SANTA CLARA (KCBS) – Crews at Levi’s Stadium began tearing up the grass on the new field Thursday morning after turf problems Wednesday prompted the team to relocate a practice session to the team’s training facility because of the slippery sod.
The 49ers are replacing the sod after just one preseason game at the newly-opened $1.3 billion facility and just three days ahead of their second preseason game Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. The team issued a statement Wednesday saying the field will be playable for Sunday’s game against the Chargers.
It appeared the portion to be replaced will be limitied to the area between the goal lines and the sidelines.
The Levi’s Stadium field will be getting a lot of work ahead of the 49ers first regular season home game on September 14 against the Chicago Bears. On August 29th, there will be two high school football games on the field and on September 8 Mexico will face Chile in an exhibition soccer match.
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On Wednesday, head coach Jim Harbaugh abruptly stopped practice and pulled the team from the new field after a wide receiver lost his footing and fell hard running a pass route on uneven turf.
The sod laid in April still hasn’t taken root despite assurances in spring from West Coast Turf that this new blend of Bermuda grass would be great for football.
In April, spokesman Greg Dunn promised there would be “more than adequate time” for the new blend of Bermuda grass known as Bandera Bermuda to grow properly and be ready for play when the stadium opened.
“We’re coming into the best growing season. April, May and June are just ideal for growing grass,” he said.
Yet after Sunday’s preseason game against Denver, the turf was full of divots.
Dunn said the team chose Bandera Bermuda because of its high tensile strength and its ability to hold together and provide solid footing for cleats. Bandera Bermuda also requires less water than other types of grass used at other National Football League facilities.