Should You Condition Your Infield Before Winter Sets In?
Many coaches will soon finish up their baseball and softball fall field renovations. Some may be asking if they should condition their field for winter. The answer depends on your expectations of play for next spring.
- If there will be a need to roll the infields and play early in the spring (think late February/early March), you should condition the infields with at least 1/4 inch of topdressing.
- If there is no need for rolling and play will take place later in the spring (think late March/early April), you do not need to condition the infield before winter.
In the spring, the conditioner will allow the infield to become workable more quickly in order to roll before the first activity. Infield soils must be rolled before play in the spring. No matter the quality of the material, all surfaces will frost heave over the winter, and this must be settled before spring play.
Consider adding a product like In-Flow from Precision Labatories. The ability of your infield to uniformly retain and move water affects the safety and performance of the playing surface. In-Flow is a granular soil conditioner and surfactant that influences water’s ability to flow into and throughout the profile of infield skins. This helps sports turf managers find the desired balance between water retention and movement, resulting in a better-performing infield over a longer period of time. Moisture management will help you to be able to work the infield skin sooner in the spring.
Why not condition?
Over the winter, the conditioner will blow around the infield surface, potentially causing material buildup and the formation of infield lips.