For anyone that has lived in the South for long, especially in the Atlanta area, you know how difficult the weather can be. With long, intense summers, it becomes difficult to maintain sports fields and keep them at their highest quality for the entirety of the summer. In no other place is this more obvious than baseball fields. Summer’s sweltering heat and short, intense summer rain showers can make maintaining baseball infields a nightmare. No matter the conditions, if you have the basics of how to care for your field, you could avoid a lot of these headaches and have a quality field year round. Here are a few care tips to keep your infield in good condition.
Proper Mix Install
Getting a high quality infield mix for the infield skin involves the right ratio of sand, silt and clay can mean the world. Because these mixes look to optimize the attributes of all their ingredients they are less likely to crack in high heat summer weather, less likely to flood or erode in the case of inclement weather. A proper infield mix is a must.
Like grass fields, infields need to be watered. Watering is the key to good ballfield dirt. If infield dirt is left without water it will dry, crack and in the case of heavy rain erode rather than drain. Hard unattended dirt can also be hard for players, sliding and running on the surface, leading to injuries. Good grounds crews water an infield daily, spray the field during the game, immediately after the game and again the next day. It’s important to remember that a good infield mix has clay which limits the amount of water that will make its way through to the soil below. Its important not to overwater the field and to cover the field in the case of a rain delay during games or when heavy rain is expected.
Raking and Dragging
Raking and dragging a field is a must to produce high quality infield playing conditions and long term durability of the field. Raking the field separates the infield soil and softens it. This also prepares the footing to properly absorb water when being maintained regularly. In many cases its safe practice to rake the field, apply a layer of top dressing as needed and re-water. Raking and dragging the field also helps fill any small voids preventing them from developing into cracks.
Maintaining an infield doesn’t have to be an expensive, stressful situation. If a field is maintained properly it should be a long term investment worth making. Caring for an infield properly will provide a healthy, enjoyable, high quality field all season long.