Pre-mature matting, one of the more dreaded terms in our industry! What is it and how can you prevent it? That is the million-dollar question that will be covered in this article. There are many ways pre-mature matting can occur, but there are also many ways to avoid it from occurring.
For the most part, synthetic grass is low-maintenance and allows you to leave all of the mowing, watering, and fertilizing behind you. However, this does not mean that you shouldn’t take a little extra care to prevent your grass from “matting” and looking dull, as this will later require more work to bring it back to life.
So, let’s get to the actual definition of pre-mature matting. Pre-mature matting occurs when the fibers of your turf become all matted up and are no longer in the upright position. Two factors that usually cause matting are excessive weight and heavy foot traffic. Over a significant amount of time these things can give your grass a dead look that only takes away from the aesthetic. Keeping the grass vertical and using the right type of infill can greatly reduce this pesky annoyance and keep your grass looking great!
Do Your Research
Ask yourself a few important questions before deciding the type of turf you want and the infill you will use. Doing this will ensure you do all you can ahead of time to prevent pre-mature matting from occurring.
- Is it a high traffic area and/or egress (enter/exit)?
- Is it an area where children will play?
- Will there be furniture set in this area?
- Will it be an area for sports activities?
Texture and Groove
Always check turf fibers with a magnifying glass for texture and grooves that run throughout. This is a key sign that the turf fibers can handle wear and tear and are aggressive enough for high traffic areas. If you end up with a turf that is not so aggressive you may find yourself needing to rake and broom way more often than you should. One of the biggest advantages of artificial grass is the low maintenance aspect, so don’t wind up in a position where you can’t enjoy this.
There are different shaped and textured fibers on the market. We sell W-shaped, U-shaped, and even S-shaped fibered turfs that will make for excellent landscapes for heavy traffic areas. We always have a specialist on hand to help you select the best grass alternative for your space, whether it be a playground, sports field, or high traffic area in general. Earlier I mentioned the importance of the infill, so let’s learn a little bit about that.
Choosing the Right Infill
The main purpose of the infill is to add weight to the layout of the synthetic grass. When you choose the right infill, your grass will be strong and able to handle most that comes its way. There are two methods of using and adding infill that will support the wear and tear of the fibers and give your turf a much longer, healthier life.
- Various Infill Placement is most ideal for areas that are used for sports activities. The elevation placement as well as the infill ratios are also important and something that you should have done correctly for best results.
- Blending Infill is a process of blending different types of infills before using them within the fibers of the turf. This process involves blending other types of infill with a crumb rubber infill, whether it be Durafill, sand, silica, or zeolite. With infill blending you can expect your turf to not become stagnant of pushed over when experiencing heavy foot traffic.
Let’s discuss the different types of spaces and the most idea types of infills and turfs that will give you the best results.
High Traffic/Egress Areas
If you want your turf fibers to maintain movement in high traffic areas and areas where people are constantly entering and exiting, you should consider a fiber that is stiff yet springy. You should also use an infill blend that contains crumb rubber and Durafill/silica, about a 70/30 ratio. This will ensure that the fibers do not lose their memory and are aggressive enough for this type of area. For high egress areas, we recommend you considering putting a hardscape in place, such as stepping-stones, pavers, or walkways. This will prevent some maintenance and still make for a beautiful scape. If you don’t prefer a hardscape, placing a 100% crumb rubber can also prove helpful in keeping the maintenance low and the fibers upright.
A textured yet soft fiber is excellent for a playground space. Since these are high impact spaces, choosing a blend of crumb rubber/Durafill at about an 80/20 ratio will help with impaction and allow the fibers to return to their upright position. With a playground space you will experience some “walk off,” which is essentially the crumb rubber granules getting stuck in between shoes and thus “walking off” the turf! You can maintain your space by adding ½ inch of crumb rubber infill and raking it into the fibers every so often.
The rule of thumb with furniture, equipment, and/or toys is to keep things “on the move.” Furniture sitting for long periods of time can create flat spots, especially when it is hot outside. If you want your grass to retain memory, you must move your furniture every so often. We recommend that you keep a bin for toys placed on your hardscape and make sure the toys are returned to the bin after each and every play. Placing infill where the furniture will be set is a great way to keep the fibers upright.
Choosing a turf that is designed for sports play is the way to go for a sports area. These fibers are created a little bit differently, usually without “thatch” and require a crumb rubber/durafill/round silica infill. This infill is pretty standard for sports areas however some sports require different infills.
Now that you’ve read the article and learned about different infills for different spaces, you can contact us for more guidance on choosing the best artificial grass that you can get. Remember, for high traffic areas, hardscaping around the turf is usually the best alternative. As this is not always possible, feel safe! We have done our research so that life with your turf can be as easy and low maintenance as possible.