Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Creating a 2 Inch Cap of Dura Edge Classic


The creation of engineered soils have created many new opportunities to amend and manage infield surfaces.  One of the new opportunities is a 2 inch cap over an existing laser graded sub base.  How can a 2 inch cap be successful?  I thought infield mix has to be 4 inches or more in depth?  Simply stated, engineered soils use the correct proportions of sand/silt/clay to allow for the cap.  Think - a more engineered asphalt can be installed at a thinner depth than a gravel road.  DO NOT attempt a cap if the material is not engineered.

Below is a review of a 2 inch cap installation at Hamilton Heights High School.  This surface did not have infield mix added for the past 10 years, so it was 2 inches below finish grade.  

Let’s go through the steps:

First step - Laser grade the existing infield mix to ensure the sub base is a consistent 2 inches below finish grade.

Laser grading the 1st base sub base as the first load of Dura Edge Classic is added to the laser graded 3 rd base sub base

Second step - Add 100 tons of Dura Edge Classic

Third step - Laser grade the Dura Edge Classic and compact with a static 3 ton duel drum roller

Laser grading new Dura Edge Classic cap
Fourth step - Topdress the Dura Edge Classic with 3 tons of Diamond Pro Professional Calcined Clay


Fifth and final step - Finish drag


This project was completed in one day.  Keep in mind the long term maintenance cannot include any activity below 2 inches.  This is not a problem with engineered soils.  As a rule of thumb, less is more with engineered soils.  Less maintenance, less nail dragging, less rainouts, etc.  This surface will perform well and no additional infield mix will be needed for the next 3-5 years depending on maintenance, topdressing programs, etc.

Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Testing Your Mix - What Do the Results Mean? - SILT-TO-CLAY-RATIO


This is the fourth of 4 posts explaining in detail what each part of an infield mix test result includes and what it means to your infield.

Today we discuss silt to clay ratio (SCR).  SCR is a basic way to allow a ratio to better forecast how a material will perform.  How do you obtain a SCR?  Simply divide the silt into the clay.  A SCR for any infield mix at any level of play should fall within the .5 - 1 range.  Along with sand sizing of your infield material, the SCR or the material will determine how well the infield mix will play in all weather conditions.  Let’s look at 3 different types of SCR’s and how the infield perform.

Low SCR .1-.5 - A low SCR is common in mixes in Florida.  Since silt is the “bridge” that holds/binds the sand and clay together, low SCR infield have a tendency of “blowing apart” or separating during play.  If you are managing an infield that has large “chucks” of infield mix when the players are playing on the infield it is probably due to a low SCR.  

Balanced SCR .5-1.0 - A balanced SCR has slightly more clay than silt or equal part clay and silt.  Due to this, the infield is “balanced.”   Simply, this infield provides a surface that will allow for a cork board type feel while also allowing for “cleat in cleat out” play.



Elevated SCR Higher than 1.0 - An elevated SCR can lead to a number of different playability issues for infields.  A slightly elevated SCR (1.0-2.0) can often play well if managed properly.  When materials have a SCR above 2.0 issues set in.  Keep in mind a SCR at 2.0 means there are two times the amount of silt to clay in the material.  Infields with high SCR have a dust layer and on the surface and a hard pan underneath.  Is your infield very dusty when dragging?   Does your infield look like this after a rain event?  


If so you have a high SCR.  The infield will play “well” only for a short period of time.  Often end users think a high silt infield is very high in clay.  When they get the results back they a surprised to say the least!

As you can see a 70/30 infield mix can mean many different things.  Make sure to TEST THOSE INFIELD MIXES!

Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.  

Play on!

--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Monday, April 13, 2015

Testing Your Mix - What Do the Results Mean? - SILT AND CLAY


This is the third of 4 posts explaining in detail what each part of an infield mix test result includes and what does it mean to your infield.

Today we discuss silt and clay.  I prefer to explain these two materials together as they need to act in unison at the correct rates/ratios to allow for a properly performing infield at all levels of play.   Overall silt/clay content is any material in the .05 mm to below .002 mm range.  Let’s look at three aspects of silt/clay as all silt/clay is not created equal.

1.  Overall Silt/Clay Percentages - Recreational and high school play the acceptable range of overall silt/clay content is 25-30%.  Collegiate level of play the acceptable range of overall silt/clay content is 31-35%.  Professional level of play the acceptable range of overall silt/clay content is 38-42%.

2.  Silt Content Breakdown-When testing infield mixes, I prefer to spend the extra $15 and have the material tested via Hydrometer.  This type of testing provides a breakdown of the silt into a course and fine range.  Silt that falls into a more course range will act more like a fine sand.  Silt in the fine range will act more like a clay.  Typically the more course the silt the less stability under wet conditions.  

