The debate appears to continue over whether it is safe to install synthetic grass or not as a replacement for natural grass. Over the past couple of days I have come across news stories that have reported recent decisions that were made by local governments over whether or not synthetic grass was allowed to be installed in the area.

In Southern California the city of Garden Grove has voted to allow residents to install synthetic grass in their lawns instead of real grass. Until now it has been illegal to have the fake lawn in their city and residents have been protesting the fact after some had installed the grass to save on water bills. The ordinance that allows synthetic grass only applies to single family homes in the city.

But you move across the country to Florida and the commissioners of Starlight Cove have outlawed the use of synthetic grass for landscape areas. Among several reasons cited for the ban on the artificial grass is a study done by Philip Busey, associate professor of environmental horticulture (turf) at the University of Florida. His research reports that real grass filters water as it seeps into the aquifer, provides wildlife habitat and shade, sequestration of carbon dioxide and generation of oxygen. Synthetic grass, according to his research, provides none of these benefits.

Following the opposition to the grass it was down to Assistant City Attorney Charles Seaman to codify the opposition into law. In his statement about his process of reaching his decision he said he looked into turf ordinances in other cities for inspiration but “mostly didn’t find them”.

That’s funny, 15 minutes on the Internet and I was able to find quite a few.

It seems that it all depends on which “grass expert” you go to in order to get your scientific evidence over the dangerous nature of synthetic grass. Studies such as the University of Florida one is at odds with the findings of other studies, such as a recent study done by Milone & MacBroom, that have found there don’t appear to be any environmental issues with synthetic grass.

There is no doubt that replacing natural grass with synthetic grass represents a major change to the immediate environment, both above the ground and below. However, what many studies seem to ignore is the damage that is already being done to the environment by the use of chemicals and pesticides that are pumped into the ground in order to keep their natural grass lawns alive and looking lush and green.

Obviously the debate will continue, which is a good thing because as it does, technological improvements will continue to be made ensuring the quality of the product will continue to improve and meet the needs and standards of the community.