BASEBALL FIELD DRAINAGE PROBLEMS: 2 Solutions
BASEBALL FIELD SOD: How long until I can aerate it?
RIDING MOWER DIED: What kind of replacement?
IN THIS ISSUE:
eliminating the infield grass. Good or bad idea?
a week, low maintenance on a baseball field. How?
Renovating softball fields, baseball fields, and more...
Drainage Problems - 2 Solutions
is really bad about holding water and we feel that the ground
is real compact. We don't think we have holes that are holding
the water. What are a few things that you recommend to try to
get the outfield to drain better? Kegan.
You need two things for good drainage on a baseball field:
surface drainage and subsurface drainage.
Surface drainage is about the slope or lack there of. Giant low
spots will not allow water to drain off. The best and only way
to correct this is to add cubic yards of topsoil to the low spots
and level it out. Over time this will allow the water to run off.
Subsurface drainage is about what happens to water that stands.
Does it soak in or not. Core aerating helps tremendously to get
water to soak in and down. Along with core aerating you could
also top dress with sand. Spread the sand into the holes. Even
after the turf grows back thick you will have these holes with
sand that will help water drain down and out.
If you have a large budget (but most don't) you could also put
in sand channels. These are slices into the turf about 6-8 inches
deep that are back filled with sand. These channels would criss
cross the field about every two feet. That's a lot of slices.
Golf courses do this too. If you do this you can play within an
hour after a whole day of rain. Many colleges in the SF bay area
do this because they get 30+ inches of rain in the spring.
Hope this helps. Have a great spring!
Long Till I Can Aerate New Sod On My Baseball Field?
sod on our LL field in November. I was wondering if we should aerate
in the spring or allow it to root until the fall? Todd.
You should be able to aerate in the spring.
New sod takes 3-6 weeks to fully root.
Here's how to tell if it is ready to aerate or play on it:
Open both hands, reach down and grab a handful of grass. If you
try to pull up and it is solid, then you can aerate. If it feels
like some of the sod is coming up, then you need wait another week
and do this test again.
This 'grab' test is the easiest way to tell if sod has fully
Riding Mower Died. Suggestions For Replacement?
dragging our infield with a garden tractor (John Deere) but it
has died. What type of machine would you recommend that we replace
it with; we have had suggestions that a utility vehicle or a zero
turn would serve us better and now we aren't sure which way to
go. Thanks. Phil
If you don't need the multi-funcion of a riding mower, then something
like an ATV - all terrain vehicle - is a good choice. It has the
power to pull a drag or an aerator attachment and has a very tight
Other options if you want to be able to haul the drag or other
items would be something like the John Deere Gator. It is a little
flat bed vehicle.
Last factor might be what you have for storing the vehicle. Make
sure you have a place to store and secure whatever you select.
Eliminating The Baseball Field Infield Grass - Thoughts?
One thing we are considering is eliminating the infield grass. Several
of the "for profit" field complexes around us have done
that and they claim it is easier to maintain. Thoughts?
No matter what we do with the infield a Nail Drag would be very
useful. I have cheap high school labor so I wonder if the X shaped
drag will work. Or we would obviously need to use our mower to pull
one of the larger ones with weights. Your advice has been a HUGE
blessing for me. Doug.
Re: eliminating the infield grass... it may save some money, but
my experience here is that players prefer a grass infield over an
all dirt infield.
I guess you need to balance money saved, decreased maintenance
needs, and player needs/desires. I do know that at the
higher levels - such as high school play - an all dirt infield results
in infielders trying to dodge grounders vs. fielding them. Baseball
field grass slows down the batted ball by about 50%. An all dirt
infield does not slow it down much at the higher level of play.
That results in blistering speeds on grounders.
Re: the nail drags... the one that you can put weights on will help
keep weeds under control better than the manual one since it can
dig in deeper. However, if you can get players to pull the X drag
around regularly, it would probably work. On the other hand if you
convert to an all dirt high school infield that is a lot of dirt
to drag by hand. Tractor driven would be the way to go regardless
of which drag you use.
Some other thoughts...
When possible I go with player preference/needs.
But I also understand balancing with maintenance time and cost needs.
Perhaps getting players involved as much as possible is a way to
take care of this at least during the school year.
