Letter to the Editor in Reference to “Trends in the Synthetic Turf Industry”

This is a letter to the editor sent to SportsField Management magazine today in response to the article “Trends in the Synthetic Turf Industry”. 

Link for article is:  http://www.sportsfieldmanagementmagazine.com/article-9114.aspx

Jerad R. Minnick
Rockville, MD
February 28, 2013

Ms. Katie Meyers
SportsField Management Magazine
Suite 201, 515 Bay Street
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

Dear Ms. Meyers:

Greetings to you from the Washington, DC area.  I hope this note finds your week going great!

Having just read the article “Trends in the Synthetic Turf Industry” published in the February edition of SportsField Management magazine.  I feel that several statements made in the article are mis-representations of actual facts.  These statements are as follows:

1)      (Synthetic Turf)”eliminates the use of toxic pesticides, fertilizers and herbicide”

Fact:  Not ALL pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides (also a pesticide) are “toxic”.  Pesticide technology provides Sports Field Managers with products that the EPA requires no signal word designation for, essentially deeming them completely non-toxic.  Fertilizers are all naturally occurring elements that are in no way “toxic”.  Herbicide options include numerous organic products that are naturally occurring.

2)      “It is hard for a grass field to remain lush and resilient if used more than three or four days a week, in the rain, or during months when grass is dormant

Fact:  Sports Field Managers across the world are able to maintain grass fields that sustain some sort of traffic every day of the week

Fact:  Sand “bases” for sports fields, both synthetic and grass, are design to allow water to infiltrate in order to continue play in heavy rain

Fact:  1/5 of the states that make up the USA have weather that allows grass growth 12-months of the year

3)      “The lack of an accessible outdoor field presented problems for many of the students, particularly those who use wheelchairs and walkers that would sink into natural grass playing surfaces.”

Fact: Handicapped children participate in programs on grass fields 365 days a year around the United States w/ no use issue what so ever. 

4)      “Depending on the region of the country, one full-size synthetic turf sports field can save 500,000 to 1 million gallons of water each year.”

Fact:  Synthetic turf field installations are now requiring watering systems for cleaning and for cooling the extreme heat reflected by the carpet

5)      “synthetic turf helps reduce noxious emissions that could be harmful to the environment. According to the EPA, lawn mowers are a significant source of pollution that impairs lung function, inhibits plant growth, and is a key ingredient of smog.”

Fact:  The emissions from lawn mowers are no different than the emissions from any other internal combustion engines

Fact:  Via research from North Carolina State University and Colorado State University, maintained natural grass sequesters .44 tons of C02 per acre per year. That is the equivalent of driving a car 3,000 miles.

Thank You for taking the time to look into these 5 points.  Your attention to this is very much appreciated.  It is unfortunate that the article lacked any information on actual “trends” to help those of us who maintain synthetic fields along with our natural grass fields.

I have also posted this letter to the editor as an open letter on the blog site: http://growinggreengrass.net .


Jerad R. Minnick

4 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor in Reference to “Trends in the Synthetic Turf Industry”

  1. This is great! Read the article as well and it seemed like the writers were reaching for reasons to choose synthetic over natural.

    • I personally do not see how false, negative statements directed at natural grass fields in order to promote synthetic are in any way a “trend”. Proclaiming that grass field maintenance is “toxic” in order to promote synthetic is not a “trend”. Attacking a hard working Sports Field Manager’s NFL field without all the information in order to promote synthetic is not a “trend”. Blaming lawn mowers specifically for air pollution and smog at the same time as promoting the use of other internal combustion engine equipment to maintain synthetic is in no way a “trend”. Ignoring the fact that a single, full-sized natural grass soccer field removes the equivalent amount of CO2 from the air in one year that a car emits while driving from Boston to LA, and then back to Boston, is in no way a “trend”. Involving handicapped children period in order to further the synthetic cause is also not a “trend”.

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