As you can see from previous blog postings, J&D Turf travels to fields and facilities of all levels of play. Our company view is “Provide safe and playable fields for athletes of all ages and abilities.” With this in mind, recently the J&D Turf crew was at Avon South Middle School renovating a home plate area. Obviously, with this being a middle school field, funds were limited. So, we renovated the home plate area on a shoestring budget. How did we do it? See below:
[We] elevated the homeplate via a laser to ensure positive drainage, i.e. – rain water will not run back onto the plate.

The next step was edging the plate. The plate was edged at a 15 foot radius. There were dashed painted lines showing the 15 ft mark. This field was not used for 10 years, so the edges are still a little inconsistent, but after all, sodding was not in the budget. After edging, bring on the clay. For this project we used Dura Pitch Mound Clay from the Natural Sand Company. We only had 40 bags for this project, so we concentrated on the batters and catchers boxes, and added the remainder around the plate.

After adding the clay, bring on the tiller. A smaller tiller is just fine for this type of work to till the new material into the existing material to a depth of 3 inches.

After tilling, bring on the board! We used a 16ft long 2×6 to level the plate. One edge of the board was on the plate, the other edge of the board on our newly created grass edge. Three passes were made to ensure positive drainage.

Next, the plate was tire rolled. This is simply, using the weight of equipment to compact the soil. Ideally, the use of a three ton roller is the best application, but after all, we were on a budget!

After tire rolling, a quick rake and mat drag competed the plate.

Calcined clay topdressing was not added for this project due to the limited budget, but ideally 3-5 bags would be advised to topdress the plate area to a depth of 1/4 in.
The bottom line is, this process is not recommended at the higher levels of play, but if you have a couple of hours and a limited budget, there is an answer!
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