These are the top tools you need to succeed in sports field maintenance, whether you’re just starting out starting out or you’re a long-time professional. Whatever you need, SiteOne’s got you covered.
The infield skin is the non-turf area around the home plate and bases. For this area, the following tools should be in your repertoire for the best results.
- Wheelbarrow: Transports soil conditioner around the field.
- Infield conditioner: Like turf soil, infield skin performance depends on optimizing the soil for use after soil analysis.
- Sifting shovel: When used, topdressing and infield soil falls through to the infield skin and waste can be removed and placed outside of playing field. This is a safety measure for the players.
- Rake (aluminum): Some Midwest rakes are specifically designed for infield maintenance. These can be used before or after field use. Rake out cleat marks and divots and redistribute material moved during play. Ensure you rake down the base line towards the base and home plate parallel with the edges, not towards the infield grass. Raking towards the infield grass causes lips that affect the ball rolling and creates a natural dam that can create puddling.
- Steel drag mat: Drag mats smooth uneven surfaces, eliminate wear and tear, and help groom the field after it’s been raked out. They help redistribute material from high to low spots on the infield skin. Ideally, you should drag twice in opposite directions. Stay at least 6 inches away from the turf edges and cutouts as these need to be maintained with a push broom or level board, which is a grading and leveling tool. If the grade is uneven, start at the higher areas of the field and work towards the lower ones.
- Nail drag: Used before the mat drag, this scarifies the infield surface to easily loosen heavily compacted areas. It helps when the skin is slightly moist. Choosing a hand-held version will keep things easy to store as they are relatively small, and no tractor is needed.
- Tamp: Packs clay down after repairs. The Beacon Sweet Spot tamp with interchangeable heads is a great tool for the job. Heavy wear areas (i.e., pitching mounds) need regular repair as hazardous holes can form. Repair these areas with bagged clay. Choosing a clay depends on the level of play and maintenance, so check with a SiteOne expert if you need help.
- Note: Ensure these areas get covered with area tarps when not in use to retain the moisture, or you risk the clay hardening.
- Spot Covers: These protect the clay from debris and help retain moisture. AF Sports makes covers for this purpose.
- Steel lawn roller: Used for rolling infield grass after sod installment or grass repairs; these can also be used to roll small areas of an infield like baselines and cutouts.
- Scuffle hoe: Used during edging projects as well as shaving down high spots in clay areas (mounds, batter’s box, etc.), these also work as non-chemical weed control for young weeds.
- Round point shovel: Used for repairs to underground areas, this also picks up debris/chunks of material swept away from turf edges and bases.
- Underhill nozzles and hoses: Hoses are essential for infield skin installation and maintenance. Turf, infield conditioners, and mound clay need proper moisture management. Along with watering turf, hoses are also used to touch up skin and clay, as well as to power wash any migrated materials out of turf edges (a weekly project).
- Hand pump: Removes water from valve boxes or other pertinent areas.
- Irrigation station test kit: These kits allow you to identify wiring, check solenoids, and find potential issues in irrigation systems.
- Riser extractor: Used to remove broken risers from threaded fittings.
- Coupler key: Key connection to irrigation.
- Soil probe: An inexpensive tool, these check soil moisture levels in turf and the infield skins. They can also monitor thatch, root health, and insect activity, which makes them versatile and essential to field management. When testing soil, take some and make a fist with it. It shouldn’t stick to your hand but shouldn’t crumble either.
- Moisture meter: This is a more expensive, but very accurate tool. It checks infield skin’s moisture levels for optimum performance. DuraEdge states that the best practice percentages for sports turf managers to target are between 25-30% moisture, allowing the top edge to be as low as 15-20%. If the soil moisture is not in these ranges, increase watering.
- Professional spreader: Used to uniformly apply infield conditioner, fertilizer, and pre-emergent applications.
- Paint sprayer: Creates crisp field lines with efficiency with the Graco gas powered paint machine.
- Paint: Marks the lines of play.
- Push broom: These help push material out from the turf edges. Material can gather there after improper dragging techniques, wind, rain, and significant player movement, and the material can create lips that affect the playing area. Avoid buildup and smooth out the areas around the infield, plate, and mound.
Shop at SiteOne
Hit a homerun at SiteOne, your one-stop shop for field maintenance needs. Visit SiteOne.com or your local branch for the tools for the job. Associates can assist you with any questions. Keep an eye out for educational events in your area at SiteOne.com/events.