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Jim Reiner's
Specific Answers

Field maintenance strategies, plus Q&A

"Here you get specific advice from me and my hand picked team of field experts."


Why You Should Aerate After Rolling Your Sports Turf

Texas Charlie writes:

I did an awesome job on my field last year. I used your info to support all of the things I did on the field. The rest of the league was very impressed and I have been given free reins to do anything I want this year and they trust me.

But have a question:

I read that you said roll before aerating, why? Don't you want the roller the last thing on the fields to really have the smoothness. Will the roller push the lips out or do I have to use the sod cutter. My lips are not bad this year. I cut them out last year. Do you shave the lips with the sod cutter? My sod cutter really sucks and is hard to control.

Thanks for the help

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Hello Texas Charlie,

Regarding your plan. It will work. There are 'rules of thumb', but you know a fellow told me that the abbreviation is ROT. So, not all rules of thumb need to followed to a T.

Rolling compacts the soil as it flattens. Core aerating afterwards helps the turf get some air and moisture pathways. Sanding before rolling can be like using sandpaper on the turf. It might hurt. Something to consider adding to the plan is after you fertilize and topdress, drag the metal mesh drag along to push it into the core holes as well as level out the sand and any cores still on the ground.

More info on using sand here: http://tinyurl.com/y93baoc

If your lips are not bad, then make a simple 2-3 inch deep trench next to your grass edge before you roll the turf. The roller will flatten by pushing the high spot to the side.

On using a steam roller check here: http://tinyurl.com/ydkegas

The sod cutter really is a great device when first fixing major lips or cutting back grass that is far past its place. But once you've done that, you may not need to use the sod cutter again. It can actually cause more problems. So, once a field is flat and the edge just needs a trim, I use a three wheel gas powered lawn edger. Works like a champ. That's what many pro teams use.

Here's a fun photo story about edging a field:

So, have a great spring season!
You're doing an awesome job!

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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