Artificial turf is a surface of synthetic fibers made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in arenas for sports that were originally or are normally played on grass. However, it is now being used on residential lawns and commercial applications as well. The main reason is maintenance—artificial turf stands up to heavy use, such as in sports, and requires no irrigation or trimming. Domed, covered, and partially covered stadiums may require artificial turf because of the difficulty of getting grass enough sunlight to stay healthy.
Artificial turf first gained substantial attention in the 1960s, when it was used in the newly constructed Astrodome. The specific product used was developed by Monsanto and called Astroturf; this term since then became a colloquialism for any artificial turf throughout the late 20th century. Astroturf remains a registered trademark, but is no longer owned by Monsanto. The first generation turf systems of the 1960s have been largely replaced by the second generation and third generation turf systems. The technology of synthetic turf has vastly improved since the inception of Astroturf. Modern applications are far superior to initial Astroturf installations. Second generation synthetic turf systems featured sand infills, and third generation systems, which are most widely used today, offer infills that are mixtures of sand and recycled rubber.