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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

Caring for Artificial Turf Grass

Aug 29, 2017 12:24PM ● By Jennifer Molzen

Using artificial turf under a sandbox, play house or baby pool is a great idea for moms who don’t want their children or their toys to sit directly on the lawn. However, if you utilize this method, it is critical to pay attention to what is going on underneath the turf.

         Recently, while at a customer’s home, I learned about moisture levels and the best places for artificial turf. Two pieces of turf became the perfect Tick Tackler laboratory setting. Both were in a shady area: one had a sandbox placed on it and the other was placed under a plastic playhouse. The sandbox turf was positioned on top of dirt and the playhouse turf was on a concrete patio slab. When I lifted both to examine the moisture levels and treat the ground underneath, I noticed that the patio turf was dry as a bone, while the sandbox turf was moist and crawling with insects. Concrete doesn’t retain as much moisture as the natural ground.

         While artificial turf can be beneficial in keeping the weeds at bay and makes for a tidier play space, there are a few things to keep in mind. Routinely monitor the moisture levels under the turf. If it is moist, find a spot that has better drainage and more sunshine. It should be noted, however, that turf in direct sunlight can get hot quickly.  Do not place in a shady area where the yard has poor drainage. Ticks and insects harbor in moist protected environments.  Do not place turf close to brush lines where ticks like to lurk. Think about sprinkling a light coat of food grade Diatomaceous Earth under the artificial turf, which kills ticks, but make sure you don’t overdo it.  Just like corn starch powders, the dust from it can irritate eyes and lungs. To keep your turf clean, try a mixture of vinegar and water and a strong hose.

         The maintenance of artificial turf has officially been added to our 40-point check list of tick friendly

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