The unique construction of the modern football stadium makes it a much more difficult task to grow and maintain a pitch of grass than it used to. However, standards for the grass on a football pitch have also got higher and so naturally turf and grass systems have been developed specifically. It is now most common for a grass system to be in place that is both reliable and effective, meeting the high demands of a professional football pitch. These synthetic grass systems protect the reinforced grass, and make maintenance easier, and a tip top conditioned pitch possible.
It is also important that the players are happy with the grass on the pitch, after all – all turf is not created equal. It needs to be something that is good enough for training on as well as playing on, and can withstand both. The pitch is where the players literally perform, and with football having increasingly worldwide high definition TV coverage, it is necessary to look it’s best, always green and maintained.
An example of a Premiership football ground – the football pitch at Villa Park is said to be 98% sand, which is excellent at preventing waterlogging and mud. Because it handles drainage so well, players no longer come off the pitch covered in mud. In this case, artificial grass is set into the sand and the pitch as a whole is able to do it’s job.
In earlier years of football, the grass maintenance systems of football stadiums were nowhere near as sophisticated as they are now. The pitches that do have real grass, use turf that has been specifically designed and grown to have a strong root growth, be hardwearing and be tolerant to wear and tear, recovering easy from severe use. This type of turf is also designed to tolerate both the sun and the shade. Special lighting can create summer days on the pitch, enabling the grass to grow when required.
Stadiums today are well known for hosting other events too, such as pop concerts, which require not only a large amount of footfall, but also tons of articulated lorries driving over the pitch carrying equipment. This became proof of how good the protection systems that modern pitches can have in place can be.