Analyze Your Baseball Dirt Mix

Analyze Your Baseball Dirt Mix
 
Create a safe, high performance infield. Give your athletes the opportunity to perform at their highest levels.
Reduce bad hops and compaction.
 

 

What you're going to do

Analyze the dirt mix. Determine the sand, silt, and clay composition of your infield.


Why you do this

Analyzing your dirt composition lets you know what your dirt problem is and what you need to do to go about fixing it.

How you do this
  1. Take 3 or 4 small soil samples from your dirt mix around the infield Put the samples in a glass jar filling it a little over half full of the dirt.

  2. The add water so it is a couple inches above the dirt.

  3. Shake the jar to mix the dirt and water. Let it stand for a few hours.

  4. The material settles out like this: sand on the bottom, silt (topsoil) in the middle, and clay at the top. If your mix has crushed brick or decomposed granite, this will settle at the bottom with the sand.
Tips & Hints
  1. Try for a mix that is something like this: 30% clay, 45% silt, and 25% sand. The jar analysis lets you know what you should add if you intend to add more dirt to your field. Almost every field I've tested needs more clay.

  2. Don't try to be too fine with this test. Some fields have such a uniform composition that the result looks like it is just one kind of dirt. It might be. If that is the case then you need to walk the dirt areas or look at them after a game. You'll be able to tell if the dirt area is too soft or too hard. Players will also tell you how the field dirt plays for the.

  3. You can also analyze your field by asking the players some questions or your own observation:
  • Is the field dirt area firm enough or do you slip in it?
  • Are the bounces about right or do they seem to die or bounce too high?
  • Are there some 'bad bounce' areas that need attention?
  • Is there a lip at the infield grass line that causes trouble when fielding grounders?
Mistakes to avoid

Skipping this step and just ordering another truck load of crushed brick is a bad idea. You might just be making an existing problem worse.

 
poor footing in nothing
but crushed brick



About the right mixture
of clay, soil, and sand

 


no bad hops here!







crushed red brick
baseball dirt alone
is not good for footing

too much sand
for good footing

Too much decomposed
granite - common in
park & rec fields

almost nothing but
clay - common on
softball fields
     
     
Go to "correcting your baseball dirt mix after you analyze dirt"
     

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