NEW CONSTRUCTION: How to build my own Green Monster!
SOFTBALL FIELD RENOVATION: What kind of mix? How do I raise the
field level 4 inches?
BASEBALL TURF: How to grow grass when it is cold out
IN THIS ISSUE:
red clay... stained socks... Where do I get that stuff?
to level your field? Here are five ways to fix it.
Turning clay based fill dirt into a decent infield mix
How to get more MONEY for your projects!
On Building Your Very Own GREEN MONSTER!
been taking care of a my baseball field now for the last 4 years
and my next idea is to build a green monster in left field.
Any ideas? Mike in Minnesota.
I’ve seen two variations
on high school baseball fields of something like a green monster.
These are placed in odd shaped fields where right or left is closer
I know of
a field with a 12 foot high plywood fence
in left field. It is plywood on a steel frame of square
pipes welded together and cemented to anchor them in the ground.
There is some upkeep required with plywood sheets that warp or
pull away from the frame. This is very imposing to visiting teams
when they see this huge fence in left. It is 310 down the line
in left and 340 in left center to this fence. It takes a good
hit to get it out.
And then there
is the baseball field with a very shallow right field. This park
used telephone poles and netting that goes up about 45
feet in right field. The poles are about 25 feet apart
and sunk deep into the ground. They use netting between the poles.
Something like you see at a golf course driving range. This is
really pretty interesting to see. You’d think lefties hit
a lot of homeruns here. But no. It is usually a righty who swings
late and pops one over for a 250 foot homer.
like a green monster makes your field unique and gives it character.
Everyone will remember it.
A Softball Field - What Kind of Mix and How to Do It Right?
a high school softball field. I need to know how to add 4
inches of dirt mix to a current softball field to raise the level.
What should I do first with the current field that I am adding the
4 iches too - till or nothing? And what kind of mix should
I use? Dan in Oregon.
ever you add so much dirt to raise a ball field several inches it
is always best to loosen the existing surface and moisten it first.
This helps the new dirt bond with the old.
Raising a softball
field 4 inches requires at least 40 tons. So, first moisten and
drag the existing field. It is also best to level it out first.
Fill in any low spots around the bases, pitcher plate, or home plate.
Then add and spread your new dirt.
school 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.
You might also till, spike drag, level, and roll the softball field
when the season starts.
Check out this
study project to improve the dirt playing surface on a softball
Grass Early When It Is Still Cold Out? Yes!
a high school baseball field that never had a grass infield. I
want to install grass. I plan on tilling the infield next week
and plant the northern seed mix that you recommend with the fertilizer
to follow afterward. Then I plan on laying straw and saturate
with water and cover with 6 mil black plastic. I will check to
make sure that the straw will remain wet. My question is will
this be enough to germinate my seed and get it started ? I live
on the western side of West Virginia. Gene.
Bluegrass and rye grass germinate best with temperatures
over 50 degrees F during sunny days. If the night temperatures
go into the mid to low 40s then germination will be slow. Also,
if the area stays too wet and cold, the seed could rot. Bad.
after tilling, drag and roll flat. Do you have irrigation installed
also? Do you have a quick coupler water source behind your mound?
If not, this is the time to put one in. You will be glad you did.
– my experience is spread it out thin. Too much and the
Re: black plastic – I suppose you are doing this to heat
up the ground to help with germination. Just like in a garden,
this works to get the ground warmed up, but after the seedlings
sprout, remove the plastic or the seedlings could die.
you want a grass baseball infield that is playable by mid to late
February when the season starts? Yes? You might want to consider
it several times several weeks apart. Something like early
Jan, late Jan, and mid February. I do this in N. CA to get the
most from the periods of warmer rains between the cold clear days.
I see the weather forecast for Charleston, if you are close to
that area, indicates some warmer days with rain and some freezing
days with light snow. So, planting right now is pushing it a bit.
In mid December
I seeded a 150 square foot area between 2B and the mound. I put
down a soil and compost mix, rolled it flat, spread seed rather
thick (I wasn’t sure how much if any would germinate this
time of year) and then I spread some more of the soil mixture
on top – just enough to cover the seed. We had three days
of light rain followed by 5 days with a high temp of 53 and a
low of 42. After two weeks, the area had little grasses all over
that were about half an inch tall. The key to this working was
that we had day time temperatures in the 50s and had some light
rain for a couple days after I put out the seed.
to Tighten The Turf and Find Deep Red Clay to Stain My Socks!
I want to tighten the turf and I was thinking of using some
colonial bent grass. What do you think about using this? And
I hate the infield skin. It becomes very sandy and it seems that
they just keep adding more of the same to the baseball field. I
remember when I played the clay was a deep red clay and would stain
my socks. I what to find that stuff. Any ideas? Thx.
I checked in with my buddies here on Colonial Bentgrass. Their thoughts:
this is a good grass for cool season areas such as along the coast.
