Wednesday, April 13, 2022

SearchResearch Challenge (4/13/22): Why water the astroturf?

 I couldn't believe my eyes!  

As a native Californian, I'm sensitive to water use and I'm drawn to extravagant displays of water.  Waterfalls attract me, rivers and even creeks capture my attention. (And you know I love the sea.)  

So as you might expect, seeing large fountains of water being sprayed onto an athletic field in midday caused me to watch in admiration as these powerful jets rocketed vast quantities of water onto the field. 

But wait a second... That turf is remarkably green, smooth, and oh-so-perfect.  

Naturally, curiosity made me wonder about the reality of the grassy field.  As I was walking across campus, I had a few extra minutes, so I took a detour and wandered down to the field to see what was going on.  Much to my surprise, I found that it's an artificial field!  Can that be real? Are they really putting a LOT of water onto fake grass?  It didn't add up.  

The question here is obvious... Why water the astroturf?  

A big part of my curiosity engine is to keep asking about what it is I'm seeing. Does what I'm seeing make sense?  Why is the land like that?  Why are people standing in that line?  What's going on with the plants / animals / fish / water... 

As it turned out, a groundskeeper was monitoring the sprinklers, so I was able to walk over and chat with him for a few moments and ask him the question.  His answer surprised me--and perhaps it will surprise you as well.  

As a Californian, I'm still stunned that this university in North Carolina would put so much water onto a surface without any plants, but NC doesn't exist in a state of drought.  In fact, the day before this photo was taken, it was raining very, very hard--one of those hard, tropical rains--which only made the field watering seem weirder.  

This week's Challenge: 

1. Why do they water the artificial grass before (and sometimes during) a game?  

2. In what other sports do they water the field before (and sometimes during) a game?  Why do they water those fields?  

As usual, I'm curious in what you learn in your search... but I'm VERY interested in how you found the answer.  What was your SearchResearch process?  

But most of all... why on earth would you water artificial grass?

Search on!  


  1. Very interesting, as always, Dr. Russell. Maybe it's hybrid grass? Once I read artificial grass was watered to keep looking good but that was made occasionally. I think this could be hybrid and that is why they water so often.

    In soccer, specially in Europe, they water the fields before the game and at least sometimes in the middle to make the ball go faster.

    1. UEFA regulations and pitch. FC Barcelona watering pioneer. Also mentions grass height and how new hybrid pitches work.

    2. With [when to water artificial grass]

      Why Do They Spray Water On Artificial Turf With Sprinklers?

      Answer: To keep it cool. And to clean. Also, al a slightly wetter surface can reduce injuries and increase lifespan of the turf.

      Reading answers on Quora, mentions that also turf is watered to reduce injuries and increase velocity in hockey.

    3. With [riego campo fútbol La Liga]


      El césped de La Liga, las mismas normas para todos.

      With [watering Premier League]

      Why Do Football Stadiums Use Sprinkler Systems?

      With [watering grass nfl 2021] before I tried without 2021 and found the second link.

      NFL stadiums by grass type

      Injuries became the catalyst for engineering highly advanced artificial surfaces, like FieldTurf.

      From 2015:Do you know which NFL Stadium in California uses Recycled Water?

    4. Out of topic. However, I think Dr. Russell and maybe others will find it interesting

      Name of the 34 people who lived in Puebla ok n the year 1532

  2. Chapel Hill?
    "Outdoor watering was permitted in Chapel Hill until Thursday night, when the Orange Water and Sewer Authority adopted more restrictive conservation measures. It was not clear whether UNC-CH would be able to water the field hockey turf for a home game Saturday. OWASA, which reports 180 days left in its supply at current use rates, provides special exemptions for safety reasons."
    there seems to be water restrictions there too - length of time you observed?
    FIH on insta
    from Australia… water as a lubricant - lists of pro & cons
    Karen Shelton
    KSS, 900-seat stadium - it was the Carolina blue seats…& the logo
    other views from when Iowa came to Chapel Hill
    not sure this is an NCAA sport yet?
    more water… the "student athletes" would love it, but the travel is brutal…

  3. checking the experts:
    sport specific
    low to no water to cool
    it's complicated… even graduations are regulated…
    guidelines pdf

  4. fwiw, the pitch nearby is used for lacrosse too… Div.II

  5. linguistically similar to Tar-heelian?
    Thermian race
    fwiw, turf hygiene
    turf SERP

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Remmij. Very interesting the sugar cane pitches. Searched for that and found from 2021 this:

      Best Hockey turf yet

      The linky to, and so it goes, it is also very interesting.

      With beach handball female uniform there were also protests. And now, rules changed.

      Handball Federation Ends Bikini Bottom Requirement for Women

      And related to your link, this:

  7. don't know if water was applied before this, but it was starting to rain, can see the water come off the net at the end, 7:11ish.
    at the stadium - who is Erin Matson? the Michael Jordan of the sport for UNC-CH…