Brown Spots in New Sod

Brown spots in new sod is very common due to lack of water.

What causes brown spots

As cooler spring days fade into the heat of summer, new lawns are plagued with brown spots. This is an easy fix! Typically, brown spots are caused by a lack of watering. New sod is especially prone to drying out because of its shallow root system. Brown spots occur when sod dries out and experiences drought shock. Sod will go into dormancy to combat the lack of water it’s experiencing. Once dormant, it needs water or it will die. Oftentimes, edges of sod dry out first because they are exposed to the moist air. Spotting in sod occurs for a variety of reasons, but it mostly depends on how water is dispersed around the yard. If the grade of your lawn has dips and valleys, it can cause uneven watering patterns. If certain spots get less water, even a tiny bit less, it could be enough to turn them brown.

Why is new sod more prone to brown spots?

New sod has a very shallow and underdeveloped root system that’s only about ¾ of an inch deep. Wind or hot air can cause the plant to dry out. A lot of times the ground below new sod will be wet but the sod itself is drying out. The root system needs a chance to establish deeper into the ground before it can access that water. Without a more mature root system, new sod relies on you to keep it watered. It takes 6-8 weeks for the sod to establish a strong enough root system to take in water from the ground. In the meantime, it’s up to you to keep it well watered while it grows!

How do I fix brown spots in my lawn?

Now that you know a little more about why brown spots are caused, you’re probably wondering how to fix them. The answer is water. Especially with the hot summer weather. Oftentimes watering every day is not enough for new lawns! If the grass is dry, it needs water. Especially in the first 8 weeks after it’s installed. Watering your lawn for a longer period at night is a great idea. It gives the sod a thorough drink that won’t evaporate right away with the heat of the day. It’s still important to periodically water throughout the day.

Will Fertilizer fix brown spots?

Fertilizer won’t help your grass until it’s green and healthy again. If the sod is dying, the fertilizer won’t take. Wait to fertilize until it has greened back up. Once your sod is healthy, fertilizer helps it grow and establish the deeper root system it needs. So what it comes down to is more frequent irrigation cycles and hand watering the brown spots until that root system becomes established.

Although brown spots in new lawns can be frustrating, it’s sod’s way of asking for a drink. So keep your brand new lawn happy and healthy by making sure it gets plenty of water when brown spots appear!

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