BASEBALL FIELD TURF: Three
ways to remove lip build up.
BASEBALL FIELD DIRT: My field is a mess. Help me fix this!
BUILDING A SOFTBALL FIELD: What kind of dirt mix?
IN THIS ISSUE:
matter what - adding this will make your dirt better.
fertilizer early in the spring - what is it?
Turf maintenance, getting donations, checklists, and more...
Three Ways to Remove Lip Build Up on Your Baseball Field
baseball field has around 1-2 inch lips
on the infield edges and anywhere from 2-6 inch lips on the outside
turf perimeters. Will the 'mass aerate and roll' technique
work for me? What else should I do? Justin.
The technique I describe where you mass
aerate the lip buildup and then roll the turf is best when
the lip is 2 inches or less and the turf is in reasonably good
to six inches high require more than that. If the lips have grown
past the spec cutouts (which is what usually happens as lips build
– the grass line creeps out farther than it should be) then
I would first use
a sod cutter to just cut the lip back and totally remove the
lip to the spec cutout. This might be all you have to do.
after sod cutting you might still have a smaller lip remaining.
You can either aerate and roll or use the hose technique where
you use water to blast some of the dirt out.
you still have a large lip after using the sod cutter, then you
can use the sod cutter to cut under the grass, gently move it
aside (you will replace it shortly), then use the sod cutter again
to loose the dirt, remove an inch or two of the dirt, and then
replace the sod you cut earlier. This last technique works best
if your sod is in reasonably good shape. Follow sod
installation instructions for best results.
And as a last
resort, if the lip is just so huge and the grass at the lip is
not in good shape, just cut it back past spec, remove it all,
out a top soil / compost mix, and reseed the edges. Grow it
level where it should be.
try to work with what I have before removing it and starting over.
Our baseball field dirt mix is a mess. Need a quick fix.
school infield dirt needs help. Low spots hold water - it does not
drain. We brought in a truckload of "dirt" and
a truckload of sand. Unfortunately it was not mixed in well. Would
a quick fix include adding
clay dirt? and perhaps tilling everything together and rolling?
or covering existing dirt with 4" of commercial baseball mix?
Based on what
you tell me, I would start by mixing, leveling, and firming up what
you have. Use a tractor with a rear tiller. One that can go 6 inches
deep. Mix well the existing silt, sand, and old baseball dirt. Level
it with mass dragging with a spike drag and metal mesh drag with
a leveling bar. Either roll to firm or else let the rains cause
it to firm up.
If the result
is still not good, then I would cover it with 4 inches of good baseball
mix. You will need about 60 tons (yards).
Regarding the idea of a quick fix on a high school field
– you need more than a truckload of dirt to make a difference.
A truckload is anywhere from 6-10 tons. On a high school field this
hardly raises it or changes the mix much. You need to think 30 tons
I just finished
a high school infield where I raised the infield area one inch.
I added 25 tons of 50 percent sand / clay soil and 50 percent crushed
red brick. I spread and tilled it into the top 5 inches. Then leveled
it. Then the rains helped settle and firm it up just in time for
the first practice on February 11.
is a similar project: improving the infield dirt on a senior little
league baseball field.
Field Measurements and Specifications
a softball field. What should my dirt mix be?
I'm building a high school softball field for our high school. We
get about 20 inches a rain a year here and it's very cold from Jan
to late Feb. and warm to hot in the summers. I'm trying to figure
out what my skinned infield dirt mix should be and what the percentages
should be? Any ideas? Dan
softball can be quite competitive. And competitive softball fields
are usually harder and firmer than what you would have for a high
school baseball field.
So, you want
more clay on a softball field. Up to 70 percent of the mix should
be clay. The rest can be sand.
is that these hard and firm fields don’t absorb water well.
Unless you have a slight slope – one to two percent –
the water just puddles and can take a while to evaporate and absorb
in. The very slight slope helps drain the water off to the side
or to the outfield grass. If you don’t have the slope just
right, then a very good tool to invest in is a large push squeegee.
I use this on one of the softball fields near me in the morning
to push the night rain water off. By afternoon the girls can play.
And if you want
to really get into it since you are building a new field, put French
drains under your infield draining the water out to center field.
Newer softball fields often do that. It also helps to roll the field
when the season starts.
softball field at Siltanen Park in Scotts Valley was a quick one-day
project. We firmed up the field for the college girls. I had
a lot of fun there. The Santa Cruz area is nice to go back and visit.
Low on Money. Do You Donate Products?
little league board was wondering if you donate products to
small, low income leagues such as ours. We do not profit much
as the kids that register with us cannot really afford to even
pay our low registration fees. We will be glad to hang
a large banner or sign in our field showing you support the
kids in our community. Jerry.
with your situation. My favorite projects have been for private
schools. They have the same funding challenges you have. Little
or no money. They need donations to get anything done. I get
the most personal satisfaction out of helping these teams.
But, I do
not have products to donate. What I do is donate knowledge and
skills and abilities to fix and renovate ball fields. I can
also help you raise money (lots of it) for your uniforms, equipment,
I can tell you that this is the absolute best time to get money
donated. At the beginning of the year, your local businesses
allocate money in their budgets for community support. Ask and
you will receive. But you need a plan before you just
go out asking for money if you want to make the most of your
at this link, skim through, and let me know if you have any
questions. It tells you exactly what to do (and what not to
do) to raise money and get discounted or donated equipment and
materials for your league.
better fields really do make for better play
A college team played on an old, worn out field. I hate
to say it, but it really was bad. During the fall of 2004
they were 1-17 on that field. Plenty of errors, miscues,
bad hops, lost footing, and a few field injuries.
