What is the difference between turf and grass? Specifically the artificial type. And what is the proper word for the artificial type such as the one used on football fields/tennis courts? Are mixes of artificial materials and natural grass/turf materials used on sports fields and courts?

  • I don't believe there (really) is a difference, as far as I'm aware those two terms are interchangeable ie They basically mean the exact same thing & comes down to personal preference (colloquialism) to which term is used... Or have you seen them used to mean different things?
    – Mike Perry
    Commented Oct 26, 2011 at 17:37
  • Just for FYI: In my area, Calif, USA, there are some playing fields with artificial plastic grass teeming with tiny black plastic pellets. I hear youth players and their coaches referring to those fields as "turf" as opposed to grass. Not "artificial turf", just "turf". I thought I was correcting my daughter who just didn't know the correct language, but, turns out she was using the current local vocabulary. So it's confusing. "Turf" means plastic here. The living plant surface is called "grass". Possibly this confusion exists in other locations as well?
    – Lorel C.
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


Perhaps this is a possible definition:

Grass is the plant.

Turf is the area where grass is grown and cut twice a week with a lawn mower. Usually, turf is made from a mix of different types of grass varieties, depending on the use (garden vs. football field). Turf may be seeded directly or pre-cultivated (e.g., rolled turf)

Artificial turf is plastic. You won't mix artificial and naturally grown grass, because it doesn't make sense really. Artificial turf is based on plastic-mats and I think it will not be easy for grass-plants to get through that mat with their roots.

  • Thanks for the answer :) I'm pretty sure that's exactly what it is :)
    – tehwalris
    Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 16:40

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