Fake Grass Has Become a Popular Choice for Homeowners, but Some Are Finding the Plastic Replacement Isn’t Perfect

By: Lauren | Published: Dec 11, 2023

A recent post on Reddit has sparked quite a debate among users regarding astroturf or fake grass at home. 

Many homeowners, especially in the UK, have recently made the change from real to fake grass, but as the debate on Reddit highlights, there may be more downsides than benefits to this decision. 

The Photo on Reddit That Started It All

The post that started this interesting conversation includes a photo of a backyard with a small, clean square of fake grass; another photo sits next to it in which the grass is covered with flower petals. 

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Screenshot of a Reddit post with a photo of an astroturf in a backyard covered by flower petals

Source: Reddit

The author wrote, “I have just had astro fitted, which cost a large amount of money, but unfortunately, I feel like it’s getting ruined a blossom tree that is on my street but hands into my garden. Does anyone know a number that I am able to call for the council to see if i can get the tree trimmed down please… i am hoovering it every day and every morning I wake up to this same mess.”

The Internet Didn’t Respond Positively

Clearly, the author assumed he would get support and even help with his astro-blossom issue, but that’s not exactly what happened.

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Screenshot of the comments section on Reddit

Source: Reddit

In fact, the vast majority of the comments bullied the author for choosing astroturf at all, let alone for complaining about the flower petals. One Reddit user wrote, “For a patch of lawn that tiny, I don’t understand why you’d replace it with astroturf, especially given how bad it is for wildlife.”

Why Do So Many People Opt for Astroturf?

Before diving into the Reddit users’ comments on the negatives of astroturf, it’s first important to understand why so many homeowners have recently paid the big bucks for astroturf. 

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Old lawn tiller with rust and dirt

Source: Freepik

Many homeowners feel that lawn mowers and weed whackers cause air and noise pollution, are dangerous to use, are expensive, and often break. 

Grass Needs to Be Mowed

But the most common is that grass needs to be mowed, which, of course, is quite the task for some people. Lawnmowers are also known to emit chemicals such as carbon monoxide or nitrogen oxide, which can pollute the air. 

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Man mowing his lawn with a push mower

Source: Freepik

These realities have been well-known among homeowners for some time, which is why many have decided to switch to fake grass. However, more and more information is coming to light that shows astroturf may cause just as many issues as real grass. 

Astroturf Is Very Dangerous for Wildlife

First, many Reddit users noted that astroturf is quite dangerous for wildlife, including bees, worms, birds, and even domestic pets. 

Honey Bee collecting pollen from a yellow flower

Source: Freepik

First, it’s important to understand that without soil, the natural ecosystem of a backyard becomes non-existent, which means all the critters who live there will die. Some people see this as a benefit, but those who understand the need for pollination and animal life know the truth. 

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Pets & People Are Negatively Affected by Fake Grass

As well, some pets will become confused and attempt to eat the grass if they’re accustomed to the real stuff, which means they are ingesting plastic. 

Dozens of multi-colored plastic straws

Source: Freepik

In fact, it’s even toxic for humans who know not to eat grass; like all other plastic, astroturf releases microplastics into the air, which, when inhaled, can cause lasting damage. 

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Rising Temperatures Can Make Astroturf Cancerous

In addition to microplastics, fake grass is also known to release carcinogenic chemicals as temperatures rise.

Person holding a thermometer up to the sun

Source: Freepik

And since the planet is experiencing warmer temperatures than ever, that essentially means that every lawn made of astroturf could be directly harming homeowners, as well as their pets. 

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Lawnmowers Can Cause Physical Ailments

The smog created by lawnmowers has also been said to lead to emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma in extreme cases, so those with respiratory issues do need to be careful when taking care of real grass. 

Man wearing a white t-shirt and coughing into his hand

Source: Freepik

With this information now publicly available, many homeowners have decided to forgo astroturf, and some have even decided to skip the standard short-grass long and take it one step further. 

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Local Grasses Are Best for the Environment & the People Who Live There

Environmental scientists now know that native grasses are the best option for lawns not only for the ecosystem but also for the people who live there. 

Field of long green grass against a blue sky

Source: Freepik

They found out that natural, long grasses keep the air temperature much cooler than short grass. Which, of course, benefits the homeowners who enjoy spending time outside without getting scorched.

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Some Are Even Opting for Wildflower Lawns

Cambridge University even decided to do away with their centuries-old short-grass lawn in favor of a wildflower garden.

Hand picking wildflowers from a lawn

Source: Freepik

By doing so, they not only don’t have to mow the lawn, but they’ve improved the air quality, natural ecosystem, and even the beauty of their campus lawn.

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Astroturf Lawns May Be a Trend of the Past

As the author of the original Reddit post realized, nature is inevitable, and the majority of commenters on the post agreed that there’s really no upside to opting for a lawn made of astroturf.

Astroturf baseball field

Source: Freepik

And although there are a few disadvantages to real grass, the benefits for humans, wildlife, pets, and the environment, as well as the downsides of astroturf, make real grass the clear winner. 

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