The very first synthetic grass installation took place in 1964 at Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island. What was only supposed to be used as a way to improve and increase youth’s physical fitness in the 50s has sprouted to an entire industry! The incredible industry we know today as the synthetic grass industry. The “chemgrass” installed at Moses Brown eventually became known as the all popular “Astroturf.”
What’s ironic about the industry is that the concept of artificial grass actually didn’t start with grass at all. It all started with synthetic fiber carpeting in schools, created by a joint venture between Monsanto company, the Ford Foundation, and a company called Chemstran. These carpets were tested for flammability, durability, and water drainage and began making their appearance in schools across the country.
Astroturf gained fame from its use for the MLB team the Houston Astros in the Astrodome (hence the name!). It then spread to other sports arenas and became very successful. It changed over time, from the development of “shag-turf” that utilized longer yarns created from a softer polyproplyne material, to a third generation turf that utilized softer blade fibers.
Synthetic grass has continued to gain fame over the years and was even used in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Games in South Africa. Helping stadiums that can’t maintain natural grass, homeowners with sensitive children, and making areas that experience drought more green and attractive than ever, it’s definitely changed the world of landscaping for the better.