AstroTurf was invented in 1965 by employees of Monsanto, patented in 1967, and originally sold under the name "Chemgrass." It was renamed AstroTurf after its first well-publicized use at the Houston Astrodome.

The advantage of AstroTurf over grass turf is mainly that an artificial turf requires minimal maintenance. It is also ideal for indoor stadiums, since it does not require sunlight. However, an AstroTurf surface is much harder than one of natural grass. Players describe the impact as similar to falling on concrete (Vince Lombardi called AstroTurf "fuzzy cement"). Players' cleats can get caught in the turf, which does not give the way grass and dirt does, causing the injury known as "turf toe". Also, in baseball, the ball tends to bounce higher and faster. Because of these considerations, the use of AstroTurf was infamously controversial among baseball fans.

AstroTurf is being replaced in many stadiums with newer types of artificial turf—two common brands of this new generation being FieldTurf and Sport Grass. These materials have properties much closer to natural grass turf. AstroTurf's version of this new artificial grass was called AstroPlay, but in 2004, Southwest Recreational Industries, who held the rights to making AstroTurf, went out of business after filing for bankruptcy. It is now sold by AstroTurf, LLC.

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