3.  Clay Content - Not all clay is created equal.  Clay is the mineral that provides the infield mix its color.  Do you manage a “red clay” material?  If so it is red due to iron oxide in the mineral.  Do you manage a “brown infield”?  It is due to the clay mineral being brown in color.  Clays expand and contract during wet and dry cycles.  The expansion and contraction cycle can “make or break” an infield mix.  That is why you can read different test results of mixes that contain similar clay percentages, but they perform differently during both wet and dry periods.  Its all about the mineral.

Below is a photo of an infield mix with elevated fine and very fine sand along with a large amount of course silt.  As you can see, this material has little to no structural stability.



In closing a little “eye test” of high silt infield mixes is that often a high silt infield mix will be light brown in color.  Almost khaki in color.  Also, high silt infield mixes will have a dust layer on the surface and be firm underneath.  Below is what can be present on high silt infield surfaces.  Note the wind erosion into the grass edges.



Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Testing Your Mix - What Do the Results Mean? - SAND


This is the second of 4 posts explaining in detail what each part of an infield mix test result includes and what does it mean to your infield.

Today we discuss sand.  This is typically the largest amount of material in an infield mix.  Overall sand content is any material in the 1 mm to .05 mm range.  Let’s look at two aspects of sand as all sand is not created equal.

  1. Overall Sand Content - Recreational and high school play the acceptable range of overall sand content is 70-75%.  Collegiate level of play the acceptable range of overall sand content is 65-70%.  Professional level of play the acceptable range of overall sand content is 50-60%.

Overall sand content can typically be found in acceptable ranges throughout the country.  In Florida, the harvested mixes typically have an elevated overall sand content. Often in the 80% range.  In the upper Midwest overall sand contents can be low.  Often in the 40-55% range.  Be careful when selecting material.  Always ask for a independent lab test of the infield mix, or better yet send out your own sample for testing.

  1. Medium Bodied Sand Content - The easiest way to explain this is the percentage of sand retained on the medium sieve or larger.  What does this mean?  Simply, if the medium bodied sand falls within the rages listed below, the infield mix has a greater chance of retaining structural stability under wet and dry conditions.   Recreational and high school play the acceptable range of medium sand content greater than 50%.  Collegiate level of play the acceptable range of medium sand content is 45-50%.  Professional level of play the acceptable range of medium sand content is 38-45%

Structural stability on wet infield


Often, infield mixes that are harvested/dredged out of river bottom areas have overall sand contents close to or in the accepted ranges, but have large amounts of fine and very fine sand.  Do you manage an infield mix that is “sandy” but becomes unstable under foot when wet and blows around when dry?  Like the photo below?  If so you probably have an infield mix that contains large amounts of fine and very fine sand. 

Infield material running off infield and blowing into edges

This is why testing your infield mix is important.  Is your lab providing a sand breakdown?  If not, the test is rendered unless because not all sand is created equal!

Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Testing Your Mix - What Do the Results Mean? - GRAVEL


This is the first of 4 posts explaining in detail what each part of an infield mix test result includes and what it means to your infield.

Today we discuss gravel.  This is typically the least amount of material in an infield mix.  Gravel is any material in the 12.5 mm to 2 mm range.  Gravel can typically range from smaller stones to even some sizes of conditioner.  As a rule of thumb, infield mixes should contain less than 3% 2 mm gravel.



Bottom line, infield mixes should be screened and no gravel should be present.

In the next post we will look at the overall sand content.

Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Monday, March 30, 2015

Test Your Infield Mix!


I have been very surprised during my travels this spring in the lack of grounds managers and coaches testing their infield mix.  In addition to this, I have seen numerous grounds managers adding material to infields that have not been tested.  We are in the 21st century! Testing is readily available and not that expensive.  An infield mix test will run anywhere between $100-$150 per test.  After all, buying and installing the incorrect material can greatly effect the playability of an infield. 



The leading lab for infield mix testing is Turf and Soils Diagnostics.  Depending on the type of test requested the results will provide gravel, sand, silt and clay percentages in a mix.  Also the silt to clay ratio (SCR) is reported.  Finally, a recommendation of materials to add to the existing infield is included.  I can’t stress enough, this is NOT a topsoil quality test or a basic nutrient test.  What does all this mean?

In future posts I will discuss some of the science behind an infield mix and why testing is important.  

Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Creating an In Season Divot Mix


I get this question a number of times during my travels?  How do handle the bare areas on my field?

This is a major problem on cool season athletic fields.  All it takes is a simple blend of 2-3 products.

First, place topsoil and if you have it available, peat on the grounds shop floor.



Next, add seed at a rate equal to the soil/peat blend.  Yes, I know this is a lot of seed, but being aggressive with seeding rates are critical in high traffic areas.



Blend all the materials together with a shovel and place in a bucket.



Finally, place in the bare area.  Using some type of aerification before seeding is the best approach.  In this case, a pitch fork provided the aerification.


Creating a seed bank in cool season athletic fields are critical to achieving 100% cover.  Don't be afraid to seed frequently.

Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer