This is part three in our series covering several topics involving in-season softball and baseball field maintenance. The topics are:
Mounds, Batters Boxes, and Grass Edges
Mounds and batters boxes take a severe beating as every player that uses these areas is going to dig a customized hole to fit his or her foot. If maintenance is not performed daily then these holes will get so deep and wide that a major renovation will be required.
Mound Clay Installation
Start off by sweeping any loose dirt or conditioner out of the worn spot. Apply light water with sprinkle can. Scarify the low spot with a stiff garden rake. Apply mound clay right out of the bag about one inch thick. Tamp the mound clay tight. If the mound clay is dry then lightly sprinkle with water and allow water to soak in. Repeat this process until the hole is filled. Apply a light layer of conditioner over the top when finished.
Batters and catchers boxes can be repaired the exact same way. Again, daily maintenance is the key to prevent major overhauls.
Place a towel over the mound clay before you tamp to prevent the clay from sticking to the tamp. Also, wrapping the tamp with plastic will help with this problem.
The mark of a well maintained baseball or softball field is clean, sharp grass edges. The wow factor is in full force when anybody approaches a field and sees the contrast of infield dirt and green grass. Every week or two during the season edges need to be cleaned up.
The tools needed are a tape measure, string line, large nails, paint, hula hoe, gas powered edger or sod cutter. First layout the straight edges with string lines and paint the circles and arches. Use edger to cut along the edge about one inch deep. Then use the hula hoe to remove excess trim. If using a sod cutter, set the blade depth at about one inch and cut along the edge. This will make a clean edge on one side and remove the grass on the other. Rake the scraps and remove from field. Then groom the edges with a rake or a drag mat.