Baseball Field Maintenance Ezine

Dear Baseball Fan,

Finally! Baseball season will be kicking off soon.  In this issue, Jim tackles the most requested baseball field maintenance topics when you are getting ready for your season: getting your dirt and turf ready, putting together a budget, and getting help. Enjoy!

Issue 12

February 2009



How to tell if you water enough

The most important thing for your turf

How to conquer your greatest time killer

How to bust through funding barriers - part 2


Article Archive


"You will never have significant success with anything until it becomes an obsession with you." -- Coach Gunter.


What Others are Saying:

"Thanks for the email Jim.
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.
Thanks for the help."

Charles Hurst,
Pearland TX:

"Your website is AWESOME. I am finding the exact info I need. Thank you for being so willing to put this info on your site for those who need help!"


"Thanks. Your tips have helped me immensely regarding our baseball field. Keep them coming!"

Steve Walton
VP/Groundskeeper - Lane Babe Ruth Baseball League

" Thanks for your help. I am the field manager for EYLLL (East Yorba Linda Little League)in Yorba Linda CA. Your site and e-mails have been a big help. I have found that it is all about the sod cutter. We rented a Ryan Jr instead of trying to use a hoe to clean up the field and it made a huge difference. Thanks"

Tom La Rue
EYLLL, Yorba Linda, CA

Your One Stop Place to Increase
Field Safety and Playability
This issue available on the web at:

  • BASEBALL TURF: Ten steps to get ready for spring

  • BASEBALL DIRT: Add this to make any mix even better

  • TOPDRESSING FOR THE INFIELD SKIN: Need a local supplier?


  • The best fertilizer early in the spring... what is it?

  • Estimating the yearly cost to maintain a field

  • Need a pro to build or renovate your field?  Check here.

The 10 Step Turf Maintenance Program

For a complete program of baseball 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.

Each step is described including bonus tips & hints as well as common mistakes to avoid.

So, here’s 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 don’t hit them when you aerate and edge your turf.

This is followed by adding topdressing if possible. Usually a dirt mixture that includes sand is best.

Then over seed the turf.

Now the magic steps. Drag the turf to blend the seed and dirt, to smooth the surface, and to force materials into the aerification holes.

After the 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.

No Matter What Your Dirt Mix, Adding Conditioner Will Make It Better

Great Site! 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 two inches.

The calcined clay helps with moisture management.
Hope that helps. Have a great spring season!

I 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 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 There is a distributor tab at the top. Enter your state and it shows all the distributors for you.

Have a great spring season!

The Best Fertilizer Early in the Spring

" We thatched and seeded earlier. They are putting infield mix on
this week and hopefully edging and making the warning track. What kind of fertilizer do you suggest?"   Dean Perkins, Roseville CA


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!

Estimating the Yearly Cost to Maintain a 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 No. Virginia


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.
Summer- fertilize
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 part:

I'll leave the math to you!

Professionals Who Build and Renovate Sports Fields

The fact is not everyone has the interest or time to tackle ball park upgrades or renovation on their own. 

The good news is that there are professionals out there that can do the work for you.  Here are a few that I have had contact with.  I don't benefit where you use them or not.  Just passing these on if it helps someone out there.

Ohio region
- Troy Frazier - Athletic field maintenance and development services specializing in baseball fields and drainage in the Ohio region.

North & South Carolina, Georgia - Alan Wilson, CSFM - Athletic field contractor providing construction, renovation, and maintenance services for athletic facilities in SC, Western NC, and eastern Ga.  Helps
maintain over 300 athletic fields in these areas from Minor League Parks, the Carolina Panthers NFL Club, Colleges of every size from USC to local Tech juco programs, around 60 high schools,down to Parks and Recs and Little league organizations.

Contact Alan at:

Yours for better play more often,

J. Reiner

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


P.S.  The baseball field maintenance handbook is finally done!  So, the ultimate baseball & softball field maintenance handbook will be available in March.  It is titled: Transform Your Baseball Field into a Winning Field: Helping You Master Field Maintenance.

The table of contents:

Ch1: Safety and Playability Matters: You Decide How Much
Ch2: Transform Your Baseball Field into a Winning Field
Ch3: Develop a Sports Field Improvement Plan That’s Right For You
Ch4: Turf Maintenance Made Easy
Ch5: Baseball Dirt and its Condition
Ch6: Using Proven Equipment
Ch7: Using Quality Materials
Ch8: Keeping the Momentum Going
Appdx: checklists, case studies, diagrams, worksheets, & examples
Bonus: How to Fund Your Baseball Field Improvements


Have a Question for Jim Reiner?  Have an Idea to Share with Readers?

Speak out.  Use the Better Fields for Better Play contact form.

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