Tips for Fall Renovations

Don’t wait until it becomes a scramble.

With autumn sports finishing up, the clock is ticking toward winter. If you haven’t already, it’s wise to finalize your ballfield’s fall renovations … now. It always amazes me how many people in our industry wait until the last minute — scrambling at the eleventh hour to try to pull a project together. Of course, they may at times be successful at pulling that off, but it surely won’t happen without some unnecessary stress for the manager and his or her crew.

The Earlier The Better

Beacon Projects Team can help with renovationIf your fall renovation involves bringing in contractors, you’ll want to lock them in quickly before they get booked up for the fall. The rule here is the earlier in the year you can confirm the project, the better. Those who notoriously wait until the last minute to try to hire contractors for their field work will likely find themselves getting shut out because most quality field contractors will already be booked for the season. The earlier you lock them in, the better choice of dates you have to select from for them to complete your project.

Part of your fall renovation may require some quantitative testing, such as a soil fertility test for grass areas. These tests are used to help determine your fertility needs in order to bring your soil fertility up to optimum levels for your turf grass. This is always a good idea, especially going into fall as the soils have been depleted somewhat from the active summer growing season. The turf plants are in need of nutrients to rebuild their root systems, repair from summer disease and drought damage, and to aide in winter carbohydrate storage as winter dormancy approaches.


Infield Soil Testing

The other testing you should consider would be your infield soils. Did they perform like you wanted them to? Do they take too long to recover after a rain? Are your infield soils stable or loose? Does your infield soil runoff or move dramatically when it rains? These are all signs that your infield soils may need some help in order to bring them into balance to improve performance. Don’t guess what’s wrong with your infield skin; have it tested. Many can test, but few can analyze and interpret the results properly with respect to infield soil use, so choose your testing agency carefully.

Beacon was one of the first companies to provide infield soil testing & analysis with recommendations for improvement back in the late 1990s. We have over 30 years’ experience on staff to find the right solutions for your infield. Get your testing completed soon so when the season ends, you can jump right on that infield soil renovation project if the testing indicates the need for it. With results and recommendations in hand, you can plan and order the soils needed to blend into your infield to correct for any deficiencies.

Once you’ve finished up your testing, organize what work for fall renovations needs to be performed on your ballfields. These projects may include:

Turf Areas:

  • Aerification
  • Overseeding
  • Topdressing
  • Fertilization
  • Regrading to improve surface drainage
  • Sodding
  • Edging
  • Lip removal

Infield Skin Areas:

  • Infield Soil Amending
  • Leveling Infield Skin
  • Fortification of High Wear Areas (Batter’s & Catcher’s Boxes, Top Table & Front Slope of Mound)
  • Replacing Worn Pitching Rubbers and/or Home Plates
  • Replacing Old Base Anchors

Leveling your infield skin
Choose your projects, order your materials and equipment and begin to strategize how you will schedule the project and your crew.

Planning is an important stage of sports field management. Shooting from the hip will cause inefficiencies and idle resources. Proper planning builds efficiency and keeps those resources busy, which usually increases the number of projects that can be taken on and completed during your fall renovations. Not being prepared will hold up your crew this renovation season. Get your testing completed, make your plans and purchase the products needed so when the time comes, your crews are ready right out of the gate. They’ll know where they are going, what they are doing, and have the material and equipment they to get the job done in a timely manner.

Paul Zwaska (contributor)

A former head groundskeeper for the Baltimore Orioles, Paul has been a frequent contributor to Beacon’s Ballfield Blog and other resources and products. Among other contributions to Beacon, he authored Groundskeeper University, the pioneering online ballfield maintenance training venue.