in Louisiana writes:
I wanted to
ask you about baseball field drags.
I hear about
drags having nails and bolts. I hear some say don't use dull bolts
- make sure you have something sharp.
What do you
think about all that from experience? After reading about not using
the bolts I thought about taking them out and grinding them sharp
thinking that would help.
- - - - - -
- - - - - - - - -
Both a baseball
field nail drag and bolt drag have a place in your arsenal of field
drag with the bolts, or what some people would call a spike drag,
is great for breaking up hardened surfaces or disintegrating small
weed seedling starting to pop up. Often the bolt drag is
heavier and is intended to break up the surface a bit deeper than
a nail drag.
I have a spike
drag that is a rectangular metal frame about 4 feet wide and 3 feet
long with three rows of bolts alternating where they come down on
the ground. If needed I put my nail drag on top of the spike drag
for additional weight to sink the bolts down into the baseball dirt
a bit more.
The spike drag
is good for dragging in spirals around the baseball or softball
infield to also level it out a bit. My spike drag can be flipped
over, bolts up, so the smooth flat metal then drags and moves dirt
to level as needed. This drag is heavy and must be pulled by a riding
mower or tractor. No way you would hand drag with this.
The spike drag
or bolt drag is not intended to be your final grooming, but if needed,
the field is still quite playable. I use my spike drag about once
every month or so on the baseball and softball fields.
On the other
hand a nail drag is used more often.
Like its name
implies it is usually a wood frame with a series of rows of nails
sticking out. Usually 4 inch nails through a 2x4 so about an inch
of nail sticks out. Too much sticking out results in nails bending
over. Not good. This drag is used more to scarify the surface
and can be your final grooming. You can also finish it
off with a metal mesh drag.
Nail drags work
best if the ground is not too hard. You want to rough up the surface
only, not dig way in with a nail drag. If the surface is quite hard,
then use a bolt drag with weights first to dig it up a bit, followed
by the nail drag.
You should not
have to put weight very often on the drag with nails. If you do
the nails will bend and not work as well. Nails really only need
to stick out of the wood by a half inch for it to work. Nail
drags are great for working soil conditioner such as calcined clay
into the top inch of your baseball dirt.
My nail drag
is about 5 feet wide by 3 feet. It is too heavy to pull by hand.
my baseball field nail drag and bolt drag with a tractor. It
has wheels on the reverse side so I can flip it over and pull it
from the storage bin to the complex of four basebal and softball
fields. I sometimes lay the spike drag on top to haul it to the
I'm sure you'll
read or hear about many variations of this. Try to see what works
best for you and understand the pros/cons and uses or each.
I wouldn't discount
any idea until you prove it unworkable for you.
And here is
a picture of a heavy duty spike and leveling attachment used by
a tractor to get a softball field ready for the spring. This
is good for digging up the dirt, removing weeds, and leveling it.
Definitely have to follow use of this with the bolt, nail, and metal
mesh drag to get a proper playing surface.
Yours for better
play more often,
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
Baseball Field Renovation Guide