A Week, Low Maintenance On A Baseball Field. How?
have a baseball field and use it for recreational play for church
groups and rent it out during the baseball season. I am struggling
to know what to do with a VERY limited budget and certainly
can only devote a bit of time ONCE a week - not daily. What
would you suggest for a LOW maintenance but still looks nice
infield. That is our biggest area of struggle. Weeds are our
biggest issue right now. Doug
If I were in your situation and could only work on my
ball field one day a
week for maybe two hours at a shot, this is what I would do
in this order:
1. I would mow it short. I would mow the grass in a circle starting
middle around the mound and just do a gradually larger circle
till it is
mowed. This is the fastest way to mow - not stopping changing
2. I would push dirt back into the holes and depressions at
the batter box,
catcher box, the pitcher mound, and at the bases where players
lead off. This is the first step to leveling it back out after
a week of
3. Next I would drag the infield dirt. I would use a spike drag
drag to really chew it up, get rid of weeds, and level it out
after a week
of play. Then I would follow this by dragging with a metal mesh
finish it off and level it out. Dragging after mowing also gets
rid of any cut grass that shot out onto the dirt area.
4. If possible I would soak the dirt with water to help firm
it up. Done.
Now this is assuming you have irrigation that waters the grass
week. And I am assuming you have a quick coupler for a hose
either behind the mound or near the sidelines to water your
Once every two months put out some fertilizer on ball field
Once a month run a hula hoe or lawn edger along the grass line
That's a simple shot at once a week, low maintenance. Depending
often your field is used for practice or games, you may have
to increase to
2X a week.
And you need a couple tools to do this. A field rake. A hose.
A drag. An ATV
or riding mower to pull the drag. Or you pull it yourself. Hard
Here is info about the drags I mentioned above:
And here is general info about maintaining the infield dirt:
Hope this helps.
Let me know how this works for you.
p.s. I know this suggestion works. I do this for a complex of
4 baseball fields
for a little league near me. On Friday afternoons I use a riding
mow them all and then I pull a heavy duty spike drag with a
leveler on all
the infields. It takes anywhere from 2-3 hours depending on
these were in. They all are played on every day.
Rid of Lumps in the Turf of the Baseball Field
I have worked pretty hard on my baseball field, and I still
can't get it flat... Aeration, top-dressing, overseeding...I've
done all of these, but I still have lumps and valleys in my infield
grass - (the grass looks spectacular, but still lumpy) Should
I cut the high spots with a sod cutter- level and re-lay the sod?
How soon until I can get back on the field?
And I recently purchased a full field tarp. Will leaving it on
for a short period of time give a little "greenhouse"
effect on my grass- or should I get it off as soon as I can? John
Smaller lumps and bumps can also be flattened out by using a 1-3
ton roller on the infield turf. This may be what you need to do
if the topdressing did not level it out for you.
Check here for lots more info on using a roller:
Now if the infield is much more than just small lumps and bumps
and it is more like large speed bumps and dips, then perhaps you
do need to scrape it, level it, and lay sod or reseed. This is
a big job, but with some help and planning you can be playing
again within 3 weeks.
Here's project info on doing something like this:
and here's some more about using sand for leveling infield turf:
Re: use of the tarp - the best practice is to take off the tarp
when the sun is out. I suppose leaving it on for a bit might be
OK, but in general turf likes the direct sun vs. just getting
warmer. It's sort of like using black plastic on the garden raised
beds. The plastic warms the dirt while waiting for seed to germinate,
but once they sprout you remove the plastic so the sprouts get
direct sunlight for best growth.
I am concerned about what you describe with the lumpy field and
I know you get lots of rain too. That makes it a bit harder to
do field work and play.
I was thinking about work I did on a high school baseball field
a few years back and we had to do the aerate/heavy topdress/drag/roll
process three times over a year to get it really nice and level.
Now it is super. But we had to repeat the process.
Turns out the baseball infield was built over the dumping area
at the school and there was lots of metal, concrete, and rocks
just 4-5 inches below and it was just always causing problems.
I think this process not only leveled it but finally got the stuff
below to stabilize.
Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions after skimming
the links above.
Dimensions Of Cut Out Areas
you tell me the dimensions of the cut-out area around the bases
on an artificial turf baseball field? Thank you. Steve.
