Wednesday, June 22, 2016

#LifeOnTheRoad - Batting Cage Landscape

This is another post in a periodic series entitled #LifeOnTheRoad.  The background is simple. During my travels I encounter many grounds managers/coaches doing great things.  Because of this, I have started this series.  The goal - expose more grounds managers, coaches, architects, etc to areas of facility and sports turf maintenance that may be implemented into their facility/design.
  
In this post of the #LifeOnTheRoad series we travel to Frankfort Youth Baseball.  A simple installation of arborvitae takes a simple batting cage and makes it more visually appealing while also creating a future "batters eye".  Simple and cost effective.


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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer
 

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Tale of Two Walk-Ups - Warning Track Design

Walk-ups for baseball and softball fields are often a good option to manage traffic while also allowing for grass in foul territory (softball).  This is sometimes necessary to manage surface drainage/grades.

Let’s look at two walk-ups.  First, the softball field at Ohio Northern University.  As you can see these walk-ups are the same width from the warning track to the plate, so the on-deck circle is off the walk-up.






The next example is at the MLB/P&G Cincinnati Reds Urban Youth Academy.  In this example, the walk-ups are flared out as you get closer to the track.  This allows for the on-deck circles to be on the walk-ups. 





Also, you can see this early season photo also illustrates how walk-ups can aid in surface drainage.

Which is the best option?  That’s a field manager’s decision.  I personally like the flared walk-up which allows for space for the on-deck circle.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Great Mixture to Keep Weeds Out of Infields and Warning Tracks

With summer now upon us, many high school playing surfaces are winding down from spring play, now crabgrass, goosegrass, and other unwanted growth will appear. 
 


How do you control this issue?  See below:

A simple mixture of Glyphosate in a 2% solution and SureGuard at 3 teaspoons per 1000 sq ft. So, in a 3 gallon spray hand can, 7.68 ounces of Glyphosate and 9 teaspoons of SureGuard. The tank will cover 3,000 sq ft. How well does it work? The photos below are from the warning track at Brebeuf High School. The track was sprayed in March.




Note the weeds along the track edge. This is due to the application. As many of you know, Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill anything it touches. So, be careful along all grass edges. Finally, to get better control, try not the work the infield/track up as this will break the Sureguard barrier.

To learn more about Glyphosate, click HERE.

To learn more about Sureguard, click HERE.

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

Play on!
--Jamie

Monday, May 23, 2016

Backstop Wall Drainage - Channel Drains

Back to the topic of drainage.  In this post, we look at drainage along a backstop wall.  Often, a new brick or solid surface wall is constructed with little to no consideration to drainage.  Obviously, a solid wall will need drainage to move water.  A french drain can be installed, but I prefer not to have gravel on the surface of a warning track or full infield softball surface as illustrated below.


The best option is a channel drain.

Let’s go the the MLB/P&G Cincinnati Reds Urban Youth Academy.  The complex constructed in fall 2013 and opened in spring 2014.  The goal of the installation was to ensure water moved off the warning track.  Channel drains were installed and tied into the drainage from the wall.  Finally a heel proof cover was added.  Problem solved!  To be clear, the drainage supplier was requiring that the drain be installed with 4 inches of concrete on both sides of the drain in the event of a vehicle driving over the drain.  Needless to say, this was removed due to the fact that you cannot drive over the drain.  No issues after 2+ years of play/maintenance.










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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

#LifeOnTheRoad - Drainage Along Concrete Surfaces

Many times during my travels I am asked, “What is the best way to drain water from hard surfaces?”

Well, let me illustrate a way to drain water, and a way to collect water.

First, let’s look at a bleacher pad next to a youth football field.  Concrete installers are famous for ensuring “their” concrete is at the highest elevation.  No matter that it will/could back up water from the 1.5% crown.

In this example, a french drain was installed and tied into a storm structure.  Finally the line was backfilled with washed stone.  Problem solved.





The second example was at the youth baseball field at the same complex.  Currently a french drain has not been installed, you can clearly see the results of the concrete installation.



Bottom line, when installing concrete, be sure to allow/account for drainage.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer



Thursday, May 12, 2016

UPDATED: Infield Mixes: What Makes Up A Mix?




For years, building and maintaining baseball/softball infields was considered an art. What one groundskeeper thought was a great infield, another thought it was a poor infield. 

The process was subjective and creative. How many times have you heard, “I’m looking for some black dirt.” Or, “I’m looking for some red clay.” Times are changing and the tide is turning to science. Why?

Simply stated, when the process is a science, soils are tested and results can be predictable, and replicable.

Three components of good infield mix:
  1. The deepest part of the profile is a compacted native soil sub base that is 3-6 inches below the surface.
  2. The infield mix exists. The mix is the “meat” of the infield. The material is usually engineered, imported, compacted firmly, and has surface drainage.
  3. 3.1/8-1/4 inch of topdressing rests on the surface much like mulch.
Infield mixes have three components: sand, silt, and clay. 

Sand, the largest soil particle, provides the structural integrity of the infield. The targeted range is 58-75% and over 50% of the sand should be retained on the medium sieve.
 

Silt, the second largest soil particle, acts as a bridge between the sand and the clay. 10-35% is the acceptable range.
 

Clay, the smallest soil particle, provides the color of the mix and retains moisture. 15-35% is the acceptable range.
 

The take home message on silt/clay is that the ratio of silt/clay should NEVER be higher than 1:1.

So, what makes a good mix? Three important factors: traction, playability, and consistency.
 

A mix should provide consistent traction, the ability for athletes to play the game without sliding/slipping around the infield. The infield should play consistently in a variety of weather conditions.
 

How many time have you heard, “I hope it doesn’t rain, we will be shut down for 3 days!”
 

When all the characteristics are achieved, the infield is considered a “balanced soil.”


Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer 




















Download the printable Smart Turf sheet - Infield Mixes: What Makes Up a Mix?

The original post can be viewed here. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

#LifeOnTheRoad - University of Indianapolis Tarp Storage

This is another post in a periodic series entitled #LifeOnTheRoad.  The background is simple. During my travels I encounter many grounds managers/coaches doing great things.  Because of this, I have started this series.  The goal - expose more grounds managers, coaches, architects, etc to areas of facility and sports turf maintenance that may be implemented to their facility/design.

Today we head to the softball facility at University of Indianapolis.   This design allows for tarp storage to be off the playing surface to create a safer playing surface


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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer