Thursday, June 21, 2018

Brickdust for an Infield Mix?

Using crushed brick for an infield mix was a practice that was used across the Midwest for a number of years in the 1990 - 2005 window.  The J&D Turf team renovates at least 1-2 fields a year that have brick dust as an infield mix.

First, let's discuss crushed brick.  Brick dust is simply crushed brick.  So, the lack of sand/silt/clay make the material very mobile and dusty in dry weather.  Where did this material come from?  My guess is a number of things:

  1. The cost - in the housing boom crushed brick was easy to find at a low price point - that is not the case today
  2. The color - the bright red color was visually appealing
  3. Ease of installation - just throw if down on top of the existing material
So, what is the issue?  Simply, the material was initially used as a topdressing, but as load after load was installed through the years more than 2 inches of this material was installed.  This would not be unlike attempting to play on 2 inches of calcined or vitrified clay.  After a rain event, it is not uncommon to see a brick dust infield look like the one below:



As you can see from the photos, the high traffic areas (around the bases) are extremely low.  Material has been pushed to the edges from dragging and the ensure smooth edges.  So, what is the solution?  FieldSaver50.  Click HERE to see the blog link on renovating a brick dust infield.

In the future, brick dust has a use on warning tracks where more vertical drainage and a softer surface is desired.  The other question I get is, "Can I use it as a topdressing?"  My answer, no, there are other conditioners that will provide the red color without breaking down, turing into a powder, and staining unifroms.  The best product to achieve the look of brick dust, without breaking down is expanded shale/vitrified clay. 

Let's turn the page, and stop using brick dust as an infield mix.

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

--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hydrating/Watering an Infield Mix

Summer is quickly approaching and with that comes the need to correctly hydrate infield mix profiles.

Hydrating an infield is important during the playing season to keep the surface more forgiving for athletes sliding across the infield and ensure good ball roll.

Here is a photo journal of hydrating the infield mix at Butler University Baseball.

Initial watering - about 1/2 hour across the infield that is a "hybrid infield mix" of Melton and Natural Sand FS50 and Dura Edge Pro utilizing a 1 inch fire hose with a nozzle that applies water at 60 GPM.  NOTE: An engineered soil is needed to hydrate/water in this manner.





Note the footprint on the bottom of the photo below.  Even with all the water applied, you could still walk across the surface:


This process is ideal after practices and games to allow for hydration of the entire column of infield mix.  This type of watering is best done in late evening to allow for percolation overnight.  Then, lighter watering events can take place during the day.  Watering an infield before a practice or game will NOT be enough to hydrate an infield on a daily basis.

Finally, please keep in mind that water is the best way to create a forgiving infield.  DO NOT work the infield more than a 1/2 inch during the playing season.  this will disrupt the grade and could create unplayable surfaces after rain events.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Managing Traffic Around a Home Plate Area - Making a Plate Circle Larger

Baseball and softball seasons are in full swing.  Due to this, traffic around a home plate area can be an issue.  How to address this issue?  Consider making the home plate circle larger.  As a rule of thumb, I like to see the plate larger than the BP cage.  In other words, when the cage is on the field, all the players surrounding the cage are on the plate circle.  How is this accomplished?  Let's follow along below as the plate circle was expanded in Whiting a couple season ago.

The task, take a homeplate that had a 26 ft diameter and take it to a 32 ft diameter.  Also, raise the plate to ensure positive drainage while allowing the pitcher's rubber to be 10 inches above homeplate.    So, let's get to it......

First, the new diameter is measured and a line is painted in the turf.


Next, 4 inches of root zone sand was removed.


Then the plate was raised to allow for positive drainage.  Note the string lines set to make sure the plate is square with the pitchers rubber and the foul poles/bases.


4 inches of Dura Edge Collegiate infield mix was added to the perimeter of the plate.  Dura Pitch Mound Clay was installed in the batters boxes and catchers box.


The plate was then leveled with a board.  Positive drainage is ensured due to the laser leveling of home plate.


The plate was worked up and re-leveled with a bunker rake.


Finally, the plate was tire rolled and a finish drag was performed.



Not bad for a days work!

To learn more about Oil City Stadium in Whiting, click HERE.

Click HERE to learn more about DuraEdge products.

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

Play on!
--Jamie

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tricks of the Trade - Dugout Heaters


This year winter doesn't not want to loosen its grip. Due to this fact, many questions have been asked in regards to additional heaters in dugouts.  A trick of the trade used in many cold weather climates are heaters.  Many use propane “space heaters.”  While they do the trick, below is a nice example of a different type of heater in South Bend.  The South Bend Cubs have heaters mounted on the roofs of the dugouts.   A easy way to keep players and coaches warm during the cold spring months.



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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Growing Degree Day Tracker - A Great Tool for Application Timing

Spring has been slow to arrive across the Midwest.  A unpredictable spring with many ups and downs in the weather can make application timing challenging.  One way to determine application timing is by using growing degree days.

A grounds manager can track growing degree days (GDD), but the easiest way to follow the GDD progress is to use the Growing Degree Day Tracker  brought to you by the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation and Purdue Turfgrass.   This tool is a great way to assist you decision making on crabgrass control applications and many other applications of time sensitive products.



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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Monday, March 19, 2018

Grass Baselines for Baseball?

With spring arriving, also arriving is the wet midwest weather and the question of, "Should I Grass My Baselines?"  Here is a repost from an earlier blog posting in regards to grass baselines.

Does that really work?  I get that question all of the time.  So, I stopped by Dunker Field today to take a few photos.  J&D Turf applies fertilizer and chemicals to the field during the year.  We also laser grade the infield each fall.  Enough with the background info, lets get to the photos.  Keep in mind, this was after over 100 games and practices..........

First base and third base:



As you can see, the baselines are in great shape.  A couple things to remember with grass baselines:

1.  There will be maintenance to the lines.  Constant overseeding with ryegrass and allowing the runners to "cleat it in" is necessary weekly when there is play
2.  Don't be afraid to sod the area off of 3rd base.  As you can see from this photo, the area where the players lead off will be worn.  Just install a row or two of new sod each fall.  Sure beats trying to dry wet baselines!
3.  Finally, grass baselines work best when building a new field or when renovating and laser grading an existing field.  Click HERE to see a renovation that took place last summer at Martinsville High School.

So yes, grass baselines will perform well with the correct installation and maintenance plan.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Monday, March 5, 2018

Baseball and Softball Dugout Designs and Extra Items

In this final installment of dugout design and layouts, I am going to look at a few "extras" that can be placed in dugouts.

Reds Urban Youth Academy - Cincinnati, OH - dugout storage 

Huntington Park - Columbus, OH - lighting along the back wall 

University of Notre Dame Baseball - South Bend, IN - heaters on roof and helmet racks running the length of the dugout 


University of Notre Dame Softball - Notre Dame, IN - heaters on roof and doors leading to clubhouse

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer