So, it looks like we’re going to have to wait until the season starts for the Inside the Dodgers tour. I promise it will still happen, but as you might have heard, we’re actually re-doing the entire field and it’ll be better for you all to see it when it’s done. For those who understand horticulture better than I, here’s a description of what is taking place from our rockstar head grounds crew member, Eric Hansen.
“As you look down over the next 10 days you will see quite a transformation. This project began yesterday (Sunday) morning at about 7 AM with the removal of existing turf and scheduled to conclude the middle of next week with the installation of new sod. We will install the same type of turf as was removed which is a hybrid bermudagrass base (Tifway 419) over seeded with a perennial rye. West Coast Turf in Palm Desert will be providing and installing the turf. West Coast Turf is the company that provides most of the turf to the high profile stadiums in the South and Southwest. They are also the company that has provided the turf for most of the Super Bowls.
This is what you can expect to see over the next few days. The sod is being removed by a machine (Karol Toymaker) that uses teeth that cut and shred the material (sod & soil) at a depth of approximately two inches. At the present time, Bush Turf is close to finishing its first pass. They will make a second pass over the entire field to clean up the organic matter still remaining on the surface. Once this is finished, approximately 200 – 300 tons of sand will be added to the field to replace that which was removed. Once this is finished, 2000 lbs of gypsum (Calcium) will be applied to the surface and blended into the top 6″ of soil. By the way, our soil profile consists of approximately 12″ of high quality sand meeting well defined specifications. Once this phase is completed, the sprinkler heads that we have buried will be raised and set. The sand will be watered to help it settle and grading will begin. Bush Turf will use a blade equipped with two receivers that read a signal sent from a laser set up on pitchers mound. The signal being sent are predetermined elevations programmed into the transmitter. The blade on the tractor adjusts up or down based on the signal it receives. With this equipment the field can easily be graded with 1/8″ – ¼’ of desired elevations. Once the grading is finished, the only thing left to do with the soil prior to installing sod is apply preplan fertilizer and wait for the sod to show up.
There are a few other things that will also occur. We also have to work on the infield skin which will involve blending amendments into the profile and then finishing with a final laser grade. Also, once the turf has been installed, we will add about 50 tons of new warning track material which will help freshen up the color and appearance.”
It’s obviously quite complicated but that’s why he does what he does and we do what we do, right? All I know is that a few years ago, Major Leaguers rated our field as the best to play on, so I know that we’re in good hands with Eric and his crew. In the meantime, thanks for your patience on the tour. We’ll definitely set it up when we get back from Spring Training…