October 2013

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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Level of Submission: Schools/ Parks DON GAEBELEIN FIELD, Category of Submission: Baseball Wesleyan School, Norcross, GA Head Sports Turf Manager: Josh Weigel Title: Director of Grounds Education: Bachelor's degree in Turf Management Experience: Bachelors degree in Turf from University of Tennessee (2007). Intern, Indianapolis Indians in 2006. Assistant Director of Grounds at Wesleyan School in 2009, now Director of Grounds at Wesleyan School (2009-present). Full-time staff: David Thro-wer, Zach Lindner, Jose Flores Other crew to recognize: Grant Frerking Original construction: 2004 Turfgrass variety: Bermuda Tifsport from June-September; overseeded with Pennington's Sunrise Primo perennial ryegrass Overseed: We overseeded Pennington Sunrise Primo at 16 lbs per 1,000 square feet on October 7. We touched it up with another application in early march but not as aggressive (8 lbs per 1,000). Drainage: Lines along the skirts in foul territory. Everything is sloped to the warning track where we have drainage lines. This field does not drain well. By the third day of practice it was almost like we needed to add water to the skin it was so hard. After each day of aerifying, we would roll the skin with a double drum roller to try and smooth out any rough areas we had left. CHALLENGES Because 70% of the game is played on the dirt in baseball, this was a serious problem. I know we all love the green grass and the dynamic patterns but the skin is the most important part. We bring in clay every year and then follow it up by having our skin laser graded. I decided to skip last season due to budget reasons. So this past November we brought in two tandem truck loads of "wet" clay. It was then spread out, tilled into the existing clay, and laser graded. Since it was late November/early December, we did not have much sun and had plenty of rain. Because there are no activities on the field this time of year and the ryegrass wasn't growing often, I would send someone down to mow the field maybe once a week and that was all we would do to the field. By mid-January we started getting dugouts cleaned, repairing the warning track, and continued mowing/fertilizing the field. I noticed the skin was very soft but figured it was due to all the rain we had gotten the last few months. One week before the first practice the skin was still soft and we had been dry for almost a full week. I took a shovel and dug into a soft pocket and hit a puddle of water. I started walking the entire skin, digging, and hitting water. Due to the weather, the condition of the clay when we put it out, and sealing it back up, there was water trapped 1 foot under the surface. The biggest problem was that the first practice was in 3 days. I decided to hand till the worst areas and let them sit for 3 days. After 3 days, the top layer was crusted but the stuff underneath was still wet. The ideal solution would be to till the entire infield and let it sit a day, till it again, and let it sit, and then put a final grade on it. The problem was we didn't have that kind of time. I came up with an idea where we used our Toro aerifier and used 3/4 inch needle tines and aerified the skin. We let the holes sit open all day letting them air out. An hour before practice, we drug the skin and the holes were filled in with Turface. The first day, the field was still soft but playable and level. The second day, firmer, and level. By the third day of practice it was almost like we needed to add water to the skin it was so hard. After each day of aerifying, we would roll the skin with a double drum roller to try and smooth out any rough areas we had left. Once the weekend hit, we tilled the skin and regraded it making the skin almost perfect! SportsTurf: What channels of communication do you use to reach coaches, administrators and users of your facility? Any tips on communicating well? Weigel: Communication is probably one of the most important elements of this or any job. I use various forms of communication including e-mail, text, phone, and Left: ONE OF MY FAVORITE PATTERNS (we call it the plaid pattern). Right: Saturday afternoon game. This was taken from the left field berm. SportsTurf 37

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