Synthetic Turf Crumb Rubber Infill

In another post we highlighted the fact that the EPA recently changed their opinion regarding the lingering safety questions surrounding synthetic turf playing surfaces using crumb rubber infill material. Synthetic turf | Crumb rubber infil | Artificial Turf

Turfgrass Producers International released an article in 2011 that presented the growing concerns of health care professionals regarding the consequences of carbon black nanoparticles present in the crumb rubber infill most commonly used on synthetic turf fields. The health threat of inhaling carbon nanotubes is compared to that of asbestos and it's ability to cause mesothelioma (cancer of the membrane lining the body's internal organs).

Article: "Is Artificial Turf Hiding an 800 pound gorilla?"

The article goes into depth on how nanoparticles can get to brain tissue and raises many questions regarding the safety of synthetic turf playing surfaces with crumb rubber infill. The case is made for a signficant increase in the level of testing of long term health affects of carbon black nanoparticles, calling it the "800 pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about".


Infield Dragging

Skinned Areas

Infield skinned areas are the most used portion of any baseball or softball field and therefore need constant attention to insure good playing conditions. Infield skinned area soils should have 20 - 30% clay content. Because of this higher clay content, skinned areas can become too compacted which negatively impacts the overall quality of play.

Texas Multi-Chem | Infield Dragging | Baseball Field Infield Maintenance | Softball Infield Maintenance | Skinned Area Maintenance | Infield Conditioner

Infield conditioner products - such as Diamond Pro’s red infield conditioner - are mixed with the top layers of infield dirt to help keep the surface from becoming too compacted. The conditioner material absorbs and holds water which will help the field to dry out after a rain. It also allows you to water before an event without making the surface “sticky”.

If you have a good mix of sand, silt, clay and conditioner, you should be able to maintain a firm infield that will be workable, allowing you to create a quality playing surface.

Nail Dragging

The goal with infield skinned areas is to maintain a firm soil base with a ½ inch layer of loose soil and infield conditioner on top. Nail dragging will help achieve this goal. Nail dragging should be performed any time the surface of the skinned area gets too hard or divots are visible from recent player activity.

Prior to nail dragging, first wet the soil thoroughly and allow some time for the water to soak in. While the surface is still moist, pull a nail over the surface. If the nails or spikes do not penetrate the surface, put some extra weight on top of the drag (see above image). You may have to go over the surface several times in different directions to loosen the soil. After nail dragging, use a steel mat or cocoa mat drag to smooth the surface. Water the surface at the end of the day.

Infield Dragging Maintenance Reference
Nail Drag 1-2 times weekly In-Season
  Every 2 weeks Off-Season
Mat Drag After every use In-Season
  Once per week Off-Season


Mat Dragging

Mat dragging should be performed every day an infield is used. This will help keep the surface smooth. Take special care to fill in divots and other slow spots that may be developing. Apply a generous dose of water on the skinned area after your final drag.

Stay at least 6 inches away from the grass edge to keep from depositing infield dirt onto the grass. This will help prevent “lips” from developing around the infield edges.


Safety Of Synthetic Turf Infill In Doubt

Renewed concerns surrounding crumb rubber infill material has caused the EPA to change it's official public stance regarding the safety of synthetic turf playing surfaces.

Here's the link to a recent article discussing the issue further.


Synthetic Turf Fields - Are They Right For Your Organization?

The short depends. Individuals in charge of making sports field purchasing decisions should be aware there IS a choice. It's been our experience the valid reasons for choosing a synthetic turf playing surface over a natural grass field are primarily due to the overall water availability at a facility and the anticipated traffic patterns/usage of a field. Comparing real costs of natural grass athletic fields versus a synthetic turf surface will never come up in favor of synthetic turf. With higher initial construction costs and perpetual surface replacement, synthetic turf simply doesn't compare favorably in real world cost comparisons.

See our in-depth blog series on the subject for more information.

Texas Multi-Chem | Cost Comparison Natural Grass Synthetic Turf


Ryegrass Irrigation and Maintenance for Sports Fields

In another article we discussed the various aspects of overseeding sports fields with ryegrass. One of those aspects involved irrigation. This article provides further details on proper irrigation and maintenance for successful ryegrass germination on your athletic fields.

Pre Germination Texas Multi-Chem | Overseed Ryegrass Sports Fields

  • Set your irrigation controller for 5 or 6 start times per day.
  • Run times should be 5 to 8 minutes per cycle: 5 minutes for large sprinkler nozzles; 8 minutes for small nozzles.
  • If water begins to pool or run off the field, cut back on run times. Keep 5 to 6 start times.
  • Make adjustments according to weather conditions as needed.
  • Continue this process until you see seed germination.


