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Photo Courtesy of AstroTurf®

History of Synthetic Turf


From its origins in the 1960s baseball scene to the high-end commercial projects of today, synthetic turf has been a favourite of architects, designers and landscapers for decades thanks to its outstanding features and aesthetic appeal. 

The original trademarked name AstroTurf has worked its way into the lexicon and it is now a catch-all name for any type of synthetic turf. However, the product itself has progressed in leaps and bounds since the early days, with realistic artificial turf varieties and specific products developed to stand up to the demands of high-performance sports. 

From American AstroTurf in the golden age of baseball to outstanding architectural projects in Australia, synthetic turf has spanned decades and continents to become a versatile and effective landscaping material. 


Where Did Synthetic Turf Originate? 

Synthetic turf first came into use in the 1960s as an alternative to natural grass for sports fields and other recreational spaces. 

Developed by the US-based Monsanto Corporation in the 1960s and initially dubbed ‘ChemGrass’, synthetic turf saw several refinements before the first notable installation of synthetic turf. Installed in the Houston Astrodome in 1966, the product featured the appropriate new brand name of AstroTurf (to honour the Houston Astros baseball team). 

This project became the first major application of synthetic turf in sports, and the product has since gone on to grace ovals, pitches and sports fields across the world as a hard-wearing, low-maintenance and attractive playing surface. 


New Developments in Synthetic Turf

The early synthetic turf systems from the 1960s featured short fibres without any infill, giving a fake ‘plastic’ look. These were soon replaced by more advanced second-generation polypropylene turf systems, which include longer fibres and sand infills, known as ‘shag turf’.

This type of turf had a more attractive appearance, but there was still room for improvement in both looks and behaviour, with early types unable to accurately reproduce the ball bounce and playing characteristics of natural grass. 

Today’s modern systems are made from softer polyethylene and utilise a combination of sand and recycled rubber granules, also known as “rubber crumb” as an infill. This is the variety of synthetic turf that Preferred Turf most frequently instals for professional-grade sports fields, offering the best performance, comfort and foot traction for sports such as soccer. 

For residential, childcare or school applications we use natural infills like kiln-dried sand, negating any health concerns around crumbed SBR rubber


What Makes Synthetic Turf Better Than Natural Grass for Modern Applications?

  1.  Durability: Synthetic turf is more durable than natural grass and can withstand a substantial amount of use without showing significant signs of wear and tear.
  2.  Low maintenance: Synthetic turf requires less maintenance than natural grass, which means it can be used in areas where it would be difficult to maintain natural grass, such as in heavy shade or in poor, rocky soils.
  3.  Water conservation: Artificial turf does not require water to maintain, fertiliser to grow, or constant weed management. 
  4.  All-season: Synthetic turf can be used in all seasons, and offers a smooth level surface that does not become boggy or muddy in rainy weather. 
  5.  Cost: Synthetic turf can be more cost-effective in the long run due to the minimal maintenance needed to keep it looking attractive. 


Design The Future with Preferred Turf

At Preferred Turf, we are building on the strong history of synthetic turf in sports, educational and commercial environments. 

A quality supplier and installer of commercial, education and sporting projects across NSW for over 17 years, we are constantly looking to stay ahead of new developments in the industry to meet today’s demanding applications and environmental requirements. 

Contact our friendly team to find out more about how to select the best synthetic turf for your next project.

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