Purdue Turf Professor

Purdue turf professor weighs differences between natural and synthetic turf

As a debate arises in the NFL and other professional sports over the benefits of choosing natural or synthetic turf for athletic fields, Cale Bigelow, professor of horticulture and landscape architecture in Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, suggests that both turf types have positives and negatives to consider.

Bigelow, who specializes in turfgrass science and management, explained that injury rates for athletes depend on multiple factors, making it difficult to position one turf type as better than the other.

“What we know about natural grass fields is that they’re really good and actually preferred by a lot of athletes, but they are also limited by how much they can grow and recover,” Bigelow said. “But what I can also tell you is a frozen natural grass field is not as safe for athletes as a nonfrozen synthetic field.”

For more on this topic, see this news report from WISH TV Indianapolis.