If your attention during the Women’s World Cup was on the pitch rather than the players, you might have noticed that the matches were all played on real grass. That was a hard-won change, made after the US team complained to Fifa that they sustained more injuries on artificial turf. In private gardens, however, the opposite trend is happening: British gardens are being dug up and replaced with plastic grass. But this isn’t the flaky, fading stuff on which oranges were once displayed at the greengrocer. Today’s artificial grass is nearly identical to the real thing. With products named after beautiful places – Lake District, Valencia – modern artificial turf mimics not just the mottled colouring and shape of grass blades, but the warm springiness of earth. Unlike the grass itself, the market is growing. Dozens of specialist firms now market fake grass as a replacement for garden lawns. UK sales surged during last year’s record summer temperatures , according to the industry journal Hortweek , while a report by Up Market Research valued the global market at $2.5bn (£2bn) in 2016 and forecasts a “staggering” rise to $5.8bn by 2023. It blocks access to the soil beneath for […]

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