you really think they wont grow in an open space of permeable plastic? Crabgrass is the worst when it gets hold. So be prepared for the prospect of weed killing your artificial lawn.
Once you have your artificial or synthetic grass, it is a real problem to modify borders or change the layout of your garden.
Here is an extract from a Synthetic Grass Sales Manual:
"While the maintenance for wholesale synthetic grass is significantly easier and less expensive than natural grass, it still requires proper care to help ensure you maximize the useful life of your installation. Instruct your customers to rake or carpet brush their carpets every few months. It helps to revitalize the pile and to bring small foreign objects to the surface. Never use a metal rake or brush though! It tears the fibers causing over fibrillation and may actually void your warranty.
Disinfecting your synthetic grass can be accomplished in several ways:
1. Vinegar and Water – with a hose attachment or a pump sprayer, spray solution onto synthetic grass.
2. Bleach Wash – diluted bleach will not discolor the turf. One tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water.
3. Turf Disinfectant – there are several enzymatic cleansers available. They are environmentally friendly.
Cleaning your infilled turf – Spray down with a hose on a regular basis. We also recommend using vinegar or an enzymatic cleaner to disinfect your lawn, as well. Animal droppings need to be picked up regularly and sprayed down with water, vinegar or turf cleaner."
Lawns in Spain does not sell Artificial Grass, but we do sell a safer substitute - Real Grass.