SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh cut short the 49ers' final public practice at Levi's Stadium on Wednesday after divots kept coming up and players such as Stevie Johnson perilously lost footing on the 4-month-old sod.
Johnson wiped out making a cut near the north end zone, and after one more play, Harbaugh led his team off the torn-up field, which is scheduled to host Sunday's nationally televised exhibition against the San Diego Chargers.
The 49ers, after about an hour of drills inside Levi's Stadium, left to finish practice on their normal training fields behind the adjacent headquarters.
It was the 49ers' third practice inside their new $1.3 billion stadium, and one of the consolations offered to the 10,000 fans was free entry into the team's on-site museum. Later, the club issued a statement: "The 49ers organization would like to apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced by today's practice ending early. We have determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers."
A team spokesman would not reveal further details about the plans or whether the sod would be replaced in its entirety.
Field conditions had team officials concerned from the start of practice. Team president Paraag Marathe, COO Al Guido and general manager Trent Baalke huddled with head groundskeeper Matthew Greiner as practice unfolded.
Players, and even Baalke, repeatedly tried patting down divots, which often came up from pass rushers and linemen.
On Tuesday, the grounds crew replaced several patches of sod, in 1-foot-by-3-foot segments, throughout the field.
Field conditions were called into question after the 49ers' first game Sunday, a 34-0 exhibition loss to the Denver Broncos. Safety Eric Reid noted that the sod was coming up and likely needed more time to take root.
"Might have been a spot here or there but overall very good," Harbaugh said after the game about the turf.
Livingston-based West Coast Turf began installing the 2.5 acres of Bermuda Bandera sod April 17. That type of grass was heralded for its ability to withstand heavy use in variable climates, requiring 50 percent less water than the average turf. The Levi's Stadium sod began growing in the fall of 2012.
Before the turf's installation, Harbaugh said he expected the grass to be like an Augusta National fairway, though he presumably didn't anticipate it looking like a divot-filled tee box.