August 25, 2011

Reasons for a Patchy Lawn

The most frustrating thing for some people is having a beautiful, lush lawn one day and then somehow, they turn their backs for a moment and then realize their lawn has terrible dead spots. If you have found yourself throwing your hands up in the air at the brown patches in your lawn, Sprinkler Juice is here to help.

What could possibly kill your grass that fast?

Your problem could be that you're lacking one too many sprinkler heads. If your sprinklers don't overlap, see Installing a New Sprinkler Head for a step by step guide to getting your lawn back on track.

However, it's possible that your lawn is getting the right amount of water everywhere and some other factor is playing into the destruction of your lawn.

Dog Pee

Yep, I said it. Do you own a dog? Does your neighbor own a dog? Did you know dog urine can kill grass? One victim writes:
"Our female dog is ruining our lawn. Every time she urinates an ugly brown burn is the result a few days later. We cannot control where she goes all the time, although we have a side yard. Does anybody have experience with this. I was hoping for some kind of diet solution. Help!"

Could this be YOUR problem as well? Green Side Up gives an excellent explanation for why dog urine kills grass.

All dog’s urine contains urea, a form of ammonia which converts to nitrates. Concentrated nitrates burn plants. It’s as simple as that! The level of urea will vary, with the first morning pee having the highest concentration. Urea can actually be good for your lawn if used in low doses; in fact, it’s a component of many fertilizers.

If you pay attention, you will see that the area immediately around a dead spot in your grass will actually be dark green and growing well. You would see a similar result if you poured a cup of fertilizer in one spot on your grass. The spot where you poured that fertilizer would probably die, but the surrounding areas would turn dark green. So you see, the problem is not necessarily the pee, it’s the concentration of the urea in the animals’ pee."

Solutions to your Grass Killing, Dog Pee Problems

  • Water down the pee right after your dog goes potty Or you can just keep your lawn good and wet with your sprinkler system and Orbit sprinkler parts.
  • Train your pet to only go in one area(like a side yard, on the rocks, on a bush you don't like.. on you're spouse's shoe..
  • Make sure your dog drinks lots of water Keeping them hydrated will make them pee more, but it will be more diluted and won't contain as many harmful chemicals.
  • Add an additional teaspoon of Brewer's Yeast to your dog's daily diet
  • Sprinkle a bit of lime over the dead spots This is said to alter the pH of the soil. Lime and dog pee cancel each other out somehow.
Female dogs' urine is much more potent than that of male dogs. Females also like to stay organized by peeing in the same one or two spots over and over again. So if you have a female pup and your lawn is not showing severe signs of struggle, train your dog now to pee in a safe place or get used to watering down the areas that she's already trained to pee.

If you are considering getting a dog and love your lawn, consider a male.


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

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