January 2007

How to build an Ice Rink on a Baseball field!

Dscf0339_1 Having an ice rink on your baseball field is something you probably don’t get a chance to do very often, but in minor league parks around the northeast, you create ways to generate revenue. This one actually worked pretty well and is open to the public every weekend     In Lancaster, Pa. home of the barnstormers , they have tried a couple "unique" winter promotions.  .  Last year they had the snow festival where we actually built areas through the stadium for snow tubing.  Obviously the post event mess causes our groundskeeper Josh Viet to grumble a bit, but its part of the business in the baseball industryDscf0337

All in All, the ice rink was a hit in the area.  Opened on weekends and through the holidays it created quite a stir in the community.  The field is sloped on the infield so the floor area had to be leveled.  25 tons of sand was brought it to ensure the water froze evenly.  The zamboni that cleans and shapes the ice has a path to the floor from under the stadium.  We budgeted a sod install as part of our spring renovations of the infield but really it wasn’t that bad.  This is the last weekend before the ice comes out but next year they might even consider a hockey season.  Players can actually do wind sprints from home to first base..in skates! Talking about a workout.

How about that?  Baseball field to Ice rink?  You gotta love it! 

D.C. Stadium taking Shape

Nats_stadium_jan_07  Got a chance to check out the DC Nationals new park and it is really coming up out of the ground…and according to everyone’  on schedule.  Larry Divitto the Nationals groundskeeper has been planning for the new baseball only field since he arrived last year.  Plans for the field to start going in late this summer are still on track as well  so by opening day 2008 the park and field will be ready to go. Dscf0348 We will be spending quite a bit of time on the site during the next year as the project’s field consultant.  Picture to the left is the right field foul line seating bowl.  Behind this section is the Potomac RIver. 

USA Baseball Complex Nears Completion

Dscf0308In a few months, USA Baseball and the Town of Cary will open a new baseball complex that will host Olympic  and International training programs.  The complex sports 4 natural turf fields that includes a stadium which will seat 1700 and with the seating berm a potential of 3000 fans. The fields are sand based and each will have scoreboards concrete dugouts bullpens etc..  SOd will be placed on the signature field within the nxt couple weeks.  There is actually a USA baseball team store which will be open to the public for products and memorabilia. Dscf0307

Obviously building a facility of this size takes a lot of resources and help from many groups.  Heery International is the design firm and T.A. Loving the General Contractor.  Rainbird Irrigation and Musco lighting systems provided there products and expertise in making the facility first class.  The complex will host the opening day event in mid June followed by a series of competitions and training camps throughout the summer that will be comprised of athletes from high school to college. 

USA baseball will select there future teams to represent our country from the kids that play on these fields.  The Town of Cary has provided the funding and support to ensure the facility is built and operated…first class.  With the Dscf0328 International development of the game at an all time high this facility will create some great excitement for the industry by hosting international events.

Look for upcoming field maintenance days at the complex!

Is it to early to mow your yard??


Global warming, El Nino, farmers almanac, Moon phases, we have heard all of the possible reasons for the extraordinarily warm weather for winter.  All I can say is my yard is turning green and bulbs are trying to come up here in Baltimore.  A good friend of mine is a meteorologist.  He believes it could be combination of weather cycles.  Anyway with it turning warm everyone can use some lawn tips to consider so here are a few.

Mowing – Don?t start mowing too early if you are in the north east… but if you are getting growth you don?t want to cut more than 1/3 of the blade.  If you still have a lot of white dormant looking turf..its best to hold off.  Its best to wait until after the last heavy frost which can happen in March.  When it does break remember, consistency is good in a lot of things, but don?t try and rely on mowing the same day each week. Rain, drought and fertilizer treatments will govern the day you should mow.  Not you!Dscn0182

Dead spots in my yardHow about those dog urine spots in your lawn.  Basically, that brown area of grass is due to a high concentration of a liquid fertilizer in one little spot.  We started to give our dog a little bit of tomato sauce with his food.  This increased his water intake which diluted the urine and our spots greatly decreased.  Before you start making your dog Italian dishes, check with your veterinarian!


Watering –If you irrigate/or water your home lawn, try to do so early in the morning.  This time of year in the northeast you should be careful with water.  Pending the time of year and location you also want to stay away from watering at night during those humid times of the year or you may be looking at a fungus problem. Water deeply, not frequently. On the other hand, if it?s a new lawn you may need to water the seed frequently for the first month.

Mower maintenance -Mowing your grass with a sharp mower blade helps keep the turf healthy.  Get ahead of the neighbor while the weather is good and have your mower serviced.


Thatch removal -Check your thatch layer each spring. , sometimes your lawn looks weird because its ´hydrophobic, ´ meaning heavy thatch is blocking water movement. This condition also prevents your fertilizers and pesticides from the roots. Generally speaking, a thatch layer greater than 1/4 inch can cause problems.  Rent a de-thacher and thin out your turf . Don?t go crazy!  We are just removing the thatch.  Prepare for a long day of work and a lot of trash bags because you will need to pick up all the debris.  You should wait until after the first frost to de-thatch if you are up north.

Daves_greek_photos_180 Seeding or sodding – If you?re planning on planting seed this time of year it wouldn?t be a bad idea. Plant your bluegrass seed now…. not during the summer.  You will get better germination. If you live in the south and have that wonderful St. Augustine or Bermuda type turf grass for your lawn you are really starting to get busy.  Soil temperatures for growing plugs or sprigs of this type of turf should be around 57 degrees before they really start to take off.


Fertilize with a complete type fertilizer.  First one in the northeast would be late march. If you really want to fertilize properly take a soil sample of your lawn to your local extension office or university and have them provide an analysis.  Other fertilizer companies like lesco or Scotts also offer these programs.  If you don?t want to spend the 25 bucks for the report try to establish an annual fertilizer program using a balanced fertilizer  Ferts are broken up into ratios like 4-1-2 or 3-1-2 to give those little grass blades a well balanced meal!

    1. The first number is Nitrogen. This really makes the leaf grow

    2. The second is phosphorous. This one helps the stem and rhizome development

    3. And the last is potassium.  This one helps the root growth and makes the plan stronger.

Good luck and if you need more info send me an email.  If I can?t help you out?.I will find someone that can!

Normally about this time each year your home lawn starts to "perk up".  If it isn?t, you might be missing something.  Many people have specific lawn care maintenance programs that they stick with year after year.  Establishing consistency is really important.  Good luck and don?t pack that snow suit up quite yet.