49ers with Matt Barrows

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Here’s the dirt on what’s happening at Levi’s Stadium

08/22/2014 2:10 PM

08/24/2014 7:02 AM

SANTA CLARA -- San Francisco 49ers COO Al Guido spent 20 minutes with reporters Friday discussing the playing field at Levi's Stadium. Here's everything you ever wanted to know about stadium grass:

What's happening now?

The 49ers ripped out the playing field – from sideline to sideline and from goal line to goal line – on Thursday. At about 4 a.m. Friday they began rolling down a heavier, 1 ½-inch thick sod that will serve as the playing surface for Sunday's game against the Chargers. The 49ers say that surface should be fine for that game.

Then what will happen?

After the game, the 49ers likely will start removing the grass and adjusting the composition of the soil underneath. They currently are consulting with soil experts – including those at the NFL – on exactly how to proceed. When the soil is right, they will lay down more new sod, either the same Bandera Bermuda that was originally put down in April, or Tifway, which is another popular strain for NFL fields. Whichever product looks the best at the sod farm at the time will be used. That new sod will be put down on the entire field to accommodate the wider pitch required for soccer.

What went wrong?

That’s still being examined, but the general issue was not with the grass itself but with the composition below it. It was too soft, which caused the grass on top to slide underfoot and to create large divots. That's what prompted the 49ers to halt Wednesday's practice.

What happens to the other events?

The two high school games that were scheduled to be played at Levi's Stadium Aug. 29 will be played elsewhere. The four teams involved – Jesuit, De La Salle, Wilcox and Manteca – will play under the Levi's lights in October. Santa Clara will play Wilcox followed by Elk Grove vs. Jesuit on Oct. 10. The next day’s double header will be Oakdale vs. Manteca, then James Logan vs. De La Salle. The soccer game between Mexico and Chile Sept. 6 will not be rescheduled.

Will the 49ers consider an artificial surface?

Guido said, no, certainly not right away. “We feel very confident that we can maintain great grass in this climate,” he said.

About This Blog

Matt Barrows was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Sacramento Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the San Francisco 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green. Reach Barrows at mbarrows@sacbee.com.
Twitter: @mattbarrows

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