While it’s important not to ignore off-season field chores, the bulk of the field maintenance will take place during the season. This includes regular mowing, infield raking and preservation throughout the season. Here’s a closer look at each:
- Mowing: On most youth fields, mowing will only be done on the outfield, but there are some youth baseball fields that have grass in the infield as well. When mowing, never take more than one-third off the total grass length. Also, use a mower with sharp blades, as dull blades can damage the grass. To make the field look extra nice, try to mow in straight lines or eye-catching patterns.
- Infield Raking: The more the field is played on, the more the infield dirt is due to be jostled. Regular infield raking and spike dragging should be performed and topped off by having it rolled with a 1-ton roller. If a roller isn’t available, don’t skip the raking and spike-dragging steps. This helps keep the infield area neat and playable.
- Preservation: When it rains in a professional baseball stadium, the infield is covered with a tarp. Your youth baseball field likely doesn’t have the same luxury, but try, at least, to cover the pitcher’s mound with a protective tarp between games. This helps prevent mound erosion and limits the amount of in-season maintenance you’ll have to make. Lip sweeping and raking should also be done at least weekly and mound plates should be checked on a weekly basis, too.
Just because youth baseball players play ball on a youth field doesn’t mean you can’t give them a great ball-playing experience. Remember, a well-kept youth baseball field doesn’t just look great, it also allows for safer gameplay. When it’s youth sports, a safe, enjoyable experience should be the No. 1 goal.