STRENGTHENING YOUR TURF: four things to do now
IMPROVING YOUR BASEBALL DIRT: analysis and correction
GETTING RID OF WEEDS: how to be a hero
IN THIS ISSUE:
in sod for your little league infield - the key to success
Maintenance planning - make your spring prep
Your Turf for the Spring
was asking me,"When is the best time to improve your turf
here in Roseville, CA?"
My answer, "Right now in the fall!"
works also, but it has its challenges: cold nights, soggy ground,
teams using the fields. Fall is best: nights not too cold,
usually not soggy, often teams are not using the field.
things you want to do for your turf: get rid of weeds, aerate,
Sure, the grass might go dormant in the winter, but it will come
back strong in the spring. This whole process can be repeated
or done in the spring also, but growth may be slower.
the middle temperate climates we overseed
with a mixture of perennial rye and bluegrass. Choices of
grass seed vary depending again on your climate, but here's a
summary of the types of
grass seed used on infields.
Your Baseball Dirt
currently the head baseball coach at his High School in northwest
PA. He writes in, "I am very concerned about the conditions
of our infield skinned area. I recently did a simple soil test,
and found that our field contains roughly 70% sand, 20% silt, and
10% clay. We are looking to get a type of infield surface that many
professional baseball programs have. My question is what exactly
do I do? We want to add products to our existing dirt, and what
should that product be? Any direction that you can point me into
will help greatly."
Improving your infield dirt mix is one of the most important tasks
you could be doing this time of year.
Your analysis tells me that you have a lot of sand in your mix.
Players probably lose their footing and sometimes get bad bounces.
So, I'm going to tell you what I've done to fix similar problems
on the west cost and then I'm going to share a contact with you
in your area that could help you if you want to take the next step
with this project.
First, a typical high school size field has about 12,000 square
feet of dirt area. To get the clay content up to about 25% will
take about 37 tons of clay spread into the top 4 inches. The
process used is important for the added material to mix, adhere,
bond with the existing mix. Just as a rough idea for budget:
in N. CA it costs about $2,200 for 37 tons of the premium clay used
on the SF Giants field. 37 tons is about 3 dump trucks.
Reference material from my site:
Here's a case study project doing this kind of playing
surface upgrade on a softball field:
Some hints and tips when correcting
infield skin mix:
tips, and mistakes to avoid when improving your infield skin:
Here's a list of 6
ways to improve your infield skin - these range from free, but
short lasting to long lasting with a price to pay:
Todd, as an extra bonus here's a contact close to you that knows
baseball fields. Frazier's Field Repair - serving the Ohio region.
Experience in just what you need done. Troy has a couple web pages
about infield dirt specs and adding dirt to your infield skin.
Check these out:
P.S. One other idea: the Erie SeaWolves, Tigers AA team, play in
Erie in Jerry Uht Park. Here's a professional team near you.
Contact their groundskeeper for leads on professional quality baseball
Rid of Weeds
had been a assistant golf course supervisor for fifteen years.
He just switched to a new job of taking care of ballfields in
his town and his first project is to recondition the warning track
at the high school. It's extremely weed infested. So, what can
we advise to help Jason be a hero in his town?
Part of the curse of fallen mankind. We sweat to get rid
So let's look
at a couple ways to eliminate and control weeds in your ball park.
easy stuff. You can use a product like Roundup on areas
where you don't want any grass or weeds growing. These areas
include the warning track, the basepaths, infield skin, coaches
boxes, and the base of fencing. Roundup goes on the weed and down
to the root and kills the weed. I slowly turns yellow, then
brown, and dries up. This can take 2-3 weeks to kill the
If you want
to visibly see faster action with weed control, use Roundup that
includes the ingredient Diquat. The Diquat burns the top
of the weed in 1-2 days. The Roundup still needs some time
to get down and kill the root, but visibly you'll see dead, brown,
dry grass in a couple days. Roundup with Diquat costs a
bit more than Roundup alone, but I like the instant look of deadness
it gives when you spray the weeds.
look at weed control as part of your infield
turf maintenance. You want to get rid of the broadleaf
weeds, but keep your infield grass intact. Infield grass
might be rye, bluegrass, fescue, or bermuda. A fellow I
talked to recently said he had 'California green' in his infield.
He meant he has just about every kind of grass and weed growing
- he just fertilizes to keep it all green!
Weed and feed
is a common approach. The granules need to land on, and
stay on, the broad leaf weeds and grasses. The rest of the
granules fall to the root area and fertilize the grass.
The problem with this approach is that most of the weed killer
doesn't land on the grass. It falls to the ground.
And weed and feed isn't cheap. Especially enough for 8,000
square feet of grass.
that is more complete, and cheaper, is to use liquid weed killer
for the infield turf. I like the Trimec Plus concentrate.
A one pint bottle costs $9 and covers 5,000 square feet.
You can apply it with a hand-operated sprayer (plunger or pump-up
sprayer) and spray weeds evenly until lightly covered..
The trimec controls crabgrass, yellow nutgrass, and broadleaf
weeds. The spray completely covers the weeds and does a more complete
and thorough job of eliminating the bad stuff in your infield.
You do need to wait about 3 weeks before you overseed if using
weed and feed or the liquid weed killer with trimec. Also
follow directions about avoiding use in hot weather.
Now as far
as eliminating the weeds after they are dead: In the infield turf,
your regular mowing will take care of getting rid of it.
On the dirt areas, there are a couple things you can do.
You can let the dead grass shrivel and disintegrate which might
take months. Or you can use a power tool to dig up or shred the
dead weeds. These include using a sod
cutter to cut out dead weeds (warning
track for example) or a thatcher
set low to pulverize and shred the weeds (infield skin or warning
track for example).
in Sod for Your Little League Field
Mike wrote in asking about sod. He's putting in two infields
for little league. He wants to know how much sod he'll need. Both
fields are little league size 60' base paths.
Mike, this is
a great time of year to resod or overseed. I’ve done several
sod fields during September. A 60’ little league infield usually
has base paths 4 feet wide. So the grass area is 56’ square
minus a little bit for the mound and the base cutouts.
One little league
field will take about 3000 square feet or 120 square yards depending
on how it is sold. Sod installers typically pad this by 5-10% to
allow for edges, rounded spots, or ‘goofs’. You don’t
want to run out - that’s for sure. Two little league infields
would take 6000 square feet.
You should get
free delivery for this much sod. I’ll admit I used professional
sod installers on my first few fields. It cost a couple hundred
more, but they worked fast and did a good job. But then after watching
them, I found myself thinking, “I could have done that.”
So, now I do it myself with help from a few others. They real key
to success with sod is the prep work ahead of time and soaking
it after installation. Then stay off it till it is rooted in.
risk of being repetitious for those of you who read last month's
newsletter, I'm again suggesting some maintenance planning.
A little time now will put you way ahead in the spring.
Depending on your climate and fall field use, there are many
things you can do now that really do make it easier in the spring.
For one, grass seed and turf maintenance is easier in the late
fall than in the cold, wet spring.
What else can you be doing? Here's how to get on top of this.
Use a ballpark audit checklist.
When you use a ballpark audit checklist, you'll know exactly
what your ball field condition is and exactly what you need
to do to fix problem areas or prevent something from becoming
found that a checklist is the way to go. It also shows me
where the priority areas area: safety. I'm sure you could
make up your own checklist, or just go out and walk your entire
field and take notes.