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The problem with artificial grass

San Diegans deal with the impermeability

Outside Valvoline Instant Oil Change shop in City Heights.
Outside Valvoline Instant Oil Change shop in City Heights.

When I get in at 6:50 am,” Jeffrey said, “it’s already here: fresh poop.”

Almost every morning, Jeffrey opens up the Valvoline Instant Oil Change shop in City Heights.

“I’m like saying, 'Don’t do it, bro, don’t do it.'”

“When I see people with dogs, I’m waiting,” he said. “I’m like saying “Don’t do it, bro, don’t do it.”

The business he manages has artificial grass by the sidewalk along University Avenue and 39th Street — and despite the pet waste bags within seven feet, dog-walkers aren’t taking them.

“We have to come out and clean up every morning,” Jeffrey said.

As I took photos of his shop’s artificial grass, it looked clean, but the smell of urine was apparent.

“Before sunset, you spray an enzyme cleaner like Simple Green Outdoor Eliminator, but do not ever rinse it off because it works overnight,” advised Deanna, co-owner of ZasGrass Artificial Turf – Recycled Turf in Lakeside.

I spoke with Deanna on September 29 at her location off El Nopal by Highway 67; she was selling football field remnants to a family for 50 cents a sq./ft. and measuring it out with a Rolatape.

Katherine from Imperial Beach has the same problem with the stench coming from her artificial turf.

“After the dogs pee, we spray water to rinse it off and no matter how much we rinsed it [especially] when it was hot outside — it smelled,” Katherine said. “The turf is supposed to be better to cut back on water but if you [and your neighbors] have dogs, this isn’t going to save you money on water.”

Katherine has two lab/pit mix-breed dogs. “It was easier for poop to maintain because the smell went away,” she said, “but in time, the pee smell got worse and you didn’t even want to be outside on a hot day.”

Katherine’s neighbor speculated the stench could be coming from another source. “Water may be seeping through the turf and causing root-rot in your soil giving out a nasty smell.”

Deanna, who’s been dealing with artificial turf/grass for eight years and installing it during the last three — disagrees.

“There’s two things that stink and it’s not the turf: the turf doesn’t really hold the smell. It is likely the weed blocker that [might’ve] been put underneath the artificial turf that holds the stink of the urine when it seeps through. The second thing is, if you put silica sand [infill] which are put in the fibers to hold the grass blades up. Silica absorbs and holds the smell and it’s going to stink like crazy if the dogs pee in there.”

“There’s another [infill] option called ZeoFill that comes from Nevada in Death Valley,” she said, “that is what you [can] use instead of silica sand — ZeoFill [infill] absorbs the urine and releases the ammonia. It’s double the price to use it but you are going to get double the smell if you don’t."

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Outside Valvoline Instant Oil Change shop in City Heights.
Outside Valvoline Instant Oil Change shop in City Heights.

When I get in at 6:50 am,” Jeffrey said, “it’s already here: fresh poop.”

Almost every morning, Jeffrey opens up the Valvoline Instant Oil Change shop in City Heights.

“I’m like saying, 'Don’t do it, bro, don’t do it.'”

“When I see people with dogs, I’m waiting,” he said. “I’m like saying “Don’t do it, bro, don’t do it.”

The business he manages has artificial grass by the sidewalk along University Avenue and 39th Street — and despite the pet waste bags within seven feet, dog-walkers aren’t taking them.

“We have to come out and clean up every morning,” Jeffrey said.

As I took photos of his shop’s artificial grass, it looked clean, but the smell of urine was apparent.

“Before sunset, you spray an enzyme cleaner like Simple Green Outdoor Eliminator, but do not ever rinse it off because it works overnight,” advised Deanna, co-owner of ZasGrass Artificial Turf – Recycled Turf in Lakeside.

I spoke with Deanna on September 29 at her location off El Nopal by Highway 67; she was selling football field remnants to a family for 50 cents a sq./ft. and measuring it out with a Rolatape.

Katherine from Imperial Beach has the same problem with the stench coming from her artificial turf.

“After the dogs pee, we spray water to rinse it off and no matter how much we rinsed it [especially] when it was hot outside — it smelled,” Katherine said. “The turf is supposed to be better to cut back on water but if you [and your neighbors] have dogs, this isn’t going to save you money on water.”

Katherine has two lab/pit mix-breed dogs. “It was easier for poop to maintain because the smell went away,” she said, “but in time, the pee smell got worse and you didn’t even want to be outside on a hot day.”

Katherine’s neighbor speculated the stench could be coming from another source. “Water may be seeping through the turf and causing root-rot in your soil giving out a nasty smell.”

Deanna, who’s been dealing with artificial turf/grass for eight years and installing it during the last three — disagrees.

“There’s two things that stink and it’s not the turf: the turf doesn’t really hold the smell. It is likely the weed blocker that [might’ve] been put underneath the artificial turf that holds the stink of the urine when it seeps through. The second thing is, if you put silica sand [infill] which are put in the fibers to hold the grass blades up. Silica absorbs and holds the smell and it’s going to stink like crazy if the dogs pee in there.”

“There’s another [infill] option called ZeoFill that comes from Nevada in Death Valley,” she said, “that is what you [can] use instead of silica sand — ZeoFill [infill] absorbs the urine and releases the ammonia. It’s double the price to use it but you are going to get double the smell if you don’t."

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Comments
12

Artificial turf is worse than regular grass in every particular. As this article shows, you still need to "water" it and "treat" it with chemicals to maintain it—which all goes (along with bits of its plastics and slag) into storm drains then the ocean.

At least with grass or even xeriscape, water and pet waste can be absorbed and broken down to contribute to living soil. Artificial turf creates a literal dead zone underneath and a stinky flood contributor above. Just, yuck.

Oct. 2, 2018

Here's a solution. Get rid of both real grass and artificial grass. It's really not needed unless you are 90 and desperately want to play croquet for nostalgia's sake.

Oct. 2, 2018

I like my lawns. The grass is thick, lush and green. I'll get rid of them when you pry my spay nozzle from my cold, dead hands.

Oct. 2, 2018

Enjoy it. I promise not to do any prying. But there's no reason to include lawns with new construction. They are as obsolete as fax machines, wingtip shoes and MySpace.

Oct. 2, 2018

Grass is obsolete?? I have to admit, I've not heard that one before. Obviously you are not a home owner.

Oct. 2, 2018

No, I'm not. If I were, I'd have the lawn dug up, and replaced with xeriscaping, which can be quite pleasant to the eye. The handwriting is on the wall: Lawns are still preferred by some but they are increasingly losing favor because of wasted water, the need for mowing, air pollution from lawn mowers, and disgusting canine eliminations. Try GROGS: Get Rid Of Grass Soon

Oct. 3, 2018

So let's see. If you're using water for the purpose of growing something, then it is not wasted water. I have no problem mowing the grass, and I turn the clippings into compost. Since I use a battery powered mower, I really don't see an issue of air pollution. And I have no problems with "disgusting canine eliminations". as my dogs are apparently well trained.

Oct. 3, 2018

I'm not talking about what happens at YOUR place. That means nothing, as it's not about you. It's an issue across the COUNTRY. ;-) P.S. Growing vegetables and fruits would not be wasted water; growing lawns IS!

Oct. 3, 2018

Perhaps you would like to share your research, data and sources. The last reports I read, about a year ago, said that only between 14 and 17 percent of home owners surveyed had or were considering getting rid of their lawns and at the same time, 10% of those survey participants had expanded their grassy yards. Not exactly a groundswell. BTW, besides lush lawns at both of my residences, I also have several fruit trees and grow herbs and vegetables. As far as I am concerned, what happens at my place means everything and as said above, if you're using water for the purpose of growing something, then it is not wasted water. You are, of course, entitled to have your own opinion. However, from my point of view, your opinion about anything is of little use to anyone but you.

Oct. 3, 2018

Artificial turf has other issues. It gets very hot so that one can not walk on in without shoes. If you have dual pane windows and if the sun reflects off of them onto the artificial turf it will burn. It needs to be raked and vacuumed to get the small particles out of it. It also has a life span in that, while much improved, requires replacement.

Oct. 3, 2018

I thought this article was going to be about synthetic marijuana.

Oct. 3, 2018

It is. We're all just to stoned to know it.

Oct. 3, 2018

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