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How to Have a Better Baseball Field Next Spring

The following is an article written by Darren Johnson.  Darren has over 25 years of experience in Athletic Field Maintenance.  Many of you may know Darren as the former Grounds Manager for the Lynchburg Hillcats.  We at Gary’s Garden Center are proud to have Darren on our Staff.  If you have needs for your field come by and talk to Darren.

Darren has shared excellent information for anyone involved in maintaining little league or school athletic fields that are in use year round.   Cost estimates are based on current prices when this article was written (May 2016).

This article is for those of you who have ever tried to maintain athletic fields in the midst of constant play and no consistent water source.  This process may sound daunting but in reality should take you less than six hour of total labor.   Should only cost around $300 and you only need a pump sprayer, a spreader, an aerator and a riding lawn mower.

Step 1

The process starts in early August with the application of 400 lbs of lime.  Which should cost around $40.

Step 2

Purchase a concentrated post-emergent broadleaf weed killer and spray your entire field.  Two applications may be necessary one week apart.  This should cost you no more than $25 and should be completed by August 15.

Step 3

Purchase 50 lbs of Tall Turf Type Fescue and 50 lbs Perennial Rye Grass as well as 2 bags of 16-4-8 Fertilizer.  In the middle of September aerate your field in two directions to tear it up well.  Spread 40 lbs of each type of grass seed mixing it equally.  Also, apply both bags of 16-4-8 Fertilizer.  Let your aeration plugs dry for a couple of hours and then use your infield drag pulled behind a gator or lawn mower and drag over all your grass a couple of times to break up the cores and aerate for good seed to soil contact.  This will increase your grass germination rate.  It is also helpful to put a couple of spare tires on your drag to increase the weight.

Step 4

If possible, but not necessary, give the field 7-10 days of rest or until it gets a good rain before continuing play.  Use your remaining grass seed as needed to put in spots that may be a little weak.

For more information about this plan or to implement it come see me at Gary’s Garden Center.


Darren Johnson

25 Years of Athletic Field Maintenance Experience

Maintenance Tips for Spring


Gary's Lawn and Garden Maintenance Tips for Spring

Lawn and garden work will start in full swing with the warmer weather  and hopefully a few showers.  Following is some helpful advice to use as the spring progresses.

1.       Most flowers and vegetables can now be safely planted outside.  The old rule of thumb was not to plant anything that wasn’t frost hardy until after Mother’s Day.  That is still a good rule to go by.  Today, however, most of us are impatient and don’t want to wait that late.  So we take the risk and plant.  I would probably not plant any more than I could protect if we had a late cold snap.  I would take a chance and get in some things early.

2.       Mowing will now start in full swing.  The most important thing I can point out is if you want a nice lawn you will mow by how fast the grass grows and not a weekly schedule.  You should never cut off more than an inch of new growth.  In early spring this may mean mowing every 2 to 3 days. Fescue should be cut no shorter than 2 ½ to 3 inches with 3 being best.  Mower blades should be very sharp so they cut the grass rather than beat it off.  When you mow your lawn and about 30 minutes after you finish the lawn has a whitish cast that is a great sign that your mower blades are dull.  String trimming, after you mow, will give the lawn a finished look.

3.       Spring blooming shrubs, such as azaleas, should be pruned within four to six weeks after they finish blooming.  They start to set bloom for next spring within a few weeks after bloom drops.

4.       If you did not get beds cleaned and mulched over the winter it would be a good idea to do so as soon as possible.  A part of this process would be pruning out any dead or broken branches that might have accumulated over the winter.

5.       Continue to weed beds either chemically or by hand as least every two weeks.  I much prefer using Roundup to hand weeding.  Don’t let the chemical come into contact with the foliage of the plants you don’t want to kill.

6.       Gardens, flowers and shrubs should be monitored closely for insect activity.  Spraying should be done as soon as you are aware of a problem.  If you don’t see bugs you likely don’t have an insect problem.  Lots of things can cause damage to plants other than insects.  If you have holes in the leaves or brown tips on the leaves that is more than likely caused by water standing on the leaves and not insects. Insects eat from the outside and not holes in the leaf.

7.       In warm, humid weather plants should also be monitored for disease on the plant.  If a problem occurs the plants should be sprayed with a fungicide.

8.       Broadleaf weeds are now popping up in large numbers in most yards.  Most of these can easily be controlled with a trimec, either liquid or granular.  You will get a better kill with liquid than you will with granular.  In order for the chemical to work it has to stick to the plant.  It is hard to get the granules to adhere to the plant.

9.        It is not too late to over-seed.  Remember if you treat for weeds, you should not try to seed 30 days before or after the weed treatment.  If you applied a pre-emergent chemical in the spring then you should wait until fall to overseed.   


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Plant of the Week - Roses


Start your Roses off right by making sure you grow them in a good spot.  
Roses do best in full sun (at lease 6 hours of direct sun each day)
and well drained soil that's rich in organic matter.



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