Maintaining Artificial Baseball Turfs
Various physical, mental, and social activities can be found in recreation and parks departments to allow people to unplug from technology. Many people get outdoors and active through sports, interacting with each other and staying fit. As examples, baseball and softball come to mind.
Baseball Field Management
Keeping baseball fields in good condition requires regular inspections and maintenance throughout the season. It is the little things your crew does on a regular basis that will save you a lot of money in the long run in terms of labor and replacement costs. To keep your baseball fields looking good and safe, here are some tips.
Conduct Regular Inspections
Problems won’t be noticed if you don’t look for them. You can discover safety hazards and minor problems by scheduling regular field inspections.
Inspections should include:
- Conditions on the field
- Turf on the outfield
- Infield-outfield transition area
- Boxes for batters and pitches for pitchers
- The dugout
- Pedestrian routes
- Observation decks
- Facilities or containers for storage
Coaches and umpires should also receive a brief training about field safety. Identify warning signs and when they need to be reported. You should have as many eyes on the fields as possible.
A simple rinse may not be enough to remove dirt, debris, or stains from baseball artificial turfs or any field.
It is of paramount importance to treat stains as soon as possible, immediately if possible, whether it is a small stain, such as spilled juice, or a more heavily soiled stain, such as food from a cookout or paint from a project.
Once a stain has died or set in, it is much more difficult to get out. You can clean a dry stain by lifting it out with a knife or scraper, then using a mild cleaner. There are a number of excellent options, including green cleaners (which are free of chemical abrasives), diluted ammonia mixtures, and diluted detergents.
A sponge dampened with your chosen cleaner can be used to blot the dirty area. The stain can be removed by rubbing it gently, then rinsing it with cold, clean water until it lifts. Most stains should be removed with this method. Keep your artificial grass looking its best by avoiding caustic, acidic, and bleach-containing cleaners.
Do a Soil Test
Make sure you don’t make assumptions or guesses about the needs of your soil. I don’t see the point in wasting money and time on that.
Your turf’s health can be determined by an annual soil test. Adding the recommended nutrients is the next step after getting the results. Throughout the baseball season, the soil additions keep the turf healthy, resilient, and strong.
Prevent and Identify “Lips”
Between the infield and outfield, baseball fields have raised lips. Regular usage, blowing, and improper drainage lead to the shifting of infield material.
The lip can be prevented from forming by sweeping or blowing the area daily. This is one of those small tasks that can greatly reduce your costs and time. The cost of repairing lips can reach thousands of dollars if debris must be removed by ripping out sod.
Rake & Drag Regularly
Be sure to maintain your playing field grade. When dragging fields, heavy vehicles like trucks or SUVs should not be used–only the right equipment should be used. Clean up the pitchers’ area and the home plate after use. Make sure low spots are filled in with loose material and tamped down. Click here to learn more about proper turf maintenance.
Seed Worn Spots
Spring and fall are good times to organize volunteer work days. Fix any issues on the field before play begins in the spring. The mound and plate should be rebuilt, holes in the infield skin should be filled, grass line cutouts should be edged, and thin grass areas should be seeded.
In the spring and fall, organized volunteer work days are a great way to engage your team in regular maintenance. Work list for post-game tasks: mounds/plates to be repaired, infield skin to be raked and dragged.
Maintain the baseball field at the end of the baseball season with a volunteer work day. Preventing a lot of work in the spring by performing proper maintenance throughout the year. Throughout the year, keep your field in good condition. It may actually be beneficial to the turf to have outfielders on it! Seed worn patches in the grass when your crew notices them. While the players are playing, their cleats will push the seed into place. Free labor is the best!
Strategically Schedule Games
It is important to give the turf time to recover between periods of heavy usage. You should schedule games and special events in a strategic manner if you have multiple fields available. Be in constant contact with the league scheduler and coach to know when games and practices are taking place.
The grade of wet fields is ruined, the soil is compacted, and the playing conditions are unsafe. In the event of heavy rains, a “show must go on” attitude could eventually result in unplayable conditions for a long time after the rains have passed. Determine when a game needs to be rescheduled because of weather or field conditions. Visit www.psu.edu to learn more about turf management.
Stay on Top of Inspections and Maintenance
Ground maintenance crews are most busy during baseball seasons. Things can easily slip through the cracks with everything going on. Baseball fields need to be maintained in order to stay safe and playable through the entire season, so parks & recreation departments have begun using maintenance scheduling software.