Thursday, January 29, 2015

Baseball and Softball Infield Drainage - Do’s and Dont’s - Architect Blueprint

We have discussed infield mix drainage in past posts of the SmartTurf Blog.

Today, I wanted to share a photo from an unnamed architect that shows a cross section of infield mix drainage on a plan approved for construction.


Will this work?  Of course not.  Yet another reason why synthetic turf infields are becoming more popular for baseball infields.  If natural soil/engineered soil infields cannot be designed properly, they are doomed to fail.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Monday, January 26, 2015

Seven Different Rootzone Options for Athletic Fields


I was visiting with a school board member of a very large school district a couple weeks ago and he made a statement that was very concerning.  His statement - “I thought our only option for our football field was what we have (native soil) or synthetic.  I didn’t realize there are different options.”

My first thought - that is very concerning.  What are we doing as a green industry?  Where are the advocates for natural grass?  My second thought - explain the options for rootzones of athletic fields.

So, here we go - 7 Different Rootzone Options for Athletic Fields

  1. Native Soil - This is the rootzone composition of most high school/recreational playing surfaces.  A native soil rootzone is simply using the soil that is on site, grading the material to a certain grade and establishing natural grass.  This is the most cost effective method, but also often times is poorly draining and prone to compaction.  How can you determine the composition of your native soil?  How quickly will it drain?  Simply pull 2 different sample for testing. First - An  Undisturbed Core Sample. Second - A Topsoil Quality TestBoth tests are critical to determine the composition of the native soil, percent of surface grade and assist in determining the possibly of the next rootzone......
  2. Modified Native Soil - This rootzone follows a similar path as listed in #1 except sand or organic matter is added.  How much?  What type?  Those questions are answered with the Undisturbed Core Sample and Topsoil Quality TestsJust add one load of sand and till it in?  Probably not.  Oftentimes, modifying a rootzone is more expensive then the next rootzone option.......
  3. Sand Cap/Cambridge - Otherwise known as The Spartan Sand Cap.  In this application subsurface drain lines are added and sand is aggressively topdressed across the playing surface - THIS WORKS!  A great “low cost” option for high school/recreational surfaces.
  4. Sand Cap Rootzone - This rootzone is simple as well.  A rootzone similar to a USGA rootzone, in regards to subsurface drain lines but the gravel layer is omitted.  At a six inch depth, this is the best “apple to apple comparison” to to a synthetic turf rootzone.
  5. USGA Rootzone - The “best” natural grass rootzone, this uses a gravel blanket along on top of drain lines with 10-12 inches of rootzone sand on top of the gravel.  This surface will drain in excess of 15 inches an hour.  Simply put, this is a “rainout proof” surface.  This is the rootzone used on most if not all high end athletic fields - ie - the ones you see on TV.  As the school board member stated - “I wondered how they played in a rainstrom without the field becoming muddy?”
  6. USGA - Stabilized - The “best of the best” for natural grass.  An example of this would be Xtragrass.  Using a stabilizing system in addition to a sand based rootzone, this system can take a similar amount of play as a synthetic surface without using crumb rubber
  7. Gravel - Synthetic Turf Base - This option is for synthetic turf only.  The rootzone consists of subsurface drainage underneath a 6 inch gravel blanket.
So, there are many rootzone options.  It is concerning that oftentimes a sales rep will compare a non laser graded 25 year old native soil playing surface to a new synthetic field.  Of course the new synthetic field will look and drain better than a 25 year old playing surface!  One size does not fit all!  

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Midwest Regional Turfgrass Foundation - Indiana Green Expo - THIS WEEK

If you have not already made plans to attend, please consider attending the 2015 Indiana Green Expo at the Indiana Convention Center this week.  A great lineup of sports turf speakers are on the schedule.  Here is a schedule of events.

The Expo supports the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation (MRTF).

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Young Sports Turf Managers - Think Outside of the Box!


Just an observation.....  Most of the young sports turf managers coming out of school directly look for a position in professional and/or college athletics.  While those jobs are good jobs and come with perks, there are many other jobs in the industry.

City/Municipal positions and positions with school districts often pay as much or more than professional/college positions with better benefits, hours, etc.  Also, positions in sales and service/construction companies provide young professionals a wide range of experience at all levels of maintenance and expectations.

So, don’t be shy and expand your job opportunities/search.  You may just find a better and more rewarding position outside of the professional/collegiate ranks.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Do Youth Sports Teams Really Travel?


I took this photo of a map at a facility just east of the Mississippi.  This covers the past 24 months.  Do you think teams travel?  The short answer, yes.



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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Do I Need a Wall for My New Backstop Net?


Below is a photo from Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, IN.  As you can see, there is no backstop wall.  This could save $10,000 or more to a backstop renovation project.  Does a brick/block wall provide that much value?




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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Do You Use the Newest Cultivars?


As we enter 2015, I will take this month and next to focus on educational items and different thoughts from the Green Industry......

First, let’s take a look at cultivars of turfgrass.  

Like everything else in life, technology drives the world.  Why should it be different in the turfgrass world?  Are you using the best and latest turfgrass cultivars?

Here is a great photo taken this past fall.  The back arc of the infield was sodded using the latest Barenbrug HGT bluegrass blend.  The rest of the outfield - seeded in 1983.  Can you see the difference?  Do yourself a favor - use the best cultivars for your application.  After all, are you still listening to an 8-track tape on the way to the office?



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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer