Another step in the growing acceptance of synthetic grass is about to be taken when the World Cup finals begin in June 2010. For the first time ever some of the games will be played on synthetic grass or at least, grass that is not entirely natural.

A Dutch company called Desso will be artificially enhancing the pitches of two stadiums in Nelspruit and Polokwane. This is a little different to the usual artificial turf pitches that are more like artificial carpets laid out over a specially prepared surface.

In this case the company will be enhancing the existing natural turf pitches by injecting artificial grass fibres every two centimetres. The process will eventually involve the inclusion of something in the order of 20 million fibres and they will reach a depth of around 20 centimetres. This system is called Grassmaster and it results in a turf surface that is made up of 97 per cent natural grass and 3 per cent synthetic grass.

The Grassmaster system is yet another new technology in the synthetic grass field that is improving the playing conditions as well as the look of the stadia in which it is used. It is a process that is quite expensive and is only suitable for those grounds that are dedicated to a single sport such as some of the home grounds that currently use it in the English Premier League. It would be very difficult to justify the use at grounds where the grass is temporarily removed for other events.

The CEO of Desso has explained that the Grassmaster system makes the pitche sin which they are installed many times sturdier because the natural grass roots intertwine with the artificial fibres and so there is less damage to the surface and the act of sliding across the surface is less devastating.

Not all surfaces are suitable for the procedure to be used with the manufacturer preferring to sow the artificial grass in a bare surface before the real grass is sown in. Similarly not all types of grass are suitable to have the injection procedure take place.

There is already preparations being undertaken by the company to prepare for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The best results are achieved when the ground is injected with the artificial fibres a year in advance to give the grass roots a chance to properly intertwine with the artificial fibres.

If synthetic grass surfaces were becoming increasingly difficult to detect before, it is becoming even more difficult with products like Grassmaster injecting strands in between the natural grass.

You can find further reading of the full story of synthetic grass at the World Cup here.