AN INFIELD LIP is created when infield soil is moved from the skinned area of a field, to the edges of turf. As the soil particles are moved into the grass due to dragging, water movement, play, and/or wind, they are “filtered out”. This begins the process of Lip development. Grass begins to take hold in the additional layers of infield mix and as the process repeats itself, water collects at the edge and our skinned area begins to fail.
So, what can we do?
Lip Removal: Remove the turf from the top of the lip. Remove the excess soil until a natural transition is achieved between the skinned area and the turf. If necessary, sod or seed to establish a new turf edge. Be certain that water is able to flow across the transition point with no resistance. Suggested equipment would include: Power rake, grader, skid steer, sod cutter, edger, shovel and rake, pressure washer.
Lip Maintenance: The best method for handling lips is to not let them develop! This is accomplished by removing the infield mix from the turf before it has a chance to accumulate. Brooming the particles back onto the field is the most common practice but other methods are also used. Suggested equipment would include a Hand broom, leaf rake, power broom, street sweeper, blower, and pressure washer. It is critical to consistently practice lip maintenance.
Use the Right Infield Soil: One of the biggest factors in lip development (and the least recognized) is utilizing an infield soil that does not contain the proper combination of particle sizes. Often, soils containing a high percentage of similar particles are much easier to move and thus accelerate lip development (ex. pond sand). You lose hours and hours of valuable time just trying to keep your surface in place – it’s a losing battle! Use a quality infield soil.