Want to Play on Synthetic Turf?
About Synthetic Turf Fields
Synthetic turf is a non-abrasive surface that plays like natural grass. It is very durable and can withstand virtually unlimited play unlike natural turf. There are many benefits of synthetic turf fields including:
- Rain drains off of the field quickly so it can be used all year in a variety of weather conditions without harming the field.
- The field maintains its resilient qualities over time and will not stiffen, thus enabling athletes to enjoy a consistent natural bounce to the surface throughout the life of the field.
- Maintenance is minimal; there is no mowing, irrigation, fertilization, weed control, aeration or overseeding required.
- Players can use all types of athletic shoes and have good traction in wet or dry conditions.
- The turf is non-abrasive and allows athletes to pivot or slide on the turf surface, without risk of “turfburn” injuries.
Like many urban and suburban areas, the use of Arlington ‘s rectangular grass fields far exceeded the number of games recommended for maintaining good field conditions. Arlington was on a continual cycle: pull a field out of use for a season or two to install new sod, provide substantial field maintenance in aerating, fertilizing, reseeding, and installing winter turf covers, then watch the grass die from overuse, and start the whole process again a few years later.
Arlington & Synthetic Turf Fields
All of Arlington’s synthetic turf fields are installed by certified professionals and adhere to STC Guidelines . Each field is tested annually to be sure it meets or exceeds national standards for their ability to absorb shock and reduce impact.
Arlington is strategically moving forward with synthetic turf fields. Washington-Lee’s War Memorial Stadium renovation is under-laid with a shock-absorbing pad, which has been proven to reduce the number and severity of concussions. Arlington is piloting a vulcanized rubber material known as EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) for the infill at the two fields at Williamsburg MS instead of crumb rubber, which is used on the rest of Arlington’s synthetic fields. EPDM resembles crumb rubber and plays like crumb rubber, but is not made from recycled material.
The initial investment for the installation of a full-size, crumb rubber synthetic turf field is more costly – about $700,000, compared to $70,000–$125,000 – for a high-quality, natural grass field. However, natural grass fields are much more expensive to maintain over the field’s life and a synthetic turf field can support as much as five times the amount of play as grass, even in bad weather, without degrading the field.
Arlington County is committed to the safety of our patrons and maintains Arlington County fields to meet the highest standards for synthetic turf safety. At this time, all independent studies report that “the preponderance of evidence shows no negative health effects associated with crumb rubber in synthetic turf.” Read Arlington County Public Health Synthetic Turf Field FAQ . The County will continue to monitor this issue and will take appropriate action based on government recommendations.