Keep new sod from turning brown by preparing the soil beforehand, providing plenty of water, waiting to fertilize and filling any air pockets that form under the sod. With proper care, sod creates a lush green lawn sooner than seeding.
Prior to laying the sod, prepare the soil and eliminate any compaction. Compacted soil prevents water from soaking in and turns it away from the roots. If the sod is already in place and compacted soil is a problem, lift the sod and use a screwdriver to create holes in the soil. This aerates the soil and encourages growth, keeping the sod green.
Newly planted sod requires more moisture than an established lawn. During the first seven to 10 days, water it four times each day. Reduce the watering to once per day during the second week. After a month, water the sod one to two times per week. The reduced watering schedule causes the roots to grow deeper.
Fertilizing the new sod during the first two months after laying it is likely to cause brown spots. During these early months, the root system remains shallow and the roots are unable to absorb the nutrients. Excess nitrogen from the fertilizer leaches into the soil and burns the roots, leading to brown spots.
If the soil under the sod settles away from the grass roots, it forms an air pocket that does not support the roots. Roll back the new sod, and fill the hole with additional soil. Return the sod to its original position.