BALLFIELD DIRT ANALYSIS: Getting a better dirt mix!
BUILDING A BASEBALL FIELD: Cost estimate?
SOURCE FOR DIRT MIX: How do I find a local supplier?
IN THIS ISSUE:
best way to drag a baseball field... what is it?
to level your field? Here are five ways to fix it.
Setting up renovation and maintenance budget and calendar
How to start early season fertilizing
On Improving My Ball Field Dirt Mix
at Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico where it rains alot. The
softball field dirt mix looks like it is 60 percent sand and 20
percent clay, 20 percent silt. What can I do to firm it
up? What are the plus and minus with this? Thanks.
Softball fields generally are best if the infield dirt mix is
hard and level. Harder than a baseball hardball field. That way
you get true bounces and firm footing as a softball fielder.
The mix you
describe would appear to be a bit loose. However, there are pros
and cons to this.
of the dirt mix the real issue is the moisture
management. At the MLB level there are fields that vary
from 20 percent clay to 60 percent clay. Depends on climate -
tropics to tundra - and whether it is outdoor or enclosed. Proper
moisture management can give these all the same playing feel.
Moisture management means keeping the dirt mix moist and firm,
but not dry or muddy.
You have a
lot of rain. This is similar to fields along the coast of Oregon
and northern CA. These are usually higher in sand so the water
If you need
the drainage then you need the high amount of sand.
about dirt mix:
mix is easier to quickly level with a mesh drag.
Harder surface needs more dragging with a nail drag to do the
leaves heal marks, causes fielders to slip, and balls to die and
not bounce as much as you think it should.
Harder surfaces, if too hard, are rough on players sliding and
bounces can go higher than expected. That's why hard clay surfaces
are nail dragged to groom the surface.
If you are
new to working with this field, try regular dragging or raking
if you can to see if it makes for a good playing surface. If it
does not, then either roll it occaisionally with a steam roller
if you have one or a water filled lawn roller. That helps pack
it down for you.
if it looks like you need to add firmness to the playing mix,
then add in more clay/silt to the top inches. Mix with a tiller
you have one. Then water and firm with a roller. This process
takes more work and is a good solution if the other suggestions
above aren't getting you the playing surface you want.
my thoughts. Hope this helps.
Any more questions, let me know.
thank you for serving in our armed forces.
It is most appreciated by my family and friends here!
Building a Baseball Field
I need a
baseball field quotation, to build one any cost estimate. We own
a piece of land and we are going to construct a baseball facility,
turf in the infield, grass in the outfield, 2 dugouts, 1 backstop
and lights. Of course fenced. Thank you for the help. Chairon in
Check this link on my website.
Look at number 2. Open the pdf for a grant application.
Page 11-14 will
give you an overview of what it takes to build a field and sigificantly
upgrade an existing one. Lighting not included. Best rough guess
on lighting is it costs about $200,000.
The major obstacle
for most people is not only the money, but also getting your Florida
neighbors nearby to OK lighting at night.
Let me know
if you have any other questions.
Need a Local Source for Good Baseball Mix
am in the process of repairing a field that has been neglected for
about three years. I need a source that supplies a brick clay mix
. Thanks. Brent, San
1. A good source
for baseball mix across the USA would be to start with www.beamclay.com.
They provide baseball mix, clay, sand, etc. to many major and minor
league fields across the US.
2. Other sources
you might have locally:
major or minor league teams: find out where they get their mix
3. Rock yards
and trucking companies: these usually have access to baseball dirt
since they supply this to high schools and little leagues in your
4. Local park
and rec departments – find out where they get their infield
mix – however, realize they usually go for cheap decomposed
granite stuff that you definitely don’t want on your field
5. Any local
high school that has a decent baseball program – again find
out where they get their mix for their baseball field.
You will have
to let your fingers to the walking a little bit via phone calls
to get these leads and find out what they have.
Best Way to Drag Your Infield is Spiral Dragging
tell us that the best to vary the way we drag and include spiral
dragging. What do you mean by spiral dragging??
Dennis, New York
Maybe the best
way to explain this is to compare what is usually done.
drag the infield skin back and forth going from the first base foul
line past second base to the third base foul line and then turn
around and head back to the first base side. This back and forth
dragging tends to create high spots at the foul lines and low spots
at second and short stop. And if the drag is always removed at the
same spot, behind third base for example, you get a high spot there
What I call
spiral dragging greatly reduces the likelihood of high spots or
low spots. However, this is best done by pulling a metal mesh drag
behind a small tractor or riding mower. What I described above can
be done by hand pulling the drag back and forth.
dragging means dragging in circles, but let the circles slowly move
across the field from one foul line to another. Sort of
like the old spirograph art set I had as a kid. Start on one side
and move across as you make overlapping circles. This is great for
leveling out the field. It takes a little more time though than
the back and forth dragging.
