Using a Roller on your baseball field

Using a Roller on your Baseball Field
Have an instant level and firm playing field


Choices and Decisions

To roll or not to roll, that is the question.

  1. You'll need a steam roller delivered. You can't haul 3 tons your self. And you'll need access to the field to drive the machine out to the dirt.

  2. Best for baseball: 1.5 ton to 3 ton rollers. The smaller one can also be used to roll the infield turf to get out the lumps and bumps.

  3. Best for softball: 3 ton to 5 ton rollers. Softball fields are usually firmer with a higher clay content than a baseball field.

  4. A lawn roller is good for settling new sod or when putting in new seed. It can also be rolled over the infield turf to level the lumps, but it is not nearly as effective as a steam roller.

  5. Do you have an adult to drive the steam roller?

rolled college baseball field
competition at the college level demands a very firm and
level field - both the turf and the skin or dirt area

Sources and Suppliers

Suppliers I've used and am satisfied with:
United Rentals and A Tool Shed.

Tips & Hints
  1. These are not toys, but they are fun to drive. Use hearing protectors.

  2. Always be aware of what's around you especially when working near a backstop. The roll bar over your head could hit the fencing.

  3. Be careful on slopes such as your bullpen mounds. Roll so you go up and down, not so you are at a slant sideways.

  4. Steam rollers include a vibrating option as well as just rolling something heavy over the ground. This option is quite effective, but noisy and makes it a little bit harder to make turns.

  5. Speaking of turns, these make a wide turn. You need lots of room for big sweeping turns.

  6. If you roll the grass edge to eliminate the smaller lip buildup, be sure to mark the sprinklers and not hit them. If the sprinklers are at least two inches below the surface, it is usually safe to roll right over them with no problem.

    If you think an aerator can mangle a sprinkler, you should see what a roller can do to it.

  7. Don't be afraid to do this. It's easy. And if your grass area is not damp, you can really tune up the turf area by rolling it. Test this first on a small area to be sure you're not sinking in.
  8. Check the depth of your base pegs. If they are above the dirt level (which is bad in the first place) don't roll over them.

  9. Most satisfying rolling job is done when you can drag the field, lightly hose down the dirt, let it set for the top crust to dry a bit, then roll it. Slowly drag two more times. Walla! Perfect infield skin.

Mistakes to avoid

  1. Number one mistake - rolling dirt or skin that is too moist. Some of the clay or dirt will cake to the roller and then every rotation of the drum will leave a big hole or dent in the ground instead of rolling it flat. So, look behind yourself occasionally to see how it is going. If some accumulates, stop, clean it off, and go over the bad areas.

  2. Number two mistake - getting stuck. On the field. The smaller rollers have very minimal clearance between the roller and the chassis. If dirt, clay, or other junk has accumulated there, the roller might start to run slower and slower and then freeze up and come to a complete stop. So, how do you get a 3 ton roller off the field that got stuck? You either push it yourself or get a 5 ton roller to push it off.

  3. Lesson learned from the above: if the steam roller starts going slow even at full throttle, get off the field and check if clay or something like road tar has accumulated and is jamming. Use a flat screw drive to clean it out and continue on.


rolled baseball field
every pro field is
rolled regularly - you
should try it on yours

rolling the first base line
rolling the first base line

rolled field
looks nice, doesn't it?
it was done with a
3 ton steam roller

lawn roller at work
lawn rollers at work
lawn roller at work

tilled material to roll
if you added tons of
new material and
tilled it in, you should
roll it to help it settle

rolled softball field
a softball field rolled
with a 5 ton roller

big 5 ton roller
the 5 ton version

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