Artifical Turf Baseball and Softball Field Warning Track Options
Warning tracks are an integral safety component of baseball and softball fields whether they are natural grass or synthetic turf fields. Their sole purpose is to keep athletes safe by warning them they are close to the edge of the field and approaching a fence or wall. Warning tracks have also been used to add school branding colors and visually appealing contrasts to artificial turf athletic fields.
Artificial Grass Field Warning Track Surface Options
When installing an artificial turf baseball or softball field, you have a few different surfacing options available for building your warning track, and all of them have their own pros and cons. The best option for your artificial turf field depends upon your facility’s priorities and maintenance staff. The key features to keep in mind when evaluating a warning track are athlete safety, aesthetics, and the maintenance requirements with that surface. Maintenance of a warning track can vary based on material, use, budget, and facility staff availability.
Common Artificial Turf Warning Track Materials Include:
Clay has historically been one of the most common warning track choices and similar to a clay infield or pitchers mound, the con to this surface is the heavy maintenance associated with keeping the clay out of the surrounding artificial grass. Clay tends to be messier and mixes with the other components of your turf system such as the infill adding complexity to your maintenance routine. If you opt to choose a clay outfield, we recommend that you regularly roll and drag the warning track like you would a clay infield.
Rocks, gravel, and sand are typically a cheaper warning track option but they lack the aesthetics provided by a clay or artificial turf warning track. They can also lead to premature turf fiber degradation of your surrounding artificial turf outfield. This happens due to the sharp edges of the material repetitively rubbing against the turf fibers and wearing them down faster than the typical lifespan of the turf surface.
Artificial turf warning tracks are becoming a more popular surface option. Before, field owners were hesitant about installing artificial turf warning tracks in artificial turf fields because the surface change from the outfield to the warning track was not dramatic enough to warn an outfielder running full speed at a wall or fence. Now, with the advancement of the artificial turf industry, warning tracks come in all colors offering a vivid aesthetic for prospects in the stands as well as a color change for young athletes. They can also be installed with progressive artificial turf infill options providing a unique auditory cue and under foot feel that signals to the athletes they are nearing a structure.
Hit A Homerun With A Safeshell Artificial Turf Warning Track
Artificial turf warning tracks installed with Safeshell natural infill will elevate your baseball field design and safety. Safeshell is the low maintenance organic infill option made of 100% USA-grown walnut shells. Safeshell is an allergen free patent-pending infill crafted from a blend of well-rounded Black and English walnut shells that results in the perfect balance of firm and fast for player-friendly fields. With the added benefit of evaporative cooling, wet or dry safeshell provides a cooler surface.
Safeshell is the preferred baseball and softball artificial turf warning track infill for five reasons:
1. Audible Cue
Safeshell has a unique texture that’s leveraged during installation so that players will hear it underfoot as soon as they make contact with it.
2. Feel Underfoot
Safeshell is a high-performing (and completely natural) turf infill with a very distinctive underfoot feel that players in the outfield notice.
3. Limited Product Migration
Safeshell’s high density turf infill grains prevent migration and are more cost-effective than warning tracks with other infill products because they require less topping off as more of the product is retained in the system.
4. No Turf Fiber Degradation or Mess
Safeshell is a non-toxic, high-performance infill that’s made from 100% natural materials. It’s leagues ahead of the commonly used materials in warning track applications.
5. Added Layer of Player Safety
Installing a Safeshell warning track is a great way to keep athletes safe while they focus on what they are there to do – win.
At the end of the day, the best artificial turf warning track for your field depends upon your budget, maintenance staff availability, location and desired aesthetics.
Check out our recent baseball field case study featuring a Safeshell warning track. For more information on Safeshell warning track specification and testing, download our Safeshell Warning Track One Pager.