This is part four in our series covering several topics involving in-season softball and baseball field maintenance. The topics are:
- Part 1 - Infield Skinned Area
- Part 2 - Moisture Management
- Part 3 - Mounds and Batters Boxes & Grass Edges
- Part 4 - Turf Care - Mowing, Irrigation, Aeration
- Part 5 - Turf Care - Fertilization, Weed Control
Turf Care - Mowing, Irrigation, Aeration
The key elements to successful care of the turfgrass are mowing, irrigation, aerating, fertilization and weed control.
Once the season begins mow on Monday, Wednesday and friday each week. Overseeded bermuda should be mowed at about one inch tall. If twice weekly mowing is all the budget will allow, mow Monday and Thursday at one and one-half inches tall. A reel type mower is preferred over a rotary mower.
Once the perennial ryegrass is mature irrigate every 2 to 3 days. Short run times in the early morning hours should be sufficient in the late winter/early spring. As the temperatures warm up through as the spring advances, longer run times will be necessary.
Perennial ryegrass is shallow rooted and care should be taken when considering aeration. Allow several days for repairing of the ryegrass stand after aerating. A slicer type aerator will decompact the soil with minimal disruption of the ryegrass. An aerator may be used without the PTO engaged. This will also cause minimal disruption of the over seeded surface. High traffic areas of the infield - in front of the mound and home plate circle - need regular aeration during the season. Work with the coaches to find a time that the field will be available for aeration and repair time.
In the final post we'll cover fertilization and weed control...