The technicians are now sure: only PowerGrass really reinforces natural grass and allows the harmonious coexistence between natural and synthetic grass, with many mutual benefits.
Natural Grass is still the best playing surface and professional players have always confirmed that: the ball bounces better and control is easier, the pitch is fresh during sunny days, it reduces the risk of injuries to ligaments, knees, ankles sprain, back pain and it is non-abrasive for the skin during falls compared to synthetic turf and clay courts.
Conversely, the number of hours of use is limited and maintenance costs are high for good quality standards, so that field managers often choose to install artificial turf, making a series of compromises for: a) the game modes, as it changes the bounce and the control of the ball and the stability of the surface in wet soil, b) the satisfaction of the viewers, because we see much less markings in tackling, ball recover laying down the grass and c) the safety of the players, for many factors such as: early fatigue during hot days, the distortions for the excessive grip of players cleat football shoes on classic synthetic turf, back pain when the field is hard in the case of clay courts or too elastic in synthetic turf, abrasions in clay courts and in synthetic turf especially when the temperatures is above 30 °C.
Moreover, it is understandable that synthetic turf is better than natural grass pitch which might be full of dangerous potholes. Artificial turf didn't meet expectations and players are looking for something new and better surface to play on, therefore if we could have a natural grass field, resistant to many workouts and official games up to 1200 hours per season, we would achieve a real good, new playing surface.
To achieve that, we use an artificial turf differently, specially designed, to reinforce the natural grass by realizing a symbiotic system, known as "Natural Grass Reinforced" or "Hybrid Grass".
Hybrid systems normally use the synthetic fibers to reinforce the natural grass. Workouts and games take place on natural grass and the presence of artificial fibers is nearly imperceptible, so that they are equivalent to natural ones, while representing a significant improvement and an important innovation. The cleats of player's shoes mark the grass, but do not raise the sod. Without potholes, the surface remains even and the game is better, safer and damages on the grass are limited, reducing drastically the expenses for the recovery of the divots after the games.
Hybrid systems are more appreciated by the players as they make the playing surface stable and more secure, reinforcing the grass sod that would otherwise give away in case of shallow rooting, forming deep and dangerous holes. The players feel more secure and perform better, offering spectacular game actions.
The objectives are clear and expectations are equally challenging, but the experiences on old hybrid systems have always made the task of technicians for the maintenance very compicated, 1-2 years after installation. Integrating an artificial turf to reinforce natural grass and make it more durable, has been studied extensively by the industry over the last 20 years, but to ensure the coexistence we must preserve the conditions of growth of natural grass within the artificial turf, from the very first day of sowing and in medium-long period. Intensive use of the pitch, makes it even more difficult to challenge and we must not forget that the presence of artificial turf limits the possibility of use of some mechanical treatments and in most cases makes the playing surface harder.
Over the years, we have understood that a good hybrid system must have some very specific characteristics to preserve the ideal growing conditions of natural grass and at the same time reduce and make the maintenance easier. The surface must be maintained soft with cushioning effect, durable over time to reduce the need of frequent decompaction.
Experts in sports turfgrass try to stimulate a rich and deep roots system, to make the grass resistant to foot traffic and environmental stress. It goes without saying, that hybrid systems must have the same characteristics and the support of artificial fibers should not significantly restrict roots penetration and growth also under the backing of the artificial turf, therefore should not limit gas exchange between soil and air, otherwise the natural grass is intoxicating during long humid periods.
Therefore, in a hybrid system, it is necessary that the roots have a chance to develop in depth from the first month of growth and this is possible by adopting an artificial turf with a support (also known as backing) draining and breathable. Another essential aspect that is often overlooked, is that the artificial fibers must be properly anchored to the support (backing) to act as reinforcement to the grass and not vice versa. During game actions, players often remove the artificial fibers and the grass sods, because they are not properly fastened to the backing.
There are of course many other factors and technical details that are important so that the project is complete and effective and they have been subject of a long study in the experimental fields in Italy and in Germany by internationally renowned experts.
Geofill PG is an organic "soil conditioner" designed for hybrid systems to be mixed with the sand type USGA, on site, in high amounts up to 50% to: a) make the playing surface soft with a lasting effect over time, b) increase air volume to improve the air circulation in the growth medium above and below the backing and give space to the roots, c) increase both drainage of the water in excess and, at the same time, water retention to promote plant growth.
Barcelona - San Siro
A sod raised from the player causes not only damage to natural grass, but it is especially dangerous for the player.
The reason is simple, without strong and well anchored roots, the sods are raised.
Growing period Cool Season Grasses
Remember that the grass roots do not grow in the same way throughout the year.
Roots of PowerGrass
The roots that anchor the sods to the ground are in the natural grass. Developing deep roots in modern stadiums can be often a very difficult work. In PowerGrass, the roots are anchored in the artificial support, and the problem is solved.
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POWERgrass hybrid turf field
Synthetic turf field