Post Germination

  • Once seed has germinated, cut back on cycles to 2 to 3 start times daily.
  • Increase run times to 8 to 12 minutes each.
  • Avoid water pooling, adjust run times as needed.


Maintenance Irrigation and Mowing Texas Multi-Chem | Mowing Ryegrass Sports Fields

  • Once a solid stand of ryegrass is established, cut back start times to once per day. Increase run times to 15-20 minutes.
  • When ryegrass growth reaches 1.5 inches tall, it's time to start mowing.
  • Cut back start times to every other day, once per day.
  • Run times should be 20-30 minutes.
  • Watering more deeply, less frequently allows the field to dry out for mowing days.
  • Mowing is an important cultural practice to help the ryegrass cultivar reach maturity. Try to mow the ryegrass field at least 2 times per week at this stage of development.


In-Season Maintenance

  • To maximize turf quality, mow on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Mowing height should be 1 inch to 1.5 inches.
  • Irrigation in the early morning hours on the non-mowing days.
  • Run times should be 20-30 minutes each.


Sports Field OverseedingTexas Multi-Chem | Sports Field Maintenance | Sports Field Overseeding

Need help overseeing your sports fields? Contact TMC today at 1-800-292-1214


Overseeding Athletic Fields Q&A

Sports Field Q&A with Lee Smith of Texas Multi-Chem

What Is Overseeding?

  • The term overseeding refers to the process of applying a cool season grass seed over an established warm season turfgrass. In our case here in Texas, this means applying a blend of perennial rye seed over a bermudagrass sports field.

Texas Multi-Chem | Overseeding Sports Fields

Why Do We Overseed?

  • As the temperatures become cooler in the fall and the nights get longer, warm season grasses will begin to slow their growth rate, eventually stopping their growth almost completely. As the growth slows the grass becomes dormant until the night time temperatures rise again in the spring.

  • Since the growth is largely shutdown, the grass cannot recover from the wear and tear of athletic play. Overseeding with a cool season grass provides a playing surface that can withstand traffic during the cool season's winter months.

  • Aesthetics is another reason many people will overseed a bermudagrass sports field. As the bermudagrass goes dormant it will turn brown and stay that way until it comes out of dormancy. Adding a cool season grass to the playing surface will give you an aesthetically pleasing green surface throughout the winter months. 

When Is The Best Time To Overseed?

  • In Texas, the best time to overseed is generally mid September to late November. This window typically offers cooler temperatures which is needed for the germination and establishment of cool season turfgrass. During this window the bermudagrass growth is slowing which makes it less competitive with the new ryegrass that is trying to root in during germination.
  • Field use plays a big role in determining the proper day to prepare the surface and plant the seed. Excessive traffic after planting can cause poor and sporadic germination. Once planted, it's best to keep traffic off the field until the seed has germinated and the grass is established well enough to cut with a mower.  
  • TMC Sports Turf | Super Rake | Verticut & Vacuum | Whataburger Field


How Should I Prepare A Field For Overseeding?

  • Leading up to the date of planting you should gradually lower the mowing height to .75 - 1.5 inches.

  • Super Rake (verticut and vacuum) the turfgrass playing surface. This process removes the thatch layer and breaks up the top surface of the soil creating a more favorable seed bed.

  • Once the field is seeded you may topdress with sand. A light topdressing of the seed helps secure the seed in place and creates a constant contact with the soil surface to help germination.

How Much Seed Do I Need And How Should I Apply It?

  • We typically recommend anywhere from 5-10 lbs of seed per 1,000 sq ft. Higher traffic areas or fields would require more seed than a lower traffic field. The average field usually applies 8 lbs per 1,000 sq ft.

  • Seed should be applied with a rotary spreader in several different directions. Applying it in multiple directions will help insure a more uniform coverage. For edges of baseball and/or softball infields it is generally best to use a drop spreader to get a more consistent edge.

How Should I Water It?

  • A heavy watering should be applied immediately after seeding to help push the seed down to soil (but not so heavy that you get surface movement of the water). Then, over the next week a light watering 3-5 times a day should occur to keep the seed and surface moist. Once the seed has germinated, reduce the number of waterings per day but increase the run times. (Example: cut back from watering 4 times per day at 10 minutes per watering to 2 times per day at 15 minutes.)

  • Once grass is fully established and regular mowing can occur the watering can generally be cut back to once or twice a week.

How Should I Mow It And When?

  • The first mowing can usually take place 2-4 weeks after germination. Once the grass has reached about 1-1.5 inches tall it is ready to mow.

  • Prior to mowing the grass you should make sure the reel or blades on your mower are sharp. A sharp blade will cut the grass and not pull or tear the grass. It is always a wise idea to have a sharp blade when mowing any grass.

