Project: Spring high school baseball field turf maintenance

Spring Turf Maintenance Project

Wow, was this field ever out of control!  Due to some irrigation problems and some outright vandalism in the fall, the field fell into hard times.  So, when spring maintenance came around, we had our hands full. 

This is a good example for you to learn from.  Most ballparks need this in the spring.

The Problem Areas:
  • overgrown infield turf; I mean way overgrown 5 to 6 feet past the edge;
  • extensive weed and turf growth in basepaths, warning track, and into the infield dirt; and
  • some thin and weak areas in the turf


Fixing It

So, where do we start?   This project is really a version of the 10 step turf maintenance program.  Except in this case, we didn't use topdressing since we had used this extensively twice before.  The turf had a good base.  The field just needed the usual spring time facelift.

Important!  For best results in the spring, you really have to do a few things in the fall just before winter. 


Here's what we did in November: (probably would have been better to do this in October, but, hey, we didn't get to it)

  1. Cut the grass way back.
  2. Remove as much of the new grass growing in the infield dirt as we could. 
  3. Aerate the infield in a criss cross pattern
  4. Use a thatcher to get out the weeds in the infield turf area and lightly 'till' the top 1-2 inches of the dirt.
  5. Spread grass seed and fertilizer
  6. Pulled a drag over all this to mix it in and help smooth it out

Then it rained during December.  But, January was one of the coldest and driest months on record.  So, not much grew that month.  But in anticipation of the new season, we held the first work day on the last Saturday of January.


And here's what we did for this project in January: (it was cold, so we only worked from about 9-11am.)

  1. Aerated the infield turf
  2. Removed weeds from the mound
  3. Threw out some more seed and a little fertilizer on the infield

Most of the spring turf maintenance project was completed during the first half of February.  The weather was nice, so we were able to finish up the entire spring maintenance project.

Here's what we did in February:

  1. Edge all grass areas with a sod cutter (infield, foul lines, outfield edge, infield mound, and the warning track)
  2. Overseed and fertilize
  3. Rebuild the bullpen mounds
  4. Spotseed a couple weeks later

This was all completed in time for the opening day game on February 25. 

I know.  Some of you live in areas where there's still snow on the ground in February.  I grew up in northern Montana. The only way we played baseball in February was to wrap electricians tape around the ball so we could see it in the snow!

overgrown grass    field is ready for play  
Field is ready for play 4 weeks after starting spring cleanup.

alumni game

overgrown basepath
Overgrown turf during
the winter
overgrown infield grass

aerating the infield
aerating the infield
in November

thatching the infield grass
thatching the infield

aerate and seed the infield in spring
aerate and seed the
infield in late January

a series of
pictures to see how
edging is done
edging the left field line

edging the third base line

edging behind second base

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