California's "Turf" Decision
Which playing field is more environmentally friendly: a 150-degree artificial turf surface that uses recyled tires and no water, or a turfgrass surface that uses some water but sequesters two to three times the amount of carbon dioxide than agricultural crops?
Tomorrow, researchers at the University of California, Riverside hope to convince turf connoisseurs at the Turfgrass and Landscape Research Field Day that despite severe drought conditions in the sunny state, new water-conservation techniques and drought-tolerant hybrid turfgrasses favor the latter.
Artificial turfs have sprouted nationwide, providing a stable surface on which to play and requiring minimal treatment. Its guaranteed green lawns even seem ideal for homes in a state like California. But during the hot summer months, surface temperatures reach dangerously scorching highs.
By selling buyers on the latest environmental benefits of turfgrass, UCR academics might be able to keep California's yards and fields aesthetically pleasing one turf at a time. Less water usage with significant carbon reductions and health benefits might perk the ears of even the least environmentally conscious.