Mike Ozanian, Forbes, October 22, 2014


Companies that make and install artificial turf fields market the long-term "cost savings" of using their plastic, cork and rubber product compared with natural grass. The artificial stuff requires less maintenance and can be used more than grass, or so the theory goes.

But all across the U.S. towns and schools that have replaced their grass fields with artificial turf are finding out the hard way that the plastic stuff doesn't always last as long as advertised.

Says Michael Tarantino, director of maintenance and operations for Poway Unified School District, and an at-large director for the Sports Turf Managers Association, "I think you are seeing buyers remorse of artificial turf fields because communities quickly lose sight of the replacement costs associated with artificial turf. You wouldn't use artificial turn from an ROI (return on investment) point of view."

One result has been fighting among field turf installers and their suppliers. For example, as reported in Ripoff Report, three years ago FieldTurf (the leader in artificial turf) filed a major lawsuit against its largest supplier - Royal TenCate based in Holland. By their own admission, at least 167 Fieldturf fields have failed because the synthetic grass fiber has degraded prematurely. 

For example, two years ago, Beaverton School District decided it needed to spend as much as $850,000 to replace the artificial turf at Westview and Southridge high schools, after the 6-year-old athletic fields failed prematurely. Avon High School had its artificial turf field ,which deteriorated prematurely, replaced by FieldTurf at a reduced cost, but the cost to the school district was still $295,000.