Sunday, March 27, 2016

Growing Degree Day Tracker - What is the Correct Timing for My Crabgrass Pre-Emergent?

Exceptional spring warm is present across the Midwest.  Due to this, spring applications are weeks ahead of schedule.  A grounds manager can track growing degree days (GDD), but the easiest way to follow the GDD progress is to use the Growing Degree Day Tracker  brought to you by the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation and Purdue Turfgrass.   This tool is a great way to assist you decision making on crabgrass control applications and many other applications of time sensitive products.

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.

Play on!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Baseball and Softball Infield Mix Drainage

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, the team 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!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Tricks of the Trade - Clay Sticking to Tamp? - Wrap in Plastic

Do you have issues with mound clay and infield mix sticking to the bottom of your tamp?  If so, considering taping a plastic bag to the bottom of the tamp.  The following photos were taken while two separate tamps were wrapped at Indiana Tech University. 

Tamp #1

Tamp #2

Go to to learn more about J&D Turf.  

Play on!

Monday, March 7, 2016

UPDATE: Rolling Infields: When, Why, & How

Spring is slowly arriving. Many coaches are pushing to get on their infields as soon as possible. 

Regardless of the infield mix, the material will frost heave over the winter. So, you must roll your infield in the spring, ideally before you have any traffic on your infield. Now, the questions are when, why, and how? 


You will want to roll you infield when there is still moisture in the mix, but the mix is not too wet. When is this? When you can walk across the infield and you settle the frost heave, but there is no material sticking to the bottom of your shoes. Roll the conditioner and mix in multiple passes. 


Rolling accomplishes a couple of goals. First, it settles your infield so your mix will hold its grade and you will not have your conditioner/ topdressing migrate into your base material. Also, the infield mix will also be firmer. This will allow for the ball to play down and true from the beginning of the season. 


It is best to roll with a 3 ton duel drum roller (pictured above). If you can’t get a 3 ton roller, any roller is better than not rolling at all. 

Remember, roll your infield as often as possible with a small pull behind roller as well all spring until the weather moderates. 

Good luck to those groundskeepers and coaches looking to get their fields ready.  

Play on!

Infield Not Ready To Roll 

Infield Ready To Roll

Engineered Soil

Download the printable Smart Turf sheet - Rolling Infields: When, Why, & How

This post original post can be viewed here. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Updated: Which Calcined Clay Product Is Best For My Field

Calcined clay is typically a montmorillonite clay that is fired (calcined) at a temperature of 1500 degrees. At that time, the clay becomes a ceramic and is screened for processing and bagging.

The answer is in the details.  There are many suppliers of calcined clay products in the country. Pro’s Choice, Turface,  and Diamond Pro are the most popular.

Typically, the Professional/Select gradation will have over 80% of the material retained on the 16 screen. Drying Agent/Rapid Dry will have 80% pass through the 30 mesh.

Due to the fact that the Drying Agent/Rapid Dry gradation consists of a smaller particle size, it will cover the surface area of a puddle better and thus dry the wet area quicker. With that said, the smaller particle size will quickly be mixed/lost into the infield mix profile

Also, as a general rule of thumb, adding a smaller particle size to your infield mix profile can lead to a poorer performing infield mix over time.

The Professional/Select size of calcined clay will also dry a puddle or wet area very effectively.  Furthermore, the material has a better chance to stay on the surface after the rain event and continue to provide a topdressing. Always ensure that the correct depth of conditioner is present. 

For my money, I would stock only one product, that is the Professional/Select sized product to use after rain events. You get more bag for your buck. There is a reason why these products are used at the highest levels of play.

Play on!

Download the printable Smart Turf sheet: Which Calcined Clay Product Is Best For My Field?

View the original post here.

UPDATE: 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.
So, what makes a good mix? A good mix has many characteristics, but the most important ones include: traction, playability, and consistency. A mix should provide consistent traction, the ability for athletes to play the game without sliding/slipping around the infield. The infield should play consistently in a variety of weather conditions.
Infield mixes have three components, sand, silt, and clay. Sand, the largest soil particle, provides the structural integrity of the infield. The targeted range is 58-75% and over 50% of the sand should be retained on the medium sieve. Silt, the second largest soil particle, acts as a bridge between the sand and the clay. 10-35% is the acceptable range. Clay, the smallest soil particle, provides the color of the mix and retains moisture. 15-35% is the acceptable range. The take home message on silt/clay is that the ratio of silt/clay (SCR –more on that later) should NEVER be higher than 1:1.
How deep should the conditioner be on a given field? The answer depends on the level of play as well as the base soil.
For an infield that has a mix with a high silt to clay ratio (SCR - 2.5), approximately 1/4 inch of conditioner is the recommended depth for the surface. An infield with an engineered soil and a balanced silt to clay ratio (SCR - 1.0), should use a lesser amount of conditioner. Approximately 1/8 inch of conditioner is the recommended depth for the surface.
There are a few instances when a greater depth of conditioner should be considered:
  • Infield mixes with a high SCR
  • Difficulty in keeping moisture in an infield (recreational play)
  • Infield mixes with a great amount of fine and very fine sand
  • Infield mixes that tend to become too firm in dry weather
The goal is to create a top 1/4 inch that is managed to allow for cleat-in and cleat-out play.
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, nail drag the infield to a depth of 1/4 inch using the VibraFlex on the ABI Force.
Note: 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, is ready for play within an hour of beginning the process with little to no disruption to the infield surface. Not one bag of calcined clay or a drying agent was used to get this field ready to play.

The bottom line: If the right 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.

Play on!
Infield Prior to Nail Dragging

First Couple Passes

"Key Test"

Infield After a Finished Mat Drag

Downland the printable Smart Turf sheet: Preparing An Infield After A Rain Event

View the original post here.