Artificial Grass Glossary

Learn terms specific to artificial grass and synthetic turf. At Tri County Turf we like to share information about artificial grass, so you can be confident in your synthetic grass installation. Feel free to contact Tri County Turf with any questions about buying artificial grass for your home or business at (805) 947-9187

aerified – the mechanical process of reintroducing air and pore spaces on a natural grass field to relieve compaction and allow quicker movement of water, nutrients and gases through the root-zone for better root development. A turf surface is considered aerified when a mechanical aerifier is used to make holes a few inches deep and on two-tosix inch centers.

choker layer – a layer of coarse sand or fine gravel that separates the finer textured surface rooting media from the coarse drainage gravel when using the sand construction method.

compaction – the reduction of air space between the soil/root-zone particles of a natural grass field, or of the in-fill material of a synthetic field. A turf surface is considered compacted when heavy vehicular or foot traffic compresses the top two or three inches of soil on a grass field and reduces the movement of the in-fill material on synthetic fields. Compaction makes fields very firm.

crown – the highest elevation of an athletic field used to facilitate excess water run-off. Native soil fields are commonly constructed with a center elevation (crown) up to 18" inches higher than the sidelines. Sand-based and synthetic fields utilize a very minimal crown and sometimes are completely flat.

crumb rubber – coarse sand-sized to small gravel-sized rubber pellets used as an infill material in an artificial turf or topdressed on a natural grass playing field.

Cultivar – a variety or subdivision of a plant species that, because of similar morphology and performance characteristics, can be distinguished from other plants within the species.

cultural practices – mowing, fertilizing, irrigating, aerification and preventive pest control practices used to produce a quality natural turfgrass surface.

density – the number of tillers, leaves or fibers in a unit area. A dense turf is usually very


denier – a unit of weight that expresses the density of a synthetic fiber. The lower the denier, the finer the fiber.

drainage modification – the utilization of coarse sand, gravel and/or perforated piping used to speed the removal of gravitational water after it permeates through the sports turf surface.

drainage profile – a vertical section of the

root-zone sub-surface soil and any drainage

enhancements, such as coarse sand, gravel and

drainage pipe systems that will allow mapping

and facilitating the downward movement of

water into, through, and out of the soil.

dragging – pulling or pushing a mat or tine

rake over a surface to smooth out undulations,

re-incorporate finer particles, or stand-up turf

fibers or tillers.

epidemiological issues – health issues

that can affect many individuals, i.e. heat

exhaustion, or the presence of heavy metals,

carcinogens, and infectious fungi.

face weight – the unit of measure to

determine the amount of yarn per square yard.

field hardness – the ability of a surface to

absorb energy. Shock absorbing properties are

measured in Gmax.

field markings – indications/markings on a

field, such as inbound lines, numbers, and goal

areas that are regulated by the governing bodies

for the particular level of play and sport.

Geo-textile – manufactured fiber materials

made into a variety of fabric constructions

and used in civil engineering and construction


Gmax – a unitless measure used to express the

impact attenuation (hardness) of a surface. It is

the maximum ration of the magnitude of missile

acceleration during impacts to the acceleration

of gravity, expressed in the same units.

Glossary 17

Grade – the desired slope or elevations of an

athletic field achieved by using earthmoving

equipment. A proper grade will remove excess


Grooming – the dragging of a mat, broom, turf

comb or spring-toothed rake on the surface to

stand up the turfgrass, synthetic fibers or infield

material after traffic has occurred.

Heat Index (HI) – the temperature the body

feels when heat and humidity are combined.

Exposure to direct sunlight can increase the HI

by up to 15°F.

impact testing - a measurement of the

hardness of a playing surface. A weight is

dropped from a given height through a guide

tube. An accelerometer is mounted inside

the weight and measures the maximum

deceleration upon impact with the surface. The

surface hardness is expressed as Gmax. The

higher the Gmax, the harder the surface.

monofilament – yarn fiber made in one single

strand. Yarn is extruded out of a shower headtype

extruder versus a film tape for slit-film

yarn fibers.

native soil – unamended soil that is commonly

found in a specified area.

pad – shock absorbing layer sometimes

installed below carpet backing for additional

field cushioning.

pile fiber loss – the reduction of the diameter,

denier, total fiber and/or density of the carpet

fibers due to abrasive actions, such as field

traffic, grooming or other action that may affect

the fibers over a period of time.

plant protectant – an application of a

pesticide before the outbreak of disease or

infestation, usually on grass that has a history

of such outbreaks or infestations.

resiliency – the ability of a surface to recover

from, or adjust easily to, change from objects

that strike the surface.

road mat – a protective cover used to prevent

turf damage in high traffic areas, such as

Enkamat® and Bravomat.

root-zone – layer of soil in which the roots

of the grass plants are found. Also a growing


rubber infill – granulated car tires or sneakers

used as an infill material on synthetic surfaces.

sand-based fields – a field that has a

rootzone/ growing medium that consists of sand

as the primary growth material.

sand-modified fields – a native soil field

that is modified with sand. This is intended

to improve the rootzone, which increases the

water and nutrient retention and increases

field stability.

sand/rubber mix – a percentage of sand and

rubber particles that are combined to create

an “infill material,” which is used on the new

generation of synthetic surfaces. This mix

fills in the areas between the fibers to provide

structural support of the fibers, padding for the

players, and ballast to weigh it down.

seam/inlay integrity – the strength, trueness

and durability of the area between two edges of

synthetic material, which can be hand-sewn or

adhered with adhesives. Numbers, logos, and

line markings are typically done this way. This is

a critical area that needs to be addressed during


shock-absorbency – the ability of an object

to reduce or dissipate energy from the sudden

impact of another object.

site work – earthwork that is necessary

before field construction can take place, i.e. the

removal of buildings, trees, rocks, soil; installing

utilities, improving or installing drainage.

soil profile – a vertical section of soil showing

natural or incorporated layers of different colors,

textures or materials.

spiking – vertically puncturing the soil to

promote turf density and lightly aerify the thatch

layer on natural grass, or loosening the crumb

rubber on synthetic surfaces.

static charge: producing stationary charges

of electricity.

18 Glossary

Glossary 19

subgrade – the soil base upon which a field is

constructed and into which drainage lines are


sun exposure – the amount of Ultra Violet

exposure that materials will undergo based on

the amount of sun exposure. The most particular

concern is the loss of useful tensile properties in

products made from polypropylene materials.

synthetic fibers – manufactured fibers

resulting from chemical synthesis.

synthetic turf – textile product designed to

simulate the appearance and playability of

natural grass utilizing a synthetic fiber grass

blade constructed into fabric form.

synthetic turf backing – intermediate

material used in the manufacturing process

of a synthetic turf system to provide a stable

medium to insert the synthetic fiber grass

blades. The backing also provides dimensional

stability for the synthetic turf system.

sweeping – maintenance process used on

synthetic turf systems to remove loose debris

from the surface and groom the synthetic fiber

grass blades.

thatch – an intermingled layer of living and

dead grass stems, roots, and other organic

matter found between the soil surface and the

grass blades.

topdress – process utilized on synthetic

and natural turf systems in which a material,

such as sand or granulate rubber, is applied

mechanically to the turf to create a consistent,

level playing surface.

underground drainage – system installed

beneath a natural or synthetic turf system to

permit the uniform and speedy exit of moisture

from the playing surface. It may consist of

natural materials, (sand/soil), and/or engineered

products (pipes, drainage mats or synthetic

stone substitutes).

wetting agent – a chemical additive that

improves the spreading, dispersing and/or

wetting properties of water.