After renovating the field, the team was 13-3 in the spring of
2005. Yes, they got better, but the field no longer was
a factor in play either. Their project included a complete infield
dirt and turf renovation. Interested in what they did?
out this project for a complete infield renovation for a college
The 10 Step Turf Maintenance Program
a complete program of baseball field turf maintenance, follow
this 10 step process.
This process is ideally done 3 to 4 weeks before
your spring season starts. You
can also do this before summer tournaments and in late fall
when you are done for the year.
step is described including bonus tips & hints as well as common
mistakes to avoid.
what you do:
Once your field is dry enough, start
your baseball turf maintenance by mowing your turf.
In the early spring and fall, cut it a bit shorter than you normally
do. That allows for 3-4 weeks of growth. Next,
mark your sprinklers so you donít hit them when you aerate
is followed by adding topdressing if possible. Usually a dirt
mixture that includes sand is best.
seed the turf.
Now the magic
the turf to blend the seed and dirt, to smooth the surface,
and to force materials into the aerification holes.
above process has been completed, fertilize
the turf and start
watering. After about 2 weeks spot
seed any areas where there is thin growth.
Once the turf
has grown to 2 to 3 inches, it is time to start regular mowing.
P.S. If time
or budget prevent you from doing all 10 steps, then the very best
thing you can do for your turf is to core aerate. This alone
will do wonders for your grass.
What Your Baseball Field Dirt Mix, Adding Conditioner Will Make
I've been helping the local high school and small town little league
with their fields. I have golf course experience so I'm pretty good
at the turf but have a question regarding the skinned areas. I'm
in Iowa and the choice for infield skin is limestone since it's
plentiful and cheap. It does vary quite a bit in hardness however.
The high school uses a softer brownish limestone. I'd like to have
a little firmer surface and was wondering about tilling in clay
but I'm concerned about it's playability after rain since the budget
won't allow a cover. The limestone drains very well (as well as
the underlying soil). Doug in Iowa.
I checked with some pros I know in your area about their limestone
infields. They see the following benefits with the limestone: it's
easy to maintain, drains well after rain, and is cheap to buy more.
Notice how none
of these benefits are about the players and the need for firm footing
and true and consistent bounces.
I talked to four guys who take care of park and rec fields, little
league fields, and high school fields. They all till in calcined
clay such as Turface or Diamond Pro to help get a better playing
surface. If you haven't already done something like this, start
by adding 2 tons and nail dragging into the top 1 1/2 inches to
The calcined clay helps with moisture management.
Hope that helps. Have a great spring season!
Need a Source for Good Topdressing for the Infield Skin
"I have been
up grading a college level infield for two seasons AND now need
the best grade infield clay for the top 1/2 inch layer/
What is available in or near Texas to complete this important project.????"
Mike Schmidt in Texas
If you've spent quite some time grading a college field, then you
probably have it level the way you want it. It would be time for
a quality calcined clay topdressing / conditioner.
Start with two tons. Space the eighty 50 pound bags on your infield,
including 2 for the base paths and 4 for home plate area. Dump the
bags, spread with rakes, and then nail drag into the top inch of
our infield. Go slow and work it in. Then drag with a metal mesh
drag and water. All set!
Two sources for you in Texas (or just about anywhere in the US)
1. Turface - go to http://www.turface.com.
There is a product locator on the website. Enter your zip code and
it will tell you about distributors nearby.
2. Diamond Pro - go to http://www.diamondpro.com.
There is a distributor tab at the top. Enter your state and it shows
all the distributors for you.
Have a great spring season!
Best Baseball Field Turf Fertilizer Early in the Spring
" We thatched and seeded earlier. They are putting infield
this week and hopefully edging and making the warning track. What
kind of fertilizer do you suggest?" Dean Perkins,
Cool season fertilizer is best right now.
I use the Turfgro brand, 21-4-7, from Horizon. It is a good mix
of organic and inorganic that won't burn or make the grass grow
too fast. It is high in iron to make it nice and green. Due to price
increases in the potash, many fertilizers now have '0' in the middle
- so you might find 21-0-7 instead. Have a great spring season!
the Yearly Cost to Maintain a Baseball Field
"We are a small baseball club in No. Virginia looking to build/renovate
some baseball fields. Do you have a business model that shows the
costs per month/year to maintain a field? I need to submit a proposal
to our board and was looking for a template to start with. Off the
top of my head I am guessing there are fertilizer, mowing, irrigation,
infield, warning track, etc., costs, but have no idea what those
costs are, and what other costs I might be missing. Any help you
could provide would be great. Thanks" David Lerch from
An ongoing field maintenance plan could include:
Spring - core aerate ($100 a day to rent), fertilize, seed, topdress
as needed; add more baseball dirt as needed.
Fall - core aerate, fertilize, overseed, topdress as needed
Winter - depending on climate - either do nothing or fertilize
If you need to do some 'one time' work like cutting sod or edging
the field, then you need another $120 to rent a sod cutter or lawn
edger (unless you know someone who has one.)
Seed costs about $70 for a 50 pound bag.
Fertilizer costs between $20 and $35 for a 50 pound bag.
Topdressing (topsoil, sand, compost mix) is about $25 a yard.
Baseball mix varies from about $30 a yard to $40 a yard.
So, the big question is how much of these do you need? It depends
on the size of your field. Check this link for assistance with this
I'll leave the math to you.
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 ball park to be safe and playable.
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