You could probably
do the quick back and forth dragging most of the time, but then
do the spiral dragging once a week to really get it leveled back
try not to let the drag go over the grass edges. This prevents lip
Ways To Level Your Lumpy, Bumpy Baseball Field
(Reprint from 2009:
this is one of the most popular questions we get)
We have an existing field that needs to have holes filled and general
leveling. If we till or seed or add dirt, how long would it be before
we could play on it? (similar question submitted by dozens of people).
All, here are 5 ways to fix problems like this that have worked
1. Big holes or ruts in the outfield: fill them
in with reclaimed sand and cover with topsoil. I get tons of free
reclaimed sand from a local cement plant. They wash out the cement
trucks when they come back and 'reclaim' the small sand and aggregate.
This stuff is not fine sand. It has some very small pebbles. They
give it away. But, this is perfect for filling in big areas in the
outfield or the warning track.
2. Uneven infield turf: best thing to do is several
of topdressing. Depending on your size of your baseball field
- little league or high school size you have more work. I put out
five tons of top soil / compost on a high school infield and dragged
it with a metal mesh drag to level it out. (Mowed it short first.)
I did this in April and again in August. It is perfectly smooth
3. Infield turf with major ruts and undulations:
on a senior little league baseball field I spread out 10 tons of
top soil / compost and dragged it level. This field had big problems
so I went with lots of dirt. I do not recommend doing that much
at once unless you have a major, major problem to fix. Now the nice
thing about this is that you can water it in and play on it in a
day. I did this in October.
4. Infield skin (dirt) not level: One of the easiest
ways to fix this is to add about 3-5 tons on a little league baseball
field or 10-20 tons on a high school baseball field and spread,
till with a tractor and rear tiller, then level with a box or leveler
device, and drag. Water it in to help settle it. Drag or rake to
fine tune the surface. Done. I just did this with 25 tons on a high
5. Major infield turf problems: scrape with a tractor and
smooth bucket and start over. This is a lot of work. You need to
put down a good topsoil and level it. Sod takes 3-4 weeks to grow
in before you can use it. Seed takes 6-8 weeks to grow in enough
for competitive play. I
did this kind of field renovation for a baseball field at a park
and rec department. It was so bad, there was no other real way
to fix it.
Bonus: Based on what you tell me and the many baseball
field problems I've seen, there is one more thing you could do.
It works best after it has rained a couple days, but then you have
a day or two of sun. Use
a 3-5 ton steam roller on the infield turf and the outfield turf.
Mark your sprinklers first so you do not hit them. Roll the turf.
It will be very flat. You should also mow first. And it would be
a good idea to aerate after you roll it. Rolling the turf is often
done on multiuse fields where football or soccer tears up the out
field and puts in lots of ruts when playing on the wet ground. I
have done this on several fields. Works great. Alternative is to
use the water filled lawn roller, but this is slower and harder
to do. Put those football players to work pushing it around.
P.S. in general I find it easier and better to
work with what you have - add top dressing and level it - versus
doing major tilling and new seed. But it just depends how bad it
is and how much time you can afford to not be using the field.
donor willing to fund renovation and maintenance: Need ballpark
would be interested to learn what it would cost [materials &
labor] to rejuvenate three fields (80' Pony league, 50' Teeny league,
60' Softball; no sprinkler systems) for use by March 2010, utilizing
your turf and dirt maintenance plans and what the approximate cost
to mow 2x weekly for the infield/outfield grass (warm season) would
be February to October.
A private donor wants to sponsor the rejuvenation and maintenance
costs for this year and I would like to give him some "ball-park"
figures. Thank you in advance for your consideration. Raymond.
I can give you some 'ball-park' ideas and costs.
have some more questions. Don't hesitate to ask.
So, here goes.
I'm assuming you'll be following the turf checklist here:
You should be
able to do all three fields either on the same day or over a weekend.
This also assumes some prior planning and marking for equipment
Rent a sod cutter
for a day - $78. Use it to make the cut outs to spec and remove
any lip build up.
Rent a lawn
aerator for a day - $89. Use it to aerate the infields. Each will
take about 30 minutes. Outfields take longer. As much as 3 hours
for a full size field.
Buy a 50 pound
bag of grass seed for the two grass infields - $80.
