As a drought becomes a major concern in California, the idea of replacing old lawns with artificial grass becomes more and more attractive to home and business owners. In the interview with Ken Wayne, Fox News, San Francisco, Jim Luthi, the homeowner of Newark, confessed he has bit the bullet and replace the sod with artificial turf: "Thirty something years of having droughts on and off. "
As every homeowner knows, a nice lawn takes a lot of work and water, and for some it doesn't worth it anymore.
"A few years ago I wouldn't have got this because I didn't like the artificial turf, but they've gotten so good now that I figured you know what, I'm going to do it. And I wanted to lessen the workload on myself a little too," Jim said.
Michael McGinnis, a landscaper, loaded his pick up with a giant roll of artificial turf at Global Syn-Turf's warehouse in Hayward, California. He says he is getting a lot more business installing turf.
"It's becoming extremely popular. People can't get enough of it I guess," he told KTVU.
The artificial grass industry is exploding. Global Syn-Turf, the largest artificial grass manufacturing company in America runs 45,000 square foot warehouse in Hayward. But that's only a small part of their business. They carry artificial turf products all around United States, including large metropolitan areas in Florida, Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, New York and East Coast. Residents and landscaping businesses in Southern California pick up turf directly from GST's huge Los Angeles and San Diego warehouses. With increasing popularity of artificial turf in United States, most manufacturers run out of products quickly, but not Global Syn-Turf.
Dave Maronic, a company vice-president, told KTVU the business is booming. "We've doubled, tripled every month," he said. "Different engineered blades is the way of the world right now."
Global Syn-Turf produces more than 65 types of artificial grass of different colors, heights and weights. Engineered blades are designed for high performance, impeccable resilience, super-natural looking turf. It is not your old-fashioned, carpet looking Astroturf.
"It looks just like the real thing, feels like the real thing. It's environmentally safe for the kids, for the pets," said Maronic.
With the late concern about a crumb rubber linked to health issues and used by other artificial grass manufacturers, Dave Maronic made it clear that Global Syn-Turf has never been in favor with the use of old, used crumb tires, and always recommended natural infill solutions to their customers.
"It's environmentally safe for the kids, for the pets," said Maronic. "There's different padding to meet G-Max ratings for fields that you don't have to use that rubber. So it's not something we carry. Not something we sell," he said.
G-Max is the measurement of the shock attenuation of sports surfaces. The performance values of an artificial grass field can be understood as a reflection of the field's G-Max rating. With the G-Max below 120, the surface is too soft and may not provide enough energy return to the athlete, and leads to premature exhaustion. When G-Max rating is above 180, it creates an overly hard field, and will cause a performance hazard introducing the risk for severe injuries. The use of crumb rubber is not required to achieve perfect G-Max rating, and there are other ways to achieve a maximum level of protection to athletes.
This year, Global Syn-Turf installed a million square feet of turf at the Twin Creek Sports Complex in Sunnyvale, California.
You may think that installing artificial grass is a more expensive alternative to a natural sod, but in a long haul it pays for itself by reducing water bills and the maintenance costs. In California, major water agencies run rebate programs to help homeowners transition their lawns into the drought-tolerant landscape. According to professor of Earth sciences at UC Santa Cruz Lisa Sloan, who predicted a severe California drought back in 2004, "the actual situation in the next few decades could be even more dire that our study suggested." But even the scientists are wrong, for most homeowners swapping to artificial lawns makes more sense money and maintenance wise.
At least that's the thinking of Jim Luthi as he gazes at his pristine Newark yard. "I think it looks great. Looks fabulous. Looks like regular grass."