The dimensions of the cut-out area:
On the 60 foot little league fields the arc is 9 feet from the
base back towards the turf.
On a 90 foot high school to MLB size field the arc is 13 foot
from the base back to the turf.
At this link you can find these and all the dimensions you need
for various size fields.
In Bare Spots On The Infield Turf
weather lately is now getting into low 30 and high 20s. I planted
rye in late October after aerating. I fetilized and watered for
two weeks. Now I have some large bare spots in the baseball infield.
Probably too late to spread rye for the third time, but what about
fertilizing again? Thanks, John.
Both fertilizer and seed work best when the temperature hits at
least 50 degrees.
Lower than that and the turf roots have a hard time doing anything
with the fertilizer. And the seed will take a loooong time
I would recommend waiting till the high temperature for the day
gets more like mid-high 40s or low 50s to spread seed and fertilizer.
Also, if you use fast acting nitrogen when it is still cold it will
push the turf too much and stress it.
I'm anxious to get going too, but I've learned if you wait a bit
more, it will turn out better.
H.S. Softball Field - Best Mix?
I am going
to be doing a complete refurbishing to our high school softball
field. You say Turface is the best product, but which one. The field
has not had any extensive additions in years, and it is about 80%
sand & silt and about 20% clay if that. Would it be best to
just nail drag it in or to till it in? How much should a guy add?
I would first till the softball field to a depth of 4 inches followed
by nail dragging and leveling. Then soak it to firm it up.
See if this improves play. If not, I would add a higher clay content
for a softball field. I would hesitate on the Turface. That is a
soil conditioner more for baseball infields.
High school softball usually wants a field that is hard and fast.
If you do add the Turface type product, start with 2 tons and nail
drag into the top 2 inches. Perhaps you get lots of rain that Turface
may help with. Yes? Otherwise if drainage is the issue, you might
also want to crown the field or slightly tilt it so water runs off
Anyway, here's a link about a project to improve a softball field.
It might help with some more ideas:
Dirt Hurts To Slide On. How Do I Fix This?
I have been working on a baseball field for my youth baseball organization
for 4 years now. Every year we purchase over $1,000 of #6 screen
clay infield mix. For the first two weeks the field is great but
after that it is like playing on asphalt and the kids are afraid
to even slide. What can I so to fix this. We have budgeted $1,500
this year to correct the field. Dave.
Based on what you tell me I would suggest that you get a mix this
year that has a higher percentage of sand in it. Till it 4 inches
into the existing field. Then level and water it down to firm it
Re: field getting rock hard after a couple weeks... one thing I
do monthly on my infields is use a spike drag or bolt drag to really
chew it up.
Then I run the nail drag and metal mesh drag over it to level it
back out. This is followed by watering it down. The improvement
is immediate. Players really like it.
Here's a link about various spike or bolt drags:
Crushed Rock On Sports Fields. A Good or Bad Idea?
I would like to know if you have ever used crushed cinder cone rock
for sports fields? I was approached this morning by one of our coaches
who would like to try it on our softball field. If so is there a
draw back to using? Would it be too slick and cause injuries? Is
it hazardous? J Daly.
Hi J Daly,
Collegiate play is fast and aggressive. You need a field that is
safe and playable. Softball usually wants a hard and fast field.
Before using crushed rock on a softball field, I suggest you think
carefully about this. There are tradeoffs.
Here's a link with info about dirt mixes for sports fields:
And here's a link about a project to upgrade a softball field:
What you do with your sports field should be based on what problem
you are trying to solve or what level of play you need.
That this is the core issue in the info at these links. I personally
avoid crushed rock on all fields and only use crushed lava rock
on a baseball field if it is one-eighth or smaller and it is mixed
with at least 50% top soil. You still get the red color, but it
is not so loose then.
Other professionals involved in sports field management would cringe
at even using what I just suggested. But I know sometimes
budget and available material is just what you have to work with.
Bonus: And I've found that the a planning checklist is
the way to go. It shows me where the priority areas are for
the baseball field, softball field, and ball park to be safe and
So, I hope these tips help you get your baseball field and softball
fields ready for the spring season. And if you have any questions,
you can contact
I can help.
better play more often,
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide