New Year's Eve gives me a prime opportunity to reflect on 2011 and look forward to new projects and opportunities in 2012. On behalf of the entire crew at J&D Turf, I thank our clients, vendors, partners and friends who helped make 2011 such a success.
I spent Christmas morning in my hometown of Jasper, IN. So, a morning walk led me to some old stomping grounds, Ruxer Field. Ruxer Field is home to the Jasper High School baseball program. Jasper has won 5 ISHAA baseball state titles. Ruxer Field has a capacity of 2,200 and hosts ISHAA tournaments on an annual basis. The surface is a blend of bermuda grass overseeded with ryegrass and tall fescue.
Another facility is the Jasper Baseball Fieldhouse. The fieldhouse, located down the right field line, has indoor batting cages, locker rooms, restrooms, and equipment storage.
To learn more about Jasper High School, click HERE.
The SmartTurf Blog is wrapping up the growing season as winter is setting in across the Midwest. From time to time I will post on projects from the past year and other topical information, but the goal with the blog over the next 3 months will be a focus on education. I will write pieces on the blog as well as sharing sites with additional information on maintaining and constructing athletic fields.
The first item in this series relates to infield maintenance. I published an article in Sports Field Management Magazine in September of this year. Click HERE to see the article.
Last week, I stopped by Purdue University to take a look at the new baseball field. Alexander Field will be the new home of the Boilers. The sod was shipped in from Tuckahoe in New Jersey and the infield mix is Dura Edge Pro from Natural Sand Company.
Here are a couple of photos
Look for additional posts on this project in 2012!
The sodding project at Bob Warn Field at ISU was completed last week. Here are a few photos:
As you can see, the decision to use "standard" small roll sod was made at the last minute. Why? Recent, persistent rains after the native soil rootzone was laser graded provided a surface that was prone to possible damage from the larger equipment necessary for "big roll" sod. Furthermore, the installation of "standard" cut sod was one day quicker than the "big roll" option. Needless to say, the sod was installed right before another rain.
The future plan: A starter fertilizer was applied and the sod was rolled with a 1 1/2 ton duel drum roller. The field will be topdressed with 50 tons of USGA rootzone sand. Opening Day - March 6, 2012.
A quick note this morning. I wanted to pass along a new website that many of you may find useful. Advanced Turf Solutions (ATS) launched a new website early this week.
The site is full of product info for not only sports turf, but also lawn care and golf products. Finally, there is a blog on the site as well. While the SmartTurf blog is all things sports turf, the Around the Turf Scene blog consists of all things sports turf, lawn care, and golf.
To see the new ATS website, click HERE.
To see the new ATS blog, click HERE.
My travels this week to me the west side of Indiana. Here is a brief recap:
The J&D Turf crew is re-sodding the outfield at Indiana State. The infield is a FieldTurf surface. In the past 2 weeks, the existing sod in the outfield was removed with a Koro, the rootzone was laser graded and prepared for sod. Sod will be installed Nov 18-19.
The next stop was at Rose Hulman. I snapped a photo of the football field and the practice soccer field. Both surfaces are patriot bermuda grass overseeded with ryegrass. The fields are in great shape, as the topdressing of sand over the years have created a nice sand capped playing surface.
Finally, a stop at DePauw. First stop, Blackstock Stadium. This past weekend DePauw hosted the Monon Bell Game. Here are a couple of photos of the bluegrass/ryegrass surface.
Finally, a couple of photos from the bermudagrass surface at DePauw. Once again, the surface is in great shape after a season of field hockey and practice football. The patriot bermuda grass has been overseeded with ryegrass and topdressed with USGA rootzone sand. A nice sand cap is being constructed.
I stopped by Ross-Ade Stadium on the campus of Purdue University this week. I wanted to share a quick photo. Below is a photo of the playing surface. The bermudagrass surface has been overseeded with ryegrass. The field looks great and will be ready for the Buckeyes tomorrow.
To learn more about Ross-Ade Stadium, click HERE.
To learn more about Purdue Football, click HERE.
The short answer - YES you need to till/blec new infield mix into the existing mix. Why? The laying of the two material will cause an interface that will cause poor conditions when the infield is saturated. Here are two photos:
An infield that was not tilled.....
