After only three events at the Levi's Stadium, Matt Maiocco reported on Thursday morning the stadium's the heavy-traffic area of grass was torn up from goal line to goal line. Apparently, the 49ers plan is to re-sod the field so it can provide solid enough footing for Sunday's exhibition game against the San Diego Chargers.
Yesterday, Jim Harbaugh cancelled the final open practice and ushered the team off the field due to poor field conditions. Shortly thereafter, 49ers released a statement indicating it had "determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers."
A source with direct knowledge of the Levi's Stadium field reached out to Niners Nation earlier today. The source indicated the 49ers will be patching up the field and re-sodding it as a temporary fix. We are starting to see this from the helicopter pictures. According to NN's source, yesterday's sod problem was due to the sand base underneath the grass. It is believed the turf was grown on the wrong type of sand, which is a major factor in growing these turfs. The comparison given was grass at a golf course, where the divet fillers are comprised of sand, fertilizer and seed.
We did a little bit of research on quick re-sodding efforts, and came across a situation that closely parallels what the 49ers have to do for Sunday. The grounds crew is likely to employ a strategy that was used for the Rose Bowl in 2007. The Rose Bowl needed a fresh new field installed to host the BCS Citi National Championship game -- and it had to be ready in just 6 days.
The Rose Bowl arrived at a solution that would involve grabbing sod that has more dirt underneath, thus allowing for deeper roots for the grass. They opted to use an overlay technique, and the sod was so heavy that it stayed in place and did not move. It worked and the field looked bright green, seamless, lush and the conditions could not have been better. It seems logical to believe this is what the 49ers will do for Sunday's game against the Chargers.
Although the helicopter photos obtained by CSN Authentic appear to be a major undertaking, based on the information provided to Niners Nation, it is merely a temporary solution. After the exhibition game on Sunday, there are two more high school games to be played. Apparently, next Saturday, the 49ers are planning to tear up the entire field and replace the sand base that was put down in mid-April.
According to the source, once the proper sand is put down, the grass should mesh within 10-days. So, from August 30, the 49ers will have 14-days for it to set. It should be noted, even at Candlestick and at other stadiums, it is not uncommon for organizations to change out the field a few times a year. It is unknown why it took the 49ers this long to discover that the turf had been grown on the wrong sand base.
In any event, the 49ers seem to be taking the field conditions at Levi's seriously and are making every effort to make sure the turf is ready and safe by the home opener on September 14.