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chimmygew
05-08-2006, 06:07 PM
I am helping to get the softball fields in shape for our local softball association. The skinned area in the infield is mostly clay and is pretty hard. When it rains, it gets pretty muddy. What would you recommend to help loosen this area up and drain better. Keep in mind, we have a small budget and all labor is being donated. Any and all info and help is appreciated.

Rtom45
05-09-2006, 11:05 AM
There is a product on the market called Diamond Dry. There are also many variations of this product, but I don't know the names. Maybe the league could get a sponsor who will purchase this for you. They are basically fired clay particles which absorb water like a sponge, then release it gradually. There is no cost free quick fix that I know of. Maybe someone could donate a large tarp, just to cover the skinned part of the field. Or maybe you could build up the skinned area a little, with pitcher's "mound" being the high point, causing water to drain to the edges. I've been caring for ballfields for over 25 years, and I can't think of any no cost solution to your problem.

chimmygew
05-09-2006, 07:56 PM
If it were you, what would you do to help this field out?

SLSNursery
05-09-2006, 09:26 PM
Rtom is right - the product he is referring to is calcined clay, also known as field conditioner. I think that the cheapest and easiest way to improve the field would be to use a nail drag in order to loosen the hardened clay and incorporate the conditioner, maybe even follow up with a regular chain drag. You can make a nail drag - it is just what it sounds like - a board with spikes sticking out of it. If you can, make one so that you can stack a few cinder blocks on it for weight. The chain drag can be one made for fields, or, in a pinch, some chain link fence. Hopefully the little league or softball association, or park and rec has a trike or utility tractor to pull the drag. If not, use an atv. Once you drag the field use a landscape rake (I know where you can get the best available) to smooth the area out. Don't skimp on the conditioner, rates are shown on the bags. We sell a product call Red Diamond. You might find Turface or Profile, but the products are all similar.

Rtom45
05-10-2006, 07:58 AM
Given the information in your original post, I'd do 2 things. First I'd try to get a tarp, just to cover the skinned area. Second, I'd try to build up the infield from the middle out.
Pay attention to pregame prep and post game touch up - a nail drag is a great idea if you don't already have one.
Ballfield condition is a direct reflection on the amount of time put into their care.

chimmygew
05-10-2006, 01:07 PM
The softball association has a chain drag and a nail drag, so I'm good to go there. I have an ATV. Where can I get the calcined clay? Also, Do I nail drag, put on calcined clay then chain drag and rake? Is that the correct order? What about in the fall when the season is over?

Rtom45
05-11-2006, 10:47 AM
The method or order of events is not too important. The idea is to work the calcined clay into your existing material. A little now is better than none at all, and a lot at some point is a good thing. The supplier should be able to tell you the amount you need. You should also be able to find a supplier if you Google one of the brand names mentioned earlier.

chimmygew
05-11-2006, 05:45 PM
Thanks for all the help so far. Where would you guys suggest getting it? How much does it normally cost?

SLSNursery
05-12-2006, 07:34 AM
Your landscape supplier (seed and fertilizer) should have a product available. We sell 50# bags for about $13.00 +/- depending on the quantity purchased.

Field General
05-13-2006, 11:27 PM
I know of groups that have put down the Turface as evenly as possible.Then they will use a tiller mounted on a compact tractor the work the soil to about 2" deep. Dragging and leveling afterwards. It sounds a bit aggressive to me.
What do you think?

broske
05-14-2006, 10:19 AM
Lesco sells a product called pro choice it's about 10.00 or so dollars.

PurpHaze
05-16-2006, 09:37 PM
I'll agree with those who suggested a slight crown to the skinned area as the ultimate solution. This takes time, money (even topsoil aint cheap), equipment (we use a floating blade pulled via tractor). However, continued care to ensure that the fields stay groomed is also important.

chimmygew
05-17-2006, 11:47 AM
Where is the cheapest place to buy calcined clay?

MMLawn
05-22-2006, 09:27 PM
Where is the cheapest place to buy calcined clay?



The cheapest way is to buy it loose bulk by the dumptruck load as it will take several tons to do it correctly. We got ours out of Tenn. I just did a complete softball and baseball build for a private high school (I posted a few pics as we were working in the Pics forum) and I forget now how many tons we used but could look it up in the invoices for you as we have it broken down for each field. Seems like it was around $10,000.00 worth we used per infield......but like I say I forgot the exact amount, could have been more, I know it wasn't less. We also bought 2 pallets of the bagged conditioner for them to keep on hand ad repairs and fill in. I do know that my final bill (and we did everything as this was just 8 acres of grass when we started) was $75,000.00 and I gave them a deal because my daughter is a student there.