Wednesday, December 13, 2017

#LifeOnTheRoad - Infield Mix Drainage

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.

I visited a new construction recently and the owner was extremely proud that they were able to “push the infield drainage through the budget.”  What is the problem with this?




An engineered soil (in this case DuraEdge Classic) will not move water vertically to the drains.  These drains will not move any water.  What is the answer?  Install drainage off the back arc. 

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Sunday, November 26, 2017

#LifeOnTheRoad - Dugout Heaters

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’s #LifeOneTheRoad posts takes us to the University of Kansas Softball.  The facility at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park is second to none.  In the dugouts heaters were installed to keep the players warm on the cool spring and fall days.




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

Play on!
--Jamie

@JamieMehringer

Monday, November 6, 2017

A Tale of 2 Walk-ups

Walk-ups are common on both baseball and softball playing surfaces.  If the decision is made to install walk-ups, ensure the design will be tailored to the desired solution.  IE - Reduce/eliminate traffic stress in this high traffic area.  How is this accomplished?  Simple “flair” the walk-ups as they get further away from home plate.  Also ensure the walk-ups are wide enough to accept all traffic - both foot traffic and vehicle traffic.  Here are two examples:

#1 - Walk-ups too narrow.  Note the narrow width of the walk-up.





#2 - Walk-up in a “flair” design.  Note the lack of wear around walk-up.




Proper design will lessen or eliminate traffic stress.  Go to j-dturf.com to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Sunday, October 22, 2017

University of Kansas - Transition to a DuraEdge Surface

The J&D Turf team partnered with Midwest Laser Leveling to replace the infield surface at Arrocha Ballpark at Rock Chalk Park at the University of Kansas.  Let’s get into the details of the project.

The discussion of the infield surface began in March during an initial meeting with Frank Masterson, Director at Rock Chalk Park.  The existing infield surface was difficult to manage due to the combination of too much fine sand and a silt to clay ratio (SCR) of less than .5%.  The combination of these two items took the infield surface from too wet to too dry in quick order.  Bottom line, managing moisture was a challenge.  If too wet, the surface would play “spongy”.  If too dry, the surface would “chip” aggressively and then become extremely firm.  Finally, there was a bit or erosion present along the infield mix/synthetic turf edge.






The solution - remove the existing mix and install 4 inches of Dura Edge Professional. Martin Lane, with Midwest Laser Leveling, partnered with J&D Turf for the labor component of the project and provided service second to none.  The existing infield mix was removed and stockpiled for recycling in the parking lot.  The crushed stone sub base was laser graded and proof rolled to ensure proper base compaction.  DuraEdge Professional was installed, compacted and laser graded in two inch lifts using a conical laser.  Finally, Turface Calcined Clay Conditioner was added as a topdressing.






In conclusion, The sand/silt/clay ratios of the material along with the sand sizing will provide the KU maintenance staff a more user friendly surface to manage, both in wet and dry conditions. 

Thanks to Frank Masterson and his crew along with Martin Lane with Midwest Laser Leveling, this project was completed in 4 days and ready for play at the conclusion of the project.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Friday, September 22, 2017

Infield Mix Drainage - DO NOT PLACE TILES UNDER INFIELD MIX

There are many misconceptions in regards to infield mix drainage.  Below are a few basic points to infield mix construction and thus creating proper drainage:
With the three basic items listed above the infield will drain via surface drainage.  No movement of water will take place vertically.  Due to this fact, there is NO need for drainage under the infield mix.  With this said, this is what I witnessed last week.  This drain will not function properly and is a waste of money.


A solution?  Installation of the drain along the back arc in the turfgrass.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Aerification and Topdressing Sports Turf

We are entering the fall window to aerify and topdress cool season sports turf.  The SmartTurf team aerified and topdressed a soccer field this past week.  Here are a couple photos:



In this application, the goal is to create a sand cap similar to the research from Michigan State detailing the Spartan Sand Cap.

Will you be aerifying and topdressing your fields this fall?

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Thursday, August 17, 2017

How Do I Create a Sports Turf Divot Mix?

I get this question a number of times during my travels?  How do handle the bare areas on my field?  With fall sports beginning, let's look at how to create a divot mix.

This is a major problem on cool season athletic fields.  All it takes is a simple blend of 2-3 products.

First, place topsoil and if you have it available, peat on the grounds shop floor.



Next, add seed at a rate equal to the soil/peat blend.  Yes, I know this is a lot of seed, but being aggressive with seeding rates are critical in high traffic areas.



Blend all the materials together with a shovel and place in a bucket.



Finally, place in the bare area.  Using some type of aerification before seeding is the best approach.  In this case, a pitch fork provided the aerification.


Creating a seed bank in cool season athletic fields are critical to achieving 100% cover.  Don't be afraid to seed frequently.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer


Monday, August 14, 2017

Overseeding Cool Season Athletic Fields

The overseeding window for cool season sports turf is open for many across the Midwest.  Lack of overseeding athletic fields and overseeding at the incorrect rates can be major reasons why athletic fields fail.  HERE is a great article from Pat Sherratt at Ohio State University.  HERE is a link from an earlier post on the SmartTurf Blog regarding overseeding.


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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Thursday, July 13, 2017

How to Pull an Infield Mix Sample

Pulling an infield mix sample is critical to determining the best approach to adding new infield mix to an existing infield.  Pulling a sample is a relatively easy process, below are the steps.

