Synthetic Grass May Be the Way to Go

By Buffy Pollock, Mail Tribune

By the time Central Point resident Oscar Carlson had a synthetic lawn installed last summer, the now 88-year-old figured he’d spent far too many sunny afternoons behind a noisy lawn mower.

Decades into retirement, Carlson received a flier in the mail advertising artificial turf. Though not something he might have considered, other than for a good laugh at anyone who would opt for fake grass, he checked into it.

Much to his surprise, it was a great idea.

Gaining leaps and bounds in popularity, synthetic turf does all the good things grass does — and none of the bad. Consider this. A perfectly green lawn that doesn’t require mowing, stays nice all year and doesn’t need to be weeded, fertilized or sprayed for bugs.

Carlson wound up having some 2, 800 square feet of front and back lawn replaced by Home Country Club of Southern Oregon. Home Country Club owner Doug Norby says earlier renditions of synthetic grass might have been too similar to not-so-real looking sports fields, but new technology offers a range of blade heights, grass type and color.

While grass contributes some oxygen to the atmosphere, it detracts far more from the environment due to water and chemicals used to keep it green, and air pollution caused by lawn mowers.

“It’s [synthetic lawn] actually one of the most environment-friendly products. There are no contaminants, no metals… it’s a very clean product that you don’t have to mow, water or weed, ” Norby says.

For installation, old sod is removed and trucked away. A layer of crushed gravel is laid and compacted. Rolls of synthetic turf are brought in, rolled into place and staked around the edges.

Once in place, layers of sand — up to two pounds per square foot — or rubber infill are “power broomed” into place to ensure grass stands up straight and to hide the base of the lawn, creating a realistic look.

Homeowners have a range of grass types from which they can choose, from Kentucky bluegrass and fescue to rye. Grass is also available in a range of thicknesses and three basic heights, from “just cut this weekend, ” Norby says to “needs cut this week.” …

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