How Should I Fertilize My Ryegrass? Texas Multi-Chem | Turf Fertilizer | Turf Programs | Athletic Field Fertilizer

  • A starter fertilizer such as TMC's Sprout (10-12-8) should be used at the time the seed is applied to the field. Apply at a rate of .5-1 lbs N per 1,000 sq ft.

  • Once the grass is established you can apply a general fertilizer like Fast Start (14-6-8) by TMC every 30-60 days during the winter. Apply at a rate of .5-1 lbs N per 1,000 sq ft.

How Can I Help Transition The Ryegrass?

  • To transition your field's turf grass from cool season to warm season, we recommend applying a post emergent herbicide such as a TMC spray application of Celsius or Certainty in late spring after your season has ended. This will kill the ryegrass without harming the bermudagrass. This approach helps the transition because it stops the ryegrass from competing with the bermudagrass for water and nutrients as the bermuda is trying to come out of dormancy.


Overseeding Athletic Fields - Sports Field Q&A with Lee Smith of Texas Multi-Chem

Lee Smith is a sales representative with Texas Multi-Chem. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from Texas A&M and helps manage hundreds of natural grass sports fields for our customers around Texas.

Would you like help maintaining your natural grass sports fields? TMC can help...give us a call today at 1-800-292-1214.


Happy Retirement Bill White!


Texas Multi-Chem | Sports Field Contractor | Bill White Retirement | Salesman

Bill White worked as a salesman for Texas Multi-Chem (TMC) for 32 years. In this day and time, it is unusual for employees to remain with a company for so many years. Bill retired from TMC in June 2013.  A dinner was held for Bill and his family so TMC could honor him for his successful tenure. Bill will be greatly missed as a valued and loyal employee.  Bill’s career was successful because he treated his job and his customers with integrity, honesty, and professionalism through the years.

Bill and his family will always be a part of the TMC family and we wish him many happy and healthy years of retirement!

Thank you Bill!


Avoid Rainouts With Internal Drainage Systems

Rainouts = Lost Revenue

Athletic Field Internal Drainage | Texas Multi-Chem | Uni-Trade Stadium | Laredo LemursIt may seem ironic to plan for rain events in Laredo, Texas, but when you consider an organization's lost revenue due to a rainout, an internal drainage system is an investment to significantly reduce the likelihood of such a situation. A venue like Uni-Trade Stadium counts not only on the sales of per-game and season ticket revenue, but the various ballpark vendors - including food, beverage, memorabilia, parking, etc - count on maximizing their time with customers during each game, as well. In short, avoiding rainouts means maximizing ballpark revenues for all baseball games.

Internal Drain System

In the subgrade beneath the grass playing surface at Uni-Trade Stadium lies more than 6,000 linear feet of drainage pipe. The primary drainage product used on this project was Multi-Flow. The drain material was installed vertically in trenches all over the field at precise slopes, carrying the water downhill as it evacuates the root zone and into the collection pipes surrounding the field and eventually "daylighting" into the field's water collection area or storm drain system, far below and away from the field's playing surface.

Baseball Field Internal Drain System | Texas Multi-Chem | Trenching Drainage at Uni-Trade Stadium | Laredo Lemurs

Moving Water Off The Field

Multi-Flow Internal Drain System for Athletic Fields by Texas Multi-ChemUni-Trade Stadium's root zone (consisting of 95% sand and 5% peat) that sits atop the internal drain system is capable of percolating in excess of 8" of water each hour. The infield skinned area (and warning track areas), because they consist of materials with higher clay content, will percolate water at a much slower rate than the baseball field's grass areas. This is where a well designed and professionally constructed infield becomes so important. In a rain event (in situations where no tarp is covering the infield), the water will surface drain (or "sheet drain") according to the precise slopes engineered into the infield, moving from the skinned area to the grass where the high performance sand root zone will allow the water to quickly evacuate the playing surface and enter into the internal drainage system. Usually a tarp is covering the infield skinned area during moderate to heavy rains. After the rain, the tarp will be rolled off the infield, pushing large amounts of water into the outfield at once.

Multi Flow Internal Drain System for Sports Fields | Texas Multi-Chem | Uni-Trade StadiumWith the sand root zone and internal drainage system, the excess water quickly evacuates from the playing field surface and into the collection pipes, allowing for athletic field activities to resume much sooner knowing the field is not overly saturated and is ready for baseball. Without a sandy root zone and drainage system, this water would remain on the field surface much longer and very slowly percolate down through the soil, causing an unsafe and unplayable field for many hours (even days in the worst of cases).

Photo Gallery - TMC @ Uni-Trade Stadium
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