#1 - Have a bucket and a shovel ready:


#2 - Push all conditioner to the side - do not include this material with the sample:


#3 - Pull 4-8 samples across the infield at a four inch depth - this is the depth that the infield will be tilled/blended.  Note in the photo below a clear layering of infield mixes is present:


#4 - Agitate the samples and fill 1/2 of a one gallon freezer bag.  Now you have your sample ready for testing:


Consistency in testing is critical for amending infields.  All of our samples go to Turf and Soil Diagnostics.

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

Play on!
-Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Infield Mix Drainage - Do Not Use Gravel as a French Drain!

At multi-field complexes, drainage along the backstops can be challenging due to elevations of the press box building and bleacher areas of a facility.  There are many ways to design/drain the facility. One way I would not recommend is using a stone "french" drain as is shown in the photo below:


This drain will move water.  The problem?  The stone will migrate into the infield.  Stone is already present on this infield before the facility hosted its first game.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Saturday, June 24, 2017

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

Saturday, June 17, 2017

#LifeOnTheRoad - Building an On-Site Sod Farm

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.


Many times, having an on site sod farm at a facility is a great idea.  A small amount of sod that is under a program similar to the playing surface will allow for quick in season repairs with sod that will be comparable to the existing turf on the field.  Here are a couple shot of the sod farm outside of Marlins Park:



The sod farm is fully irrigated and on the same fertility program as the playing surface.  It is also maintained at the same cutting height.  There are two types of sod due to the fact that both 419 bermudagrass and paspalum are grown at Marlins Park.

Here is a photo of the sod farm at Parkview Field, home of the Ft Wayne TinCaps.  Although it is smaller in area, it serves the same purpose as the farm in Miami.



Is an on site sod farm a fit at your facility?

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Windscreen - Measure Correctly for a Proper Fit

During my travels I visit a number of fields that have windscreen that is not properly measured to fit the fence.  Below are two examples - one incorrectly measured and one correctly measured.

In the first example notice the windscreen and how the material is too long for the fence.  This results in the windscreen touching the turf.  This not only looks poor, but also will be a candidate to be hit with a mower or string trimmer.


In the second example notice the room at both the top and bottom of the windscreen.  This allows for the windscreen to stretched tight while also allowing clearance for mowers and string trimmers.


Bottom line, properly measured and installed windscreen can really give a field a "professional look" while also providing a better background for the players and the umpires.

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Great Mixture to Keep Weeds and Unwanted Grass Out of Infields and Warning Tracks

With summer quickly approaching, many high school playing surfaces are winding down from spring play.  Crabgrass, goosegrass, and other unwanted growth will quickly 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
@JamieMehringer


Monday, May 15, 2017

Tall Fescue v Barenbrug HGT Bluegrass - A Tale of Two Fields

A site visit was made to two fields today.  First, a visit was made to a tall fescue football field.  Normal wear and tear caused divots/areas void of turf cover.  The grounds manager asked how much fertilizer would be needed to "fill it in."  This area will need to be overseeded due the the "bunch type" growth of tall fescue.  To learn more about why NOT to use tall fescue on athletic fields, click HERE.


The second visit was at a new Barenbrug HGT seeded football field.  Notice the areas that need to fill in.  This will completely fill over the next 30 days due to the Foliar Pak Grow-In product and the aggressive rhizome growth of the HGT bluegrass.  Stay tuned to the blog as we follow this field.  


Bottom line is bluegrass can be "pushed" to fill in laterally.  Tall fescue is a "one seed one plant".

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer


















Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Grass Baselines for Baseball?

With the wet spring across the Midwest many have asked about grass baselines.  Let's take a closer look.

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


Sunday, April 30, 2017

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Always Tarp the Mound and Plate Areas

Using tarps for mounds and plates are a critical maintenance practice.  Tarps will perform two main tasks.

1. Keep moisture off the mound and plate areas - Mound and plate areas consist of special soil that contains significantly more clay, thus keeping moisture off the areas are critical for performance. 



2. Keep moisture in the mound and plate areas - As important as keeping moisture off of mound and plate areas is keeping moisture in mound and plate areas.  Proper moisture management is key to mound and plate clay performing properly.  Keep tarps on mound and plate areas at all times when not in use.

#SmartTurf Tip - Use surveyor nails to keep tarps on the ground.


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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Replacing a Homeplate Without a Surveyor


The homeplate of a baseball/softball field is the point where all other points are based.  (foul poles, bases, pitching rubber, etc)  So, when the time comes to replace a plate, take special care to ensure that the new plate is square with the foul poles and the field alignment is not compromised. 

Let’s walk through a plate replacement.  
First, string lines are pulled from behind the old plate to the foul poles.  This is done before the old plate is removed:



Next, a laser is used to take elevations around homeplate.  I always like to have the homeplate slightly higher than the highest point in the turf.  This will ensure that water will not run back onto the plate during rain events:



A string line is also pulled from behind the apex of the plate, through the middle of the pitchers rubber and the middle of the anchor of 2nd base.  This is the third string to ensure proper alignment.  Keep in mind that when the elevation of the plate in changed, the pitching rubber elevation should be checked and adjusted if necessary:



Finally, carefully install mound clay around the plate making sure that the plate does not move:



To see how to renovate a plate on a budget, click HERE:

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

Play on!
--Jamie
@JamieMehringer