It does require a bit more maintenance with fertilizing and mowing
and you need to really watch it for fungus. It you can do that,
then it can be great.
A good source
for red clay for the baseball field would be to start with www.beamclay.com.
They provide clay to many major and minor league fields across the
Ways To Level Your Lumpy, Bumpy Baseball Field
We have an existing field that needs to have holes filled and general
leveling. The town fathers want to roto-till the entire field. I
feel it would be better and more cost effective to top-dress over
time. We don't have a good alternative field. If we roto-tilled
and seeded, how long would it be before you could play on it? New
Hampshire has short growing seasons. I feel we will lose the following
Steve, 5 ways to fix problems like this that have worked for
1. Big holes or ruts in the outfield: fill them
in with reclaimed sand and cover with topsoil. I get tons of free
reclaimed sand from a local cement plant. They wash out the cement
trucks when they come back and 'reclaim' the small sand and aggregate.
This stuff is not fine sand. It has some very small pebbles. They
give it away. But, this is perfect for filling in big areas in the
outfield or the warning track.
2. Uneven infield turf: best thing to do is several
of topdressing. Depending on your size of your baseball field
- little league or high school size you have more work. I put out
five tons of top soil / compost on a high school infield and dragged
it with a metal mesh drag to level it out. (Mowed it short first.)
I did this in April and again in August. It is perfectly smooth
3. Infield turf with major ruts and undulations:
on a senior little league baseball field I spread out 10 tons of
top soil / compost and dragged it level. This field had big problems
so I went with lots of dirt. I do not recommend doing that much
at once unless you have a major, major problem to fix. Now the nice
thing about this is that you can water it in and play on it in a
day. I did this in October.
4. Infield skin (dirt) not level: One of the easiest
ways to fix this is to add about 3-5 tons on a little league baseball
field or 10-20 tons on a high school baseball field and spread,
till with a tractor and rear tiller, then level with a box or leveler
device, and drag. Water it in to help settle it. Drag or rake to
fine tune the surface. Done. I just did this with 25 tons on a high
5. Major infield turf problems: scrape with a tractor and
smooth bucket and start over. This is a lot of work. You need to
put down a good topsoil and level it. Sod takes 3-4 weeks to grow
in before you can use it. Seed takes 6-8 weeks to grow in enough
for competitive play. I
did this kind of field renovation for a baseball field at a park
and rec department. It was so bad, there was no other real way
to fix it.
Bonus: Based on what you tell me and the many baseball
field problems I've seen, there is one more thing you could do.
It works best after it has rained a couple days, but then you have
a day or two of sun. Use
a 3-5 ton steam roller on the infield turf and the outfield turf.
Mark your sprinklers first so you do not hit them. Roll the turf.
It will be very flat. You should also mow first. And it would be
a good idea to aerate after you roll it. Rolling the turf is often
done on multiuse fields where football or soccer tears up the out
field and puts in lots of ruts when playing on the wet ground. I
have done this on several fields. Works great. Alternative is to
use the water filled lawn roller, but this is slower and harder
to do. Put those football players to work pushing it around.
P.S. in general I find it easier and better to
work with what you have - add top dressing and level it - versus
doing major tilling and new seed. But it just depends how bad it
is and how much time you can afford to not be using the field.
Need To Improve My Infield Dirt Mix - It's Just Clay Based Fill
the varsity coach at a small school in rural Oregon. Two years
ago several truckloads of construction dirt was dumped on the
field. My partially skinned infield doesn't drain when it rains,
and turns as hard as a rock when it is sunny. What's the
best solution for me? I have equipment, and suppliers for basic
materials (sand) and a little money for top dressing. What would
you suggest? John.
Construction dirt sounds like something here that is called
fill clay. It is the clay based dirt spread and rolled as a
base under roads. If your baseball field is full of this, then
you need to add sand.
you want a little more sand than clay in your finished mix.
So, if you got two truckloads of clay based construction dirt
before, then you need to dump, spread, and mix in two truckloads
of sand now. I would do this and see how this works before adding
As far as
it turning hard when sunny – frequent watering and dragging
can at least keep the top loose and still provide good footing.
best thing for you to do first is a little test
to analyze your baseball dirt mix. Fill a glass
mason jar 2 inches with the material you have now and then add
two inches of sand. Now add water, shake, and let it settle.
If you clearly see a sand layer and a clay layer, then you know
you need to proceed to add truck loads of sand. This is what
I would do if I were you. Try this. Let me know what your test
result is if you have any questions.
More MONEY & Proper Planning!
If you need a dose of motivation to help you achieve your funding
goals for your baseball field maintenance projects -- check out
the hidden secrets
of fund raising success for your ball field projects
I've found that the a planning checklist is the way to go.
It shows me where the priority areas are for the ball part to
be safe and playable.
Yours for better play more often,
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide