Removing lip buildup with roller and edger

Jim Reiner's
Specific Answers

Field maintenance strategies, plus Q&A

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Remove Lip Build Up When Rolling Your Baseball Field Turf


TC in Texas asks a questions:

I'm going to roll my infield to help level it out.  Will the roller push the lips out or do I have to use the sod cutter to remove lip build up?.

My lips are not bad this year. I cut them out last year. Do you shave the lips with the sod cutter? My sod cutter really sucks and is hard to control. Any ideas how remove lip build up that is not too bad?

Thanks for helping.

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Hello TC,

The sod cutter is a great device when you first remove lip build up that is really bad or cutting back grass that is far past its place. But once you've done that, you may not need to use the sod cutter again. It can actually cause more problems.

You say you are going to roll your field to level it. If your lips are not bad, here's something easy you can do.

Make a simple 2-3 inch deep trench next to your grass edge before you roll the turf. When you use the heavy roller it will flatten the lip by pushing the high spot to the side.  This is a real easy way to remove lip build up.

Here's the sequence:

using a hoe next to the grass edge

shovel a small trench next to the turf

turf edges with a small trench around it

turf edges with small trench before rolling

turf edge after rolling it

raking turf edge after rolling it flat

turf edge after rolling and raking


Notice how I did not edge before doing this.  The field is now rolled level and the small trench made room to flatten the lip.  So, once the field is flat and the edge just needs a trim, I use a three wheel gas powered lawn edger. Works like a champ. That's what many pro teams use.


Here's a fun photo story about edging a field:

And check here for more tips and hints when using a steam roller on your baseball field to flatten out the lips so it is level and firm.

Yours for better play more often,

J. Reiner

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


Jim Reiner Jim Reiner was a groundskeeper with the Texas Rangers AAA team and has been involved with baseball his entire adult life.  He devotes his efforts to training coaches, players, and parents of all levels of youth baseball and softball to use their existing field and turn it into a safe, high performance field. Jim's website has been online since 2006 helping hundreds of thousands from little league to pro baseball improve their ball fields. 

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