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I previously asked about Planting grass during shmita, and discovered that it is forbidden. But what about astroturf (synthetic grass)? Would there be any problem with installing that during the shmita year?

Some potential problems i can think of:

  • Mar'it ayin -- people might think you planted real grass during shmita.
  • It seems that some digging and watering is necessary before "planting" it, which sounds like it might be a problem.

Do any poskim address this?

  • By now we won't be getting around to planting astroturf before the end of shmita if it is permitted, but it's useful knowledge anyways. And not that my vote on what to do with the garden carries any weight whatsoever. – Scimonster Aug 26 '15 at 17:48
  • Wow! A backyard baseball field in 14 easy back-breaking steps. Who knew? – DanF Aug 26 '15 at 20:53
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Removing weeds with their roots, cutting weeds without removing their roots, removing stones to to prepare the land for planting and plowing are clearly forbidden. So practically it seems impossible to install synthetic grass during shmita on earth.

Putting synthetic grass on say cement or stone doesn't seem to imply any violation of shmita laws (no more than putting a carpet on a deck) but, as you mention in the question, could be an issue of mar'it ayin.

A very good source on the laws of shmita is R Yosef Tzvi Rimon's book. See p. 166 for the sources on forbidden labor.

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