Finish Grooming of Repaired Areas

The importance of moisture...

Water plays an integral part in reducing wear on high traffic areas. Water is the glue that holds soils together. Some evaporation will occur even on cloudy days, but when clay areas are open to sunshine and fresh air, evaporation accelerates. This moisture must be restored.

First, with a push broom, brush away all the excess contaminated clay and soil from your repair work. Then, using a watering can, wet down the entire clay area (not just the repair spots) from the top down until there is some standing water.

Restoring moisture to clay areas...

Keeping the moisture in...

Area tarps play an important role in managing moisture. You probably know that tarps can protect areas from rainfall. But did you know for area tarps that’s not their primary function?

The main purpose for using area tarps is to control and manage moisture in the high-traffic clay areas. Area tarps deployed on the mound and around home plate help stop evaporation from stealing all of the moisture from the soil. To retain moisture and prevent excessive wear area tarps should be in place whenever a ballfield is not in use.

Finish grooming...

After allowing the clay areas to soak in the moisture for typically 20 to 30 minutes, you can put the loose material — swept away at the beginning — back over the area. Follow these steps to finish grooming the clay areas:

  • push the topdressing back over the clay areas
  • using a grooming rake, remove any chunks and pull them off to the side
  • scoop up the waste with a sifter shovel and discard it
  • use your grooming rake to again finish grooming
  • for an added touch to the mound, use a cocoa mop to smooth it out
  • around home plate, smooth the area with a steel mat or cocoa mat drag

Watch the finish grooming process...

One last shot of water...

To keep the repaired areas in good shape until game time, give them one last shot of water over their entire surface. You’ll want to add moisture to the outer areas you weren’t working on, and then a lighter spritz for the clay areas you had already applied some water to previously.

If you have the luxury of time, put the area tarps back over the mound and home plate area to help retain the moisture you just added.

Watering one last time...

That’s it. Okay, that’s been a LOT in these past couple lessons. But, now you know all that goes into identifying, repairing, and finish grooming heavy wear areas that are fortified with clay.

The final section of this lesson will take a look at repairing areas fortified with barrier mats rather than clay.

Give this quick Pop Quiz a look before moving on. If you do not see the quiz button below, please log in at GU to take the quiz.