Birds Would Beg Us to Stop Using Artificial Turf

Posted by Nancy Payne 12/19/2015 0 Comment(s)


Why Would Birds and Garden Worms Beg Us to Stop Installing Artificial Turf?


Imagine...You are living outdoors and all you had to walk on is as hot as the hottest sand in the hot dessert sun.  Or, imagine if the roof of your house was hot like burning coals… so hot that you suffocated inside your house and could not escape.  What if someone set your supermarket on fire and you had no more food?  This is how our birds and garden worms suffer and why they would beg us to stop installing artificial turf.


The main issue is the heat created by artificial turf.  Parents have filed complaints against cities that have installed artificial turf on their playgrounds.  Brigham Young University in Provo Utah found that their coach got blisters on the bottom of his foot - through the tennis shoes – when playing on artificial turf.  Their Safety Office found that when the turf temperature reaches 122º F it takes less than 10 minutes to cause injury to skin!  Clearly, adults and children are complaining about their turf burn injuries.  But who is advocating for the birds and earth worms? Some cities, like Santa Monica are, and so can you.




The colorful birds we all love, and tiny animals that live in the soil like the microbes that feed our plants and worms that feed our birds, cannot survive with the heat created by artificial turf.  Our birds and earth worms do not have thick soled shoes nor air conditioners to protect themselves!


Plants and birds rely on healthy living soil, and soil cannot support life if it is scalding hot.  Once you install artificial turf, you are making the soil extremely hot! Soil that can breathe, get fresh water and nutrients, and keep a reasonable temperature is able to support a large amount of microbial activity.  This microbial activity makes the soil porous and increases its water holding capacity.  It also helps plants digest nutrients, and helps ground worms live healthy lives.  Birds in turn, benefit because they get to eat tasty protein and keep their babies healthy and happy with the protein-rich worms from the healthy soil.


Plants and birds rely on bio-diversity for their food, and bio-diversity cannot exist in a scalding hot garden.  Once you install artificial turf you are creating a heat-island effect. Diversity is what keeps our gardens healthy, and it can only exist if you have normal temperatures.  With normal temperatures you will have more insects and microbes to fight off fungus and diseases, and more native plants and berries for birds to eat. Birds rely on a menu of tasty insects that live on your plants and on your fresh green grass.  Even the carnivorous and cute lady bugs rely on aphids from your garden to survive. None of them can survive if you make their world too hot to live in!


Plants and animals rely on clean water to live.  When you plant artificial turf you are creating excessive runoff, and polluting the water by increasing the amount of zinc, selenium, lead and cadmium leaching into the groundwater from the crumb rubber underlayment.  As a bird lover I am sure you do not want your birds and earth worms drinking toxic water.




I know you are a Nature lover - or you would not have been reading this - and I also know that Nature lovers love their friends, family and pets. Remember how good the cool grass felt on your feet when you were young?  Lets give that gift to all our children - and all of our birds - so that together we can be amazed by the wonders of Nature!


Instead of spending your money on artificial turf, think of the birds, and consider these great options. If you are having problems growing a nice lawn because you have too much shade, there are many native options recommended by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center.  You can also consider a Bee Lawn, and be rewarded with loads of cute tiny flowers .  With these options you will be helping Nature, and with the money you save you can purchase a cool birdhouse.  Enjoy watching your happy birds!


Happy Gardening!




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