Logan Field Infield Renovation 2016
For the past two seasons, our staff found it increasingly difficult to provide a suitable playing surface for the infield of Logan Softball Field. Specifically, we had issues with the management of moisture in the soil profile. The infield dried out too fast and water wasn’t penetrating the surface. As a result, the field was too compacted. After consulting with professionals from Wilbur-Ellis and Profile, we decided that renovating the infield with Turface Pro League soil conditioner was the best course of action.
We tilled the softball infield four inches deep with two walk behind tillers. We tilled the entire infield except in the pitchers circle and around home plate. Breaking up the infield soil was a long and arduous process. The field was watered to soften the profile followed by tilling in one or two directions then watered again to reach the lower depths of the soil profile and to soften for more tilling. Most of the time we soaked the field as others operated a tiller. At the end of each day, we covered the field with a tarp to keep the field moist and soft for the next day’s work. It took four days to till down to four inches. By the fourth day we used pick mattocks to break up areas too dense for the tillers to break up.
Two tons of Turface Pro League was incorporated into the infield. The Turface soil conditioner will open up pore spaces in the soil profile, thus allowing water to flow through much quicker and improving the water holding capacity of the infield. We dried the field and broke up larger soil clods prior to spreading Turface. We tilled in three different directions to better incorporate the product. The final few passes with the tiller helped dry the field and prep the field for laser grading.
Mike Hebrard of Western Athletic Field Design groomed and laser graded the field. He created a 1% grade and a semi-conical slope from the pitcher’s circle towards center and right field. While surveying the infield, Mr. Hebrard discovered our pitcher’s rubber was installed too low. Unfortunately, for the last four years, our pitchers pitched uphill. Therefore, after grading, we replaced the original pitcher’s rubber with a Bulldog Pitcher’s Rubber and raised it to the appropriate height.
Although the renovation was a success, we would make one change to our plan. Walk behind tillers were the wrong machines to use for this project. We did till to our desired depth, however it took a lot of effort and too much time. Since completing the project, we learned a Toro Dingo with a soil cultivator attachment would be the most effective machine for incorporating Turface in the infield. Toro Dingos can till and incorporate soil conditioner at the same time. Furthermore, the machine can reverse till much better than walk behind tillers. According to Wilbur-Ellis reps, tilling in reverse is much more effective at breaking up an infield profile.
Logan Field was long overdue for and infield renovation. Prior to the project, the field dried out too fast and water wasn’t draining through the soil profile. Today, there is a noticeable improvement in water penetration and an increase in the water holding capacity of the infield. Most importantly, our softball team is very pleased with the results.