Removing the infield lip on your baseball or softball field
posted on Demember 19th 2006 by Troy Frazier
The infield lip is a bump that forms where the dirt meets the grass on baseball and softball fields. It's caused by dirt eroding, or being thrown into the grass by the drag or players. Many fields at lower levels of play have very severed lips because the proper maintenance of the lip can be difficult. The lip will prevent water from draining off the field. It can also cause ground balls to pop up and hit players in the face. I've seen more than one black eye or bloody nose caused by an infield lip condition. When you're looking at the lip stand at the edge of the skinned infield and follow the bump with your foot. If you have a lip condition you should notice clear rising bump as you move your foot into the grass that falls off a few inches into the grass. I've seen extreme lips that go two feet into the grass. If the bump doesn't fall off in the grass, your field is low on dirt. Sometimes low fields are mistaken for lip conditions.
Regular maintenance can prevent lips. Keeping the drag away from the end of the skinned area will help. Major league teams have a crew sweep the lip after every game to prevent the lip from forming. For lower levels of play this is impractical. If you have access to water on your field you can use a power washer to knock the lip down if it's not very big. If you're willing to put your back into it you can also use a lute rake.
If a lip has been left for a long time you'll need to consider a larger renovation to get the surface back down to level. Most people do this with a sod cutter. Sometime in the fall take a sod cutter and cut out the grass around your skinned infield. The ground needs to be a little moist for the sod cutter to work right. Now flip the sod over into the infield and knock the dirt out of the grass. Then flip the sod back. Doing this in the fall puts less stress on the grass. Make sure you keep it watered, and give it a little fertilizer to help it along.
Like so many other projects we use our power rake to remove lips. We can set the power rake to be even with the skinned infield and throw the dirt back into the grass. When we do this the blades of the grass are cut off, but the root structure stays intact. The grass then grows back in a couple of weeks normally without much additional care. In the case of very sever lips we have to go back and reseed.
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Reynoldsburg Oh, 43068
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Half Removed baseball infield lip
Removing the lip at Kent State
Power Raking the softball infield