Monday, April 21, 2014

A New Backstop for Crawfordsville High School

A quick post in regards to a new backstop at Crawfordsville baseball and softball.  The system is a cable stayed backstop with a shared center (tie back) pole.

Here are a couple "before" pictures from the baseball field:

Here are a couple "after" photos of both the baseball and softball field:

Here are a couple photos of the pole detail:

Note: the detail on the base and also the tie back eyelets.  When building a new backstop, always have the system engineered to withstand all weather conditions.  The major expense with the systems are the poles, once the are installed properly, they will last a lifetime.

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Preparing an Infield After a Rain Event

I get this question many times, "How do I prepare my infield after a rain event?"

The first step is to have a balanced infield mix profile that is laser graded.  Also, the correct depth of conditioner is important to take rain events effectively.

With that said, let me take you through the simple steps of getting an infield ready to play after a rain event.

The location is the new P&G Reds Urban Youth Academy in Cincinnati, OH.  The infield mix is a "hybrid mix."  The mix consists of 3 inches of Alvis Materials infield mix with 24 tons of FieldSaver50 and 24 tons of Dura Edge Classic from Natural Sand Company blended throughout the 4 inch profile.  Finally, the infield is conditioned with 120 bags (3 tons) of Turface Hertiage Red Calcined Clay.

First step - nail drag the infield to a depth of 1/4 inch using the VibraFlex on the ABI Force.

 Infield Prior to Nail Dragging

First Couple Passes 

ABI Force 


Note: the depth is approx. 1/4 inch.  The goal is to break the surface tension and allow the conditioner to work.  DO NOT rip the infield up at depths exceeding 1/2 inch.  Using the simple "key test" is a great way for staff and volunteers to monitor depth of nail dragging.

Within 30 minutes the infield is starting to dry and the conditioner is ready for a finish drag.

The infield after a finish mat drag - ready for play within an hour of  beginning the process with little to no disruption to the infield surface.  Note - not one bag of calcined clay or a drying agent was used to get this field ready to play.

Bottom line - if the correct materials are installed and managed correctly, infields can take rain events and be ready for play without the need for a tremendous amount of drying agents, etc.

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Repairing Mound and Plate Areas - Cleaning All Conditioner Prior to Repairing

Regular repairing of mound and plate areas take time and attention to detail to maintain high quality surfaces.

After raking the area, the next step is to remove all the loose material and the topdressing.

Below are a couple photos I took this past week in Columbus, OH at Huntington Park.

Note: The areas are extremely firm and all the loose material has been removed.  Next step, water and add new clay.

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Should I Apply a Pre-Emergent Product to My Athletic Field?

The short answer is typically yes.  With that in mind, take inventory of the condition of your playing surfaces before making blanket applications.  For example, please see the photo below.  Should pre-emergent products be applied to this surface?

The short answer is NO!  This field needs to be overseeded this spring to achieve 100% cover for the fall football season.  A late spring application of a liquid pre-emergent could be applied after the seed has germinated and acceptable cover is achieved.

Click HERE to see information on when to apply pre-emergent
Click HERE to learn more about pre-emergent products from the Purdue University Turfgrass Department.

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tall Fescue for Athletic Fields?

The photos above are from a baseball infield that was sodded with tall fescue a couple of years ago.  The complaint, the turf is too bumpy, and our guys are scared to field a ground ball.  Why is this?  Click HERE to see a link from Purdue that explains why Turf Type Tall Fescue is not typically a good choice for athletic fields in Indiana.

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Infield Drainage for Baseball and Softball Fields Along the Back Arc

Infield drainage is typically a topic for discussion anytime I give a presentation on infield mixes, grades, etc.  So, when the J&D Turf team was tasked to remedy an infield drainage issue at University of Indianapolis, Tom Mahaney and Steve Berg chronicled their work with photos.

Before we get to the photos,  lets lay out a couple of items in regards to infield drainage:

  1. Do NOT install drain tiles under the infield mix.  The infield mix should be engineered and maintained to eliminate downward movement (percolation) of water.  All water during rain events should run off the infield.
  2. Due to item #1, positive surface drainage must be achieved on ALL infields.  For baseball and softball, surface drainage should be between .5% and 1%.  Keep in mind, if a softball field does not have sod in front of dugouts, surface drainage should be NO MORE than .5%.  Does your infield conditioner run off your infield?  Chances are, the infield has surface drainage exceeding the limits listed above.
  3. Purchase and manage a good infield mix.  Be careful when purchasing infield mix!  To learn more about infield mixes, click HERE and HERE.
So, lets explain what the existing conditioners were at Baumgartner Field at University of Indianapolis:

  1. Native soil.
  2. Due to existing topography, the grade falls from the RF foul pole to the 3rd base dugout.
  3. Bluegrass/Ryegrass surface
  4. Infield Mix - Dura Edge Classic 
  5. Conditioner - Diamond Pro Professional Calcined Clay
  6. Mound Clay - Dura Pitch Mound Clay 
  7. During rain events, water would run from RF under the tarp and become trapped.
The solution:

Install a six inch wide trench:

Next, installation of a 4 inch perforated drain tile and 6 inches of USGA drainage gravel.

Then, installation of 6 inches of USGA rootzone sand all the way to the surface.  Then the existing sod was re-installed.  DO NOT seal off drain tiles by placing native soil over drainage gravel.

Finally, an edger was used to run across the trench/slit and expose 3 inches of the sand.  The bluegrass will grow into the sand.

The location of the drain tile while the tarp is on the field.

Lastly, the field ready for play the day after installation.

Mission accomplished!

Best of luck to the Lady Greyhounds as they begin the road to the D-II College World Series.

Click HERE to learn more about Dura Edge Classic and Dura Pitch Mound Clay.
Click HERE to learn more about Diamond Pro Professional Calcined Clay.

Click HERE to learn more about UIndy softball

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Platinum TE Paspalum at Marlins Park

The SmartTurf blog visited Marlins Park last year.  At that time only the infield and the foul areas consisted of paspalum.  The outfield was 419 bermudagrass.  In February of this year, the outfield was converted to paspalum.

HERE is an article about the conversion from Joelle Harms in Athletic Turf Magazine.

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!