Roll baseball field turf to level it out

How to roll baseball field turf
so it is level


Is your top soil under your baseball field turf
lumpy and bumpy?

There are two ways to level your turf area:

1. Roll your baseball field turf

Preparation:  Before you roll your baseball field turf with a 1-3 ton roller, it is best to do a few things:

  1. Consider rolling your turf as part of an overall turf maintenance program.  This means you'll be doing some field maintenance before and after rolling as part of getting your field in great shape.
  2. Mow your baseball field grass to its normal mowing.  If you don't mow real long grass, it can get matted down in the dirt and be hard to mow later.
  3. Walk your field to get a feel for where the trouble spots are.
  4. Got some high lips around the turf perimeter?  Consider cutting out the lips before you roll baseball field turf.
  5. Know our sprinklers.  If the heads are 1-2 inches under ground, then you won't have a problem rolling over them.  However, if any of the heads are ground level or higher (which they shouldn't be - that's not safe for players with cleats), then you need to mark the high sprinklers so you don't crush them.
  6. Got some real bad holes out there?  Like where the center fielders stand and dig in with their cleats?  Then put some top soil in the hole first.
  7. Time the rolling so the ground is moist, but not soggy.  Hard ground does not roll well. It needs to be damp to have some give.
  8. Make sure you have field access for the roller equipment. Avoid baseball field maintenance goofs.
  9. Driving the steam roller yourself?  Then check here for tips and hints for best results when using a steam roller to level your baseball field turf.


Roll baseball field turf: This part is easy, but as always with heavy equipment, be careful.

  1. Roll the turf in an X pattern to ensure lumps and bumps are flattened. 
  2. Be careful about tight turns - this can tear up the ground.
  3. Be careful near fencing and back stops.  Know how high and far the roller extends out. 
  4. Practice forward, reverse, and stopping on a steam roller in wide open areas before going near structures.
  5. Check known bad spots to see if you need to roll again or add some top soil and roll again.


After you roll baseball field turf to level it: IMPORTANT: rolling levels, but also compacts the soil.  This can stress or even damange turf roots.

  1. Core aerate the turf so it can breathe and get nutrients to the roots.
  2. This is a good time to overseed and fertilize your grass if you haven't done so.
  3. When you roll baseball field turf, you flatten out small mounds and small holes.  It does not flatten out wide and slightly rolling undulations you might have. It just smooths them out.  If you have obvious low spots (for example a 15 foot diamater area where the left fielder stands) spread some topsoil and rake smooth so the top of the grass shows through.
  4. Cycle through your sprinklers to ensure they still work and make sure you didn't damage one by accident.


2. Five other ways to level your baseball field turf and dirt

(See the January 2008 Better Fields newsletter for detail instructions for each technique)

1. Big holes or ruts in the outfield: fill them in with reclaimed sand and cover with topsoil and seed.

2. Uneven infield turf: best thing to do is several applications of topdressing.

3. Infield turf with major ruts and undulations: spread out 10 tons of top soil / compost and drag it level.

4. Infield skin (dirt) not level: add about 3-5 tons on a little league baseball field and spread, till, then level with a box or leveler device, and drag.

5. Major infield turf problems:
scrape with a tractor and smooth bucket and start over. See example of 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.


baseball infield leveled with a steam roller
leveled by steam roller


one ton rollers pulled behind a tractor
Three 1-ton rollers pulled behind a tractor

steam roller
1.5 ton steam roller

edging baseball turf behind second base
cut out the high lumps before rolling

rollers pulled by a tractor on the baseball field
Roll baseball field turf
in an X pattern
rolling a field



aerating baseball turf after rolling to level it





fill sand for large low spots
fill sand for the real
big low spots

piles of topdressing on the infield
tons of topdressing to spread and level the infield area

scraping a real bad infield off
Starting over...

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