During the height of the United Kingdom’s artificial turf fad in 2021, a Redditor highlighted a post from social media by an adherent who suffered the consequences of a poor landscaping decision.
In the r/CasualUK thread, the poster shared a screenshot of side-by-side photos that showed a pristine synthetic surface alongside the same faux yard covered in the fallen blossoms of a Japanese cherry tree.
Someone apparently thought their costly investment was being ruined because they had to vacuum it every day. Their solution was to inquire about getting the tree “trimmed down.”
Artificial turf is indeed a menace to society. It leaches microplastics into the environment, threatening the health of humans, wildlife, and ecosystems. It has also been linked to the brain cancer deaths of six baseball players who spent much of their careers on one Philadelphia field.
Part of the problem is that turf gets super hot in even mildly warm weather, releasing chemicals, including carcinogens, into the air and burning skin. Another issue is what it does to bees, worms, and other living creatures: preventing access to the soil.
A grass lawn is better, but those present problems as well. The maintenance associated with grass — which usually features gas-powered equipment — contributes air and noise pollution to the environment. Lawnmowers emit carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds. These substances are the building blocks of ground-level ozone and smog, which in turn cause asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.
Native grasses are also more adept at dissipating heat at a time when record temperatures are increasingly common around the globe. One TikToker showed there was a 33-degree difference between the temperature of a grass lawn and that of a tall grass prairie on an 80-degree day.
Lawn transformations offer so many benefits that even Cambridge University has thrown tradition out the window, replacing a 300-year-old yard with a wildflower garden.
“Why do British people love astroturf so much?” a Reddit user wondered. “We are blessed to have green grass all year round here and lots of rain to keep it from drying out. Astroturf is awful for the environment and looks cheap.”
Another said: “‘Ruined’ by a blossom tree. Some people really are ridiculous.”
And someone else pointed out: “Lawns are bad for the environment, mowed lawns are almost useless, artificial lawns are an abomination. Ban plastic straws but not plastic grass?”
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