Q: WHAT IS A STANDARD INFIELD MIX:
A: An Infield Mix is the soil blend of clay, silt, and sand that has been specifically designed to meet the environment, level of play, and budget. Combining a multitude of very specific soil amendments with an elite infield soil gives any field the professional look and feel that all groundskeepers, coaches, and players require.
Q: WHAT IS AN INFIELD CONDITIONER:
A: Infield conditioners are thermally optimized clay that can be used on the skinned areas of baseball and softball fields to improve drainage. We recommend amending this material into the playing surface of an infield at 20% by volume. The larger particle size increases the durability of the product.
Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CALCINED CLAY AND VITRIFIED CLAY / SHALE:
A: Calcined clay is a montmorillonite clay fired at 1500 degrees. Once this clay is a porous material it becomes very absorbent. Vitrified clay/shale is fired at over 2000 degrees. The product is very lightweight and extremely durable. This product will not absorb as much moisture as calcined clay. During rain events this material will shed water to the base material to rehydrate while ensuring the water runs off the infield.
Q: HOW DO I CHOOSE ONE INFIELD CONDITIONER OVER ANOTHER:
A: Vitrified clay/expanded shale is a great choice for a couple reasons. The expanded shale allows for moisture to be shed to the engineered soil to more quickly drain the rain event while also allowing moisture to re-hydrate the base material. This is a great benefit for recreational surfaces that only see moisture during rain events.
The weight of expanded shale (heavier than calcined clay) will allow the material to stay in place and lessen the chances of the topdressing “blowing around” the infield.
Expanded shale is produced and available in bulk at a reduced cost. Oftentimes the cost of bulk material is 1/2 the cost of bagged products.
Calcined clay will work day in and day out as a top dressing. If additional material is needed to dry a wet infield, the additional product will not only absorb water but also remain as a long-term topdressing.
Avoid using drying agents/ rapid dry. While the finest particle size will dry a wet area quicker, they will negatively effect your infield mix profile over time.
Q: WHAT ARE THE HIGH STRESS AREAS OF AN INFIELD:
A: High stress areas are the most commonly used portions of the infield. The batter’s boxes, catcher’s box, pitcher’s mound, and around the bases will be the highest stressed areas of any infield.
Q: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I NAIL-DRAG MY INFIELD:
A: Three reasons to drag your field.
1: When renovating your field. Here, you are looking at aggressively spiking your infield skin, perhaps to a depth approaching one inch, so you can either prep the skin for re-grading or are working some calcined clay deeper into the profile. This process can occur in the fall, or maybe prior to the season, or perhaps in-season when you have at least a few days prior to play to firm up the surface after you scarify it.
2: Following a rainy game. It’s highly beneficial to get a nail drag onto your infield skin as soon as you can. Remember that regardless of the exact ratio of sand, silt and clay in your infield mix, heavy rain will cause most of the finer sized particles to sink and the coarser sand to rise to the top. This does not leave your field unplayable, but it does diminish the quality of the surface. When the coarser sand particles dominate the upper profile of the infield skin, it tends to play a bit soft and cleats will move more loose material around. So after a rain event, as soon as you can get out there, nail drag…slowly…and the better off you will be going forward.
3: Game day. To execute a really good nail drag on a game day, the moisture content of the skin needs to be just right. This means, depending on the time of year and your schedule, a heavy soaking of the infield skin late afternoon prior to gameday or the night before is necessary. It takes some time to learn your field, sun patterns and how it takes water. Consider that the post-game watering should be heavy if dry weather is in the forecast.
Q: HOW DO I KNOW HOW MUCH SOIL I NEED FOR MY INFIELD:
A: Recommended Application when renovating an infield:
Infield soil mixes should be put down to a depth of 3” – 6” on a standard infield renovation. Once laid evenly, we suggest watering your infield with ½ inch of water, rolling it with a 1000 pound roller to achieve proper compaction, and then laser grading it out at 1/2%.
|90’ Bases (Grass Infield)
|11,550 sq. ft.
|60’ Bases (Little League)
|3,850 sq. ft.
|65’ Bases (Slow Pitch)
|9,200 sq. ft.
|60’ Bases (ASA Fast Pitch)
|8,300 sq. ft.
Q: HOW MUCH CONDITIONER SHOULD I USE ON MY INFIELD:
A: With most infield mixes, the recommendation for adding conditioner is about one ton (roughly 40 bags) of product per 1,000 square feet of skinned area . Apply 1/4 inch of Infield Conditioner to all skinned areas: infield, home plate area, pitcher’s mound and base paths. 2. Apply Infield Conditioner as often as necessary to maintain the desired playing surface.
Q: WHEN SHOULD I USE DRYING AGENTS:
A: In-game, apply it wherever it is needed in order to keep a game moving along. In a game day field prep situation, if the field is wet but your humidity is lowering and you have a breeze and/ or sun to help out, hold on to the drying agent and let nature do some of the work. Only apply a drying agent after you’ve been able to thoroughly inspect the skin areas and consider where you are going to need help with the drying agent due to deep saturation.
Q: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I USE MY TARPS:
A: When the baseball/softball season gets rolling along rain showers can become a regular factor for groundskeepers. But area tarps are used for more than just rain protection. In fact, the primary purpose of mound covers and home plate tarps is to retain and manage moisture in the soil and clay beneath them. Tarps are put in place to keep moisture from evaporating from the mound and batter’s and catcher’s boxes. The more moisture you keep in your clay areas, the better they perform and the less wear you will experience in those areas. Protection from rainfall is actually a secondary benefit of tarping the mound and plate areas. But this is as equally important as holding moisture in.