Softball field help...

Discussion in 'Sports Field Management' started by chimmygew, May 8, 2006.

  1. chimmygew

    chimmygew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    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.
     
  2. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 456

    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.
     
  3. chimmygew

    chimmygew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    If it were you, what would you do to help this field out?
     
  4. SLSNursery

    SLSNursery LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 442

    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.
     
  5. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 456

    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.
     
  6. chimmygew

    chimmygew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    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?
     
  7. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 456

    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.
     
  8. chimmygew

    chimmygew LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 576

    Thanks for all the help so far. Where would you guys suggest getting it? How much does it normally cost?
     
  9. SLSNursery

    SLSNursery LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 442

    Your landscape supplier (seed and fertilizer) should have a product available. We sell 50# bags for about $13.00 +/- depending on the quantity purchased.
     
  10. Field General

    Field General LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    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?
     

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