The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

Bare Necessities: How to Preserve Your Field !

This is your guide to lockdown field maintenance.

As the country slowly begins to move toward reopening from the Covid-19 shutdown, those on the front lines of youth sports — specifically baseball and softball — are stuck in a wait-and-see mode. Left to the mercy of governors in each state, those of us involved understand that youth sports are not considered essential like other parts of the economy. Some states, such as Illinois, have already called off all youth sports for the summer and the governor is now contemplating the fate of fall sports there. No doubt, there will be other states and individual leagues that won’t see any action this summer.

But even if the sport is shutdown, fields will still need to be managed as they are living biosystems that will need attention. So what basic maintenance do you really need to be perform? How will these practices help to maintain or even improve the playing field for next spring season or fall ball ?

MOWING: This is pretty obvious but let’s dig in a little deeper. Whether your field is irrigated or not, raise the mowing height. Raise it more for unirrigated fields than irrigated. This will push the plant to lengthen its roots in the soil making it more drought tolerant going into the hot and dry summer months. Mow according to growth rate so that you are mowing off no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade off the plant.

IRRIGATION: If your field is outfitted with irrigation — be it manual or automatic — use it! Nothing helps thicken your turf more than water and a lack of play. No capitol project pays more dividends to your field than having an irrigation system installed. Not only will it help your turf, but when play does resume, it will also greatly improve the condition of your infield skin as well.

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