Laying Sod around your Baseball Field
posted on December 18th 2007 by Troy Frazier
Sod can be very useful in renovating a baseball or softball field. Sod can be laid at times when seed cannot be planted. However you must install it correctly or it will cause serious problems. The key to sod installation is ground prep. Too many people lay sod directly on infield material. This destroys the grade of the field, and often times kills the sod.
Recently Frazier's Field Repair installed sod in the aprons of a softball field. We spent two days preparing the ground before any sod arrived at the site. We started by removing the field topping from the aprons, and placing it out of the way. Then we removed almost two inches of infield mix from the aprons and used it to patch low spots in the infield. Next we spread 20 tons of high-end top soil into the lowered apron areas. This is the most difficult part. You need to add just the right amount of topsoil to make the ground level after the sod has been laid. Sod thickness varies; make sure you know how thick the sod you are laying is. Now youíre ready to lay the sod. Laying the sod is the easy part although, it is rough on the back.
Right next to the field where we installed the grass aprons was another softball field that held water in a 2 foot band around the outside edge of the skinned infield. The customer asked to us fix this infield drainage problem. The problem was caused by an incorrect sod installation. Iím going to guess the field was made smaller, or had a lip removed and sod was laid around the outside edge of the infield. When the sod was laid they didnít remove enough dirt to get the sod in line with the grade of the field. After the sod had been laid it created a two inch rise in the grade where the outfield began. This rise prevented water from getting off the field, and caused a two inch puddle on the infield. We will correct this problem by adding 40 tons of infield mix and correcting the grade of the field. The project will take about two days. Had the job been done right the first time this work would not be needed.
In addition to causing drainage problems sod will not establish well on infield mix or field topping. Good infield mix hardly has any organic matter in it, which is great for a skinned infield, but terrible for sod. The common example of this failure is when someone installs a grass infield by laying sod directly on the infield dirt without adding any top soil or organic matter. The sod lives for about a year, but it never really establishes in the ground.
A sod provider told me he cut and laid sod in January of 2007, and it looked great in the spring of 2007. Sod is an extremely powerful tool when youíre faced with a tight schedule, however it must be done right.
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