Baseball Dirt and raising the level 2 inches

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Baseball Dirt - Raising The Level 2 Inches, Adding Field Conditioner, and Other Questions

field with good baseball dirt

Dave in Livingston writes:

I found out that the people who were trying to take care of the fields here were adding conditioner to the infields each year but they never took care of it. Never watered or did anything to groom the fields. Never added baseball dirt.

It's nothing but concrete or dust after I groom now. Anyway after all these years of them grooming and never watering the infields are now 2 inches lower than they are suppose to be. This year things are gonna change. I want to get the fields up to the right height again and then im gonna have a groomer class one Saturday for the people who will groom when I'm not here.

My questions are:

I know I need a certain percent of sand/clay/silt for good baseball dirt mix, not just 2 inches of conditioner right? This year we are gonna try diamond pro out. Before it gets here im planning on doing a quick soil test to see how bad the fields really are so I can try and add what I can to get the right height before I add the conditioner. I know your site explains how to mix in the conditioner to get the best of it and I'm gonna follow it. Is there a certain type of clay/silt and sand I need to be getting or is there somewhere I can order it mixed already?

What would you think be my best bet? 1/4 of diamond pro over the clay/sand/silt baseball dirt is all I need right? I shouldn't need 2 inches of diamond pro I wouldn't think. I just wanna make sure I get the job right.

If you hear of any classes I can take or seminars I can attend to better my knowledge and won't cost an arm and a leg. If you have any web site you recommend getting any material or products from I need some help there too.

- - - - - - - - - - -

David,
I really love your passion for what you are doing.

Maybe the best way to think about the situation is to consider what you want at the end of all the improvements:

For example,

The infield skin should be at least 4 inches of a good baseball dirt mix. Ideally it comes premixed and is a combination of sand, clay, and silt. The percentages can vary because as you point out it's the watering that really makes the difference. Sand could vary from 70% to 50%. Clay could vary from 20% to 40%. Silt from 20 - 30. The variances are OK. Don't get too caught up in it. Just don't add nothing but sand or nothing but crushed brick or nothing but conditioner.

If I were you I would add 10-15 yards of baseball dirt to a little league field to raise it up 2 inches. Then use a tractor with rear tiller to till in the top 4 inches so it is a consistent mix. Level and roll it to firm it up. Add a conditioner such as Diamond Pro to the top fourth inch and scarify it in with a nail drag. You definitely don't want to add nothing but 2 inches of conditioner. That would be way expensive and not the best way to use it.

Protect your investment and the safety of the players. Do this with some training and education for those who take care of the fields and with access to the right equipment needed. I like the idea of some field maintenance clinics to help people do it right. Otherwise, best intentions aside, some people actually make it worse and don't realize it.

I'm like you. I like to work outside. I did a stint as a project manager in the corporate world. It helped me better plan and organize field projects. But I like the outdoors. And I too have the added motivation of my own children playing on some of the fields I still take care of today. Nothing like that kind of motivation.

As far as ongoing training, I admit sometimes this is OJT. Or learn as an apprentice to a seasoned pro. Your challenge is learning a bit on your own. My suggestion is continue on courageously and don't hold back asking for what it takes to do a good job. You are a hero. Soon everyone else there will realize it too. And this is baseball dirt and grass. Even if you make a mistake, you can usually recover from it within a couple weeks.

Good sources for products and chemicals would be local landscape suppliers. I use Horizon near me. Check their website a www.horizononline.com. See the kind of stuff they have. I go there just to get it cheaper in bulk - 50 pound bags of seed, fertilizer, etc.

Another good source of info and education, not just for baseball dirt, for all around ball park care is the sports turf management association at www.stma.org.

Yours for better play more often,

J. Reiner

Jim Reiner
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
The Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide

 

Jim Reiner Jim Reiner was a groundskeeper with the Texas Rangers AAA team and has been involved with baseball his entire adult life.  He devotes his efforts to training coaches, players, and parents of all levels of youth baseball and softball to use their existing field and turn it into a safe, high performance field. Jim's website has been online since 2006 helping hundreds of thousands from little league to pro baseball improve their ball fields. 
 

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