Most people think that we ground keepers have nothing to do this time of year since winter is here and there is no baseball playing. This notion is far from reality. We just need to work more efficiently since there is less daylight.
The first thing we need to think about is how can we protect our fields during the upcoming winter months. Some of the tasks that can be completed this time of year are as follows:
- Protect the mounds from the rains that we will get in January and February with good heavy duty tarps. I use round tarps for the mounds and stake them to the ground to stay in place when the winter winds blow. The key here is to keep the mound from eroding and washing into the normally flat infield that surrounds the mound. When the mound washes it creates a volcano type effect by raising the grade around the mound. Unchecked this will lead to an area where the ball will take a bad bounce and where sod will need to be replaced often. I normally remove the tarps from the home plate areas to allow rain to soften the dirt.
- If you have dormant Bermuda grass and stubborn weeds that have lingered green a little longer, now is the time to zap them. You can use any broadleaf weed killer as it will not harm the dormant grass.
- Winter feeding and lime application can be done at any time. If you are below the gnat line now would be a good time to use a pre-emergence. But never with very young grass or within 8 weeks of when you want to seed as it will stop good grass from growing also.
- Let's not forget those mechanical wonders that help us work. Use a fuel stabilizer to prevent water in the tank. Change the oil, sharpen those blades and take your equipment in for a tune up while you don't need it. You will be glad you do.