Leveling dirt on your baseball field

FAQ - How do I level baseball dirt
after I add several truck loads?
 

 

Are you adding tons of new baseball mix?
Or does your current baseball field have
humps and valleys in the dirt?

 

 

First, have the truck dump the dirt in several 2-4 yard size piles.  

This makes it easier to spread the baseball dirt and do some of the work by hand.

 

Move and spread dirt by hand that goes right next to the grass edge.  Prevent lip build up on your infield and ensure it is level in this area.  Spread it and then use a lawn roller on it to pack it down here. 

 

Spreading all the dirt: option 1 - Use shovels, wheelbarrows, and field rakes to move, spread, and level. 

Hand spreading 27 tons of dirt is a big job.  Too big for me.  You can see from this picture that just spreading some in front of second base is a big job.

 

Spreading all the dirt: option 2 - Use a tractor with a loader to spread the dirt.  A tractor is certainly the fastest way to move the baseball dirt, spread it, and mix it in.  The rear tiller also helps level the dirt mix after you mix it in.

Whether you move and spread by hand or with a tractor, you probably will not yet have a completely firm and flat surface.  This can be accomplished with a series of leveling and dragging devices.  Or with laser leveling.  I'll leave the laser leveling for the moment and talk about what you can do yourself.

 

Leveling the baseball dirt: option 1 - The spike drag.  This is a heavy metal drag.  The spikes are really long bolts sticking out of the metal frame.  These don't bend for nothing. 

The spikes break up the top two to three inches of the dirt mix. You can also flip the spike drag over so the spikes are up and the flat side is down.   Dragging with it like this helps level the dirt.

Drag slow to medium speed.  Not too fast or you actually cause more lumps and bumps.

 

Leveling the baseball dirt: option 2 - the leveling rack.  This is an attachment you can pull behind your tractor or riding mower. 

The device has some spikes in the front to loose up the baseball mix as it passes over it.  Then the device has a wide metal plate that can be raised and lowered to scrape high spots and spread dirt in low spots.  

It comes with a hand control so you can raise and lower the wide metal plate via a hydraulic piston as you pull it.  Nice. 

If the dirt mix is hard, just add some weight such as a couple cinder blocks to get the spikes to loosen it up.

 

Finish with the metal mesh drag to smooth it out. 

 

Firming up the surface:
To firm up the new baseball dirt you need one of two things.  Water or a roller.  Rain is best.  It settles and firms up and any puddles or discoloration as it dries shows you remaining low spots.

1. A steam roller is great for instant firm surface also.  Just roll it twice with a steam roller and you are done.

2. Rain also helps pack the mix and firm it.  You can see from the pictures that the baseball dirt that was moved, spread, and leveled next to the grass edge is colored a rich red after the rain.  Time your work and let the rain help you.

 

Tips and Hints:

Use a tractor with a rear tiller to mix in the new dirt and existing dirt to get it to bond together. Otherwise the new dirt just sits loose on top of the older hard dirt. 

It's also better to have your new dirt slightly moist and your existing field slightly damp when you start this.

The finished job.  Flat.  No lips.  Firm footing.  No bad bounces.  No drainage problems after rain.

finshed job adding and leveling baseball dirt

In this example, the baseball mix was delivered in late November. 
I did the hand spreading near the grass lines in mid December. 
I used the tractor to spread, till, and level the baseball mix in early January.  The final leveling was done in mid January.  Players started using the field in early February. 

You can take your time during the off season in the south.  This entire job could be done in 1-2 days if needed and then immediately play on it.

See the baseball ball field project gallery for more examples.

Example:
adding
30 yards of
baseball dirt to a
high school field.

 

Dumping a 3 yard pile of baseball dirt near first base
Dumping small piles of baseball mix around
the infield
baseball dirt piles around the infield



 

dumping small piles of dirt near the grass edge
Moving smaller piles
of baseball dirt near
the baseline

spreading baseball dirt at the grass edge
Spreading baseball dirt
at the grass edge.

Notice how uneven
it is before adding dirt.|

moving dirt to spread at the grass edge









 


spreading dirt by hand




Spreading dirt by hand, but this is hard work


tractor with front loader and rear tiller
Tractor with front loader
and rear tiller

tractor pulling leveling device





Pulling the leveling rack


leveling rack for a baseball field






Leveling rack

baseball dirt level rack

field after using leveling rack
After tilling and using
the leveling rack

 

spike drag to level baseball dirt
Spike drag to loose and
level baseball dirt

the spike drag in action
Spike drag in action

metal mesh hand drag
Metal mesh hand drag