Thursday, June 21, 2018

Brickdust for an Infield Mix?

Using crushed brick for an infield mix was a practice that was used across the Midwest for a number of years in the 1990 - 2005 window.  The J&D Turf team renovates at least 1-2 fields a year that have brick dust as an infield mix.

First, let's discuss crushed brick.  Brick dust is simply crushed brick.  So, the lack of sand/silt/clay make the material very mobile and dusty in dry weather.  Where did this material come from?  My guess is a number of things:

  1. The cost - in the housing boom crushed brick was easy to find at a low price point - that is not the case today
  2. The color - the bright red color was visually appealing
  3. Ease of installation - just throw if down on top of the existing material
So, what is the issue?  Simply, the material was initially used as a topdressing, but as load after load was installed through the years more than 2 inches of this material was installed.  This would not be unlike attempting to play on 2 inches of calcined or vitrified clay.  After a rain event, it is not uncommon to see a brick dust infield look like the one below:

As you can see from the photos, the high traffic areas (around the bases) are extremely low.  Material has been pushed to the edges from dragging and the ensure smooth edges.  So, what is the solution?  FieldSaver50.  Click HERE to see the blog link on renovating a brick dust infield.

In the future, brick dust has a use on warning tracks where more vertical drainage and a softer surface is desired.  The other question I get is, "Can I use it as a topdressing?"  My answer, no, there are other conditioners that will provide the red color without breaking down, turing into a powder, and staining unifroms.  The best product to achieve the look of brick dust, without breaking down is expanded shale/vitrified clay. 

Let's turn the page, and stop using brick dust as an infield mix.

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