You just got new sod installed, but that lush green look started to fade right away. What is going on? When new sod is turning brown before it can even establish itself and turn into a lawn, something is going wrong. There are a few mistakes your sod installer may have made to cause this (and a few things that might have been outside of their control.) Here are the reasons your new sod is brown and what you can do about it.

1. Underwatering

Easily the most common reason that sod turns brown is that it is not getting enough water. New sod has shallow roots that can only access a small portion of the ground, and that portion dries out fast. Your sod installer should have recommended a watering cycle and, hopefully, you stuck to it. If you have a smart sprinkler system, they may even program the schedule to save you the hassle.

Sod may also be underwatered if it happens to be much warmer than expected in the days and weeks following the installation. Sometimes underwatered sod can be partly saved, or you can at least stop the spread of brown, but you need to start watering it more right away.

2. Old/Poor Quality Sod

Sometimes sod that was left outside too long, either by the supplier or your installer, may turn brown because it is dying. In this case, there is little you can do to fix the sod. A reputable installer won’t install sod that they know will turn brown, but sometimes mistakes happen at the supplier end. The installer should replace any brown sod caused by the supplier’s neglect. Be sure they’ll have a word with them too because it is a huge cost on their business and time to be replacing bad sod.

3. Drainage or Species Mistakes

Different species of grass have different needs for water, and they also need correct drainage in order to avoid being swamped or dried out. Ideally, your landscaper would have graded the space and designed the sprinkler system to provide proper water and drainage. Also, they should have chosen a grass species that works with your conditions, and this is often more complicated than simply choosing a cool or warm-season variety.

When drainage or species mistakes have been made, you may need to install the sod to fix the mistake.

4. Soil Problems

Before they put down your sod, your landscapers should also have checked the pH of the soil to ensure it was right for your new grass. Improper pH can cause the grass to go brown, and it is harder to fix once the sod is in place. An overabundance of nitrogen, usually due to over-fertilizing, can also cause your grass to go brown.

A professional can help you adjust your soil to correct issues.

5. Mowing or Compaction

If you mow your lawn or place something on it too soon after sod installation, it may turn brown. Talk to your landscaper about when you will be able to mow or place something on your new sod.