This photo was taken from an infield in Ohio this past week. The superintendent said, "The infield played well until this spring, now it is our worst infield!" As you can see, there is a layer in the profile. Keep in mind, blending infield mix with a harley rake WILL NOT work to properly blend a profile.
An infield that has been tilled.....
This photo is from 5/3 Field in Dayton, OH. This is a great shot due to the fact that there is no layering present, and it also shows the sand below the infield mix. This is common on sand based baseball fields.
So, how do you add new infield mix to an existing infield? Follow the link HERE to find out.
Can a bermudagrass surface be successful in Indiana in late Oct? See the photos below from DePauw University yesterday. The field was overseeded in early Sept with 20 lbs of ryegrass per 1000 sq ft. The field has had over 75 events since Aug 15.
A quick photo from a cool season turf field after less that 50 events.
To follow the entire process this summer, go to the JUNE, JULY, and AUGUST posts.
The first phase of the sodding project at Victory Field was completed yesterday. The sod, from Tuckahoe Turf Farms was delivered and installed on the infield and the foul territory areas. During the sodding process, a John Deere 1200A bunker rake was used to elimate any footprints/tracks in the sod. The sod was then rolled and hand watered. Below is a photo journal of the process.
The sod arrives in Indianapolis.
The first roll is installed......
The process continues and is completed.......
On Monday, additional Dura Edge Pro infield mix from the Natural Sand Company will be added to the infield and the baselines. The material will be blended with a Blecavator, rolled and laser graded. Look for photos of that process on Tuesday.
To learn more about Tuckahoe Turf Farms, click HERE.
I will take a break from the baseball field renovations for a day and focus on wet football/soccer fields. The Indianapolis area has received over 2 inches of rain in the past 48 hours. Needless to say, the local football fields will be wet this weekend.
So, I wanted to post a link to a great sand cap article/research project that was concluded and published at Michigan State University in 2010
Click HERE for the link on sand-capped football/softball fields.
One researcher once told me, "The research in out there to address many athletic field issues, the decision makers must review it and put it to action."
Below are two photos from Speedway High School taken today. This field has been under a annual aerification, overseeding and topdressing program. As you can see, there is some wear through the middle of the field, but after over 20 games, it is in pretty good shape for $5,500 a year of maintenance.
The renovation of 5/3 Field in Dayton, OH has begun and is in full swing. J&D Turf is partnering with Nolan Thomas and Co. on this renovation project. The 12 year old sand cap field is scheduled for the following:
1. Removing of all the existing rootzone.
2. Installing new irrigation
3. Scoping all the drain lines to check for breaks
4. Installing 8 inches of new rootzone
5. Sodding the playing surface
The field is being renovated due to extreme annual bluegrass contamination and slow/poor drainage.
Here are a few photos from today.
The temporary ramp to handle the truck traffic:
The final pile of the "old" rootzone and a photo of the load out of the rootzone:
Look for more posts on this project in the future........
The renovation of Victory Field is arriving to a point of sodding later this week. All the heads and swing joints were located via GPS before the project began. Here is a photo of the swing joint after the renovation.
Next, a photo after a new head is installed.
Look for more photos of this project this week, as sod will be installed by the end of the week. Also, I will have an update from the work in Dayton tomorrow.
Co-founder and partner of J&D Turf. A sportsturf junkie, I cut my teeth at Victory Field with the Indianapolis Indians maintaining the playing surface at what has been dubbed "The Best Minor League Ballpark in America." From intern, to assistant to head groundskeeper over 10 seasons, I was director of operations for the team before realizing sportsturf was my passion, baseball was merely the game.
My bachelor’s degree in sports management from Marian University and a degree in turfgrass science from Purdue University serve as the initial credibility with clients ranging from university to K-12 administrators, parks and rec officials, and maintenance crews to my friends with their own fields in the Major Leagues.
The "Smart Turf" blog is my way of sharing my experiences as consultant, groundskeeper and business owner with the larger sportsturf community. There was a day early in my career that I'd joke that I live to make tall grass short. Given the expanding horizon of this profession over the last decade, I've come to realize and respect it as much more.