Buy a 50 pound
bag of starter fertilizer (6-20-20) for the infields - $25.
If you overseed
and fertilize the outfield turf, then you'll need quite a few more
bags of each. For a full size outfield, plan to use at least 4 of
You say you
have no sprinklers. So you need to time this work between rains
or just before a series of rains to get the seed to germinate and
grow. You'll need day temperatures to exceed 50 degrees F for it
Are your fields
relatively smooth or do you have lumps, bumps, holes, etc.? If so
then you should get 3-5 yards of topdressing for spread on each
and level it out. Topdressing should be a combination of topsoil,
sand, and a bit of compost. This costs about $25 per yard where
Same for the
outfield. If you have holes, fill them in. Get as much as you need
to spread and level it.
I can tell you
that outfields usually don't get quite the pampering as the infields.
But it is always good to at least aerate, seed, and fertilize them.
Mounds and batter
boxes: Rebuild to spec as needed. Get some unfired clay bricks or
some mound clay. Bricks are 50 cents each. You'll need about 40
to reinforce the holes players make.
areas: Most fields always need and benefit from additional dirt.
If it has been a while since this has beend one, I'd go for 10 yards
on the smaller field and between 20 and 30 on the larger one.
can go for about $30 a yard.
to spread and level this. Best if you can use a tractor with a smooth
bucket in the front and a rear tiller to spread and mix it in. Then
you need a leveling spike drag or a heavy metal framed leveling
rack to get it as close to level as possible.
Renting a tractor
tiller - $300 a day.
to leveling it like I suggested above is to use a laser guided system.
This is usually done by a pro and can cost $8 per square foot. It
can get expensive.
field: Depending on its condition, you may need to add dirt, run
over it with a spike drag to level and get rid of weeds, or make
sure your pitcher plate, home plate, and batter boxes are to spec.
You really just want to make sure the surface is level and firm.
Check the outfield
grass edge to see if there is a lip buildup there. If so, run the
sod cutter along to remove it.
Line for initial renovation:
You can do all this on the same day or a weekend. It helps greatly
if you have the seed and fertilizer on hand before as well as a
cyclone spreader. Arrange the dirt deliveries for either early the
morning you start work or the day before. Get the equipment as soon
as the rental outfits open up.
This could be
done by a team of 3 people. A few more helps. Too many more and
it gets complicated or messy.
on going maintenance.
You should budget
about $800 for the year to cover the following:
- overseed and fertilize every 6-8 weeks
- use a sod cutter or an edger a couple times a year to keep the
cutouts to spec
- gas to run your equipment
- hopefully you have a riding mower or a small ATV you can use to
drag and mow
- consider a self-propelled walk behind mower for the infields
- assorted tools - rakes, shovels, wheelbarrow, drags, etc.
- tarps for mounds and homeplate as needed to minimize rainouts
I didn't cover
at all the condition of your basepegs, bases, backstops, fencing,
etc. If you have any problem areas here, then add that on to the
list of items to fix. This checklist here is helpful to get the
big picture idea of what to look for: http://tinyurl.com/nv6sgl
Lastly I suppose
you may have seen these, but these project case studies give you
a pretty good idea what to do and how to do it:
Hope that is
Again, if you have any questions, let me know.
- How to start early season fertilizing
should I put down some more fertilizer? We start playing the
first week of Feburary so I'm hoping to keep it as green and
ready as possible. MIchael, Arkansas
When it comes to
getting ready for early season play I recommend putting out
fertilizer 3 weeks ahead of playing time. But since it is cold,
I also recommend going slow with it. I'd use a cool season fertilizer
(half slow release and half quick release nitrogen) and put
it out at about half the usual rate. Then put the rest out a
week before play.
This approach takes
a little more of your time, but helps get the turf going slow,
but stay healthy. If it grows too fast when it is cold, it can
come down with many turf problems.
And if your ground
is not too wet and mushy you could also core aerate and overseed
a bit three weeks before play. This also helps strengthen your
believe the season starts in less than 6 weeks. Wow!
Wish you and your team the best!
Yours for better play more often,
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide
- - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
We have the handbook "How to Transform Your Baseball
Field into a Winning Field" and
an eight week money back no hassle guarantee.
Be a hero. Knowledge is power. Use your power to make
Just click on the link below. (Email me if you have a question)
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Make your sports field do the talking,
Copyright, 2009, The Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide.
All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any portion of this email is strictly prohibited
without the express written consent of Jim Reiner or The Ultimate
Baseball Field Renovation Guide.