Baseball dirt for a pump track?

I am in the planning stages for a pumptrack at our local trails and was wondering if the red dirt, like what is used for baseball diamonds, would work well for a track or should I stick with top soil.

Hey Evan,

Wow, cool idea. Let’s learn about this together …

From “Baseball Diamond Mix is baseball’s premium infield mix. It provides firm traction, good drainage, reddish/orange color, works up readily, free of stones, no separation of ingredients, long lasting, safe to slide on — a save, attractive, reliable, and playable infield.”

Another description from “Beam Clay … not too hard or too soft. Made from uniform orange sand and red clay. Provides firm traction, excellent drainage, and reddish/orange color. Works up readily. … Doesn’t separate and blow away — lasts longer! Firm yet soft — a safer playing surface!”

That all sounds pretty good.

But: Every baseball diamond I’ve seen was loose-over-hardpack. Unless it was very fine-particle clay, I think you’d tear up the surface — especially in the high-G berms. Also, when clay gets wet then dries, it tends to crack. says you maintain the surface by watering it, rolling it then dragging a matt across it. That might work on your pump track, but it sounds like a pain.

I used topsoil on most of my pump track, and I didn’t have to do a darn thing for over a year.

If you try the red clay, let me know how it goes. Good luck!

— Lee

3 replies
  1. MW says:

    I just added a bunch of sand to my Pump Track (built from top soil) in hopes of keeping the soil from cracking. Its Ok when wet when but real loose when dry. I think infield mix is never really ment to get solid. I love a good blue groove corner and the sand isnt letting that happen.I now have to prep it to ride were the plain top soil may get weeds but you can just ride it day in and day out. My 2 cents.

  2. Keith says:

    Contact the ABA they use a surface sealent used by the military for building landing strips in the sand on tracks build with crappy dirt. The stuff sprayed on and the track set up hard as concrete. Serious blue groves.. They can also tell you the type of soil they use for track building.

  3. Wayne says:

    If you have a weed problem, and are ok with the use of chemistry, they spray a weed pre-emergent. It prevents seeds from germinating. If you already have a weed problem, then mix some weed killer with the pre-emergent and you can control it all in one shot.

    Better riding through chemistry.

    FWIW, softball fields are frequently more of a gold color. This is from using gold fine. If it is a silver color it is granite fine. Gold find and granite fine are crushed rock. No clay content so it won’t stick together very well, but it will drain well.I don’t think these would work any better than the red baseball infield dirt for jump building. But they ought to work well for straight aways that traverse a swampy area.

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