Sunday, March 14, 2010

Infield Mixes, Vol 11: In-Season Maintenance

Before undertaking in-season maintenance on your infield surface, make sure to review these blog posts:
Provided that the steps laid out in the previous 10 volumes were executed, the in-season maintenance of the infield surface is relatively simple and straight forward. Every day the field is in use the following steps should be followed:

  • Tire roll all position areas and areas around the bases
  • Lightly nail drag the infield – no more that ¼ inch deep
  • Hand rake all the edges using a landscape rake
  • Mat drag the infield
  • Water the infield
  • Hand rake all position areas and around bases using a landscape rake
  • Mat drag infield
  • Hand rake all the edges using a landscape rake
  • Lightly roll infield
  • Water infield to the point of standing water to ensure adequate deep moisture – this should be the heaviest water application of the day
Misc. Tasks During the Season
  • Add conditioner as needed to ensure the 1/8-1/4 inch depth
  • Edge infield
  • Float conditioner as necessary
  • Add infield mix as necessary – follow the same steps as laid out in Volume 7
What else do you do to your infield in-season?

Play on!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Infield Mixes, Vol 10: Pre-Season Maintenance

It’s that time again in Indiana. The college baseball season is beginning and the high school season is ready to begin March 15. So, what a better time to talk about pre-season maintenance for your infield!

When it comes to infields, I always recommend double checking the distances of your bases. Here is link for field dimensions. Did you know it is 90 ft from the apex of home plate to the back of first base? After checking dimensions, edge your infield. Next roll your infield, and your entire field for that matter, with a 3 ton dual drum roller to settle any frost heave from the harsh winter weather. After rolling, adjust your topdressing to achieve the desired 1/8-1/4 in layer. Please see Volume 6 of the series, Topdressings for more information on topdressings. Finally, mat drag your infield to create a smooth surface.

If you have been maintaining your infield properly, pre-season maintenance is easy in this very busy time. That is why I always recommend completing all renovations in the fall. If you need to do renovations in the spring, please see Volume 7 of this series, Adding New Material to Existing Material.

Play on!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Infield Mixes, Vol 9: “Lip” Controls for Infields

One of the questions I receive during my travels is: “How do I control the “lips” around the infield?”

To answer that question, we need to investigate what a lip is. A lip is a raise in elevation around the edges of the infield. A lip causes bad hops for infielders and also creates a trip hazard for athletes.

The first step is to decide if your field has a lip or a dam. Why is that? I have seen just as many fields that where too low from a lack of infield mix than fields that had bad lips. Please review Volumes 4 and 5 of the SmartTurf Blog for more infield drainage information.

Now that the decision is made that lips are present, how did they occur? Typically a few factors cause lips:
1. Edging did not occur frequently. – Please refer to Vol. 8
2. Material was not removed from the turf after games – using either leaf rakes or vacuum units
3. Poor dragging techniques – Please see correct dragging patterns here.
4. Raking material into the turf
5. Persistence use of a field tarp – dragging the tarp across the field with push material into the edges

So, how do you repair lips? There are a few options depending on how severe the lips are on your field. I will break it down from small lips to large lips:
1. Simply edge your infield more frequently. Quite simply, this will help solve a minor problem
2. Use a tine rake or broom to remove material from the turf
3. Use water to “blast” the material from the turf back into the infield
4. The last resort – take a sod cutter, trim the sod back, remove the material with a rake and replace the sod

With the sod option, keep in mind if you have older sod or fescue sod, the sod may not hold together as you move the turf around. There may be a need to replace the sod with new turf.

After repairing your lips, work hard to avoid creating lips in the future!

Play on!