June 12, 2013

Doggie Damage

Summer is here, and you can’t wait to host a slew of parties and cookouts! The patio furniture is out, the pool is open, and the lawn is fertilized and manicured - but, oh, there are some circular, brown, dead spots in the grass over by the tree line. Wait… did we just say dead spots?

Dead Spots – Dog owners will attest to the fact that keeping a beautiful lawn as well as a healthy pet is a difficult task. Not only do dogs dig holes and litter the yard with chew toys, but those dead spots we mentioned - yeah, they cause those, too. Dead spots are formed when your dog continuously urinates in the same spot, as most dogs do, since they are habitual creatures. Surprisingly enough, urine actually contains many of the same elements that are used in lawn fertilizer. How, then, is it damaging? Ever heard the phrase, "Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing?" This is a perfect example. While fertilizer and a little bit of dog tinkle can be good for your lawn, spilling fertilizer in a concentrated area can kill your grass. The same is true when your dog continues to pee in the same spot. Each species of grass is a little bit different, and each tolerates urea differently, as well. Some may find dead spots appearing at the tail end of the summer, while others will notice them immediately.

Prevention and Treatment – It is much easier to prevent dead spots than it is to treat them, so be proactive. In order to prevent dead spots from ever forming, train your dog to relieve himself somewhere other than on your lawn - perhaps in the woods. If you live in an urban area and the front lawn is all you have, simply mulch a small area or put down stones and train him to do his business there. Again, dogs are incredibly habitual, so once he’s trained to use the new area, he’ll use it every time. If your pooch simply will not switch up his old habits, there are other ways to battle dead spots. First of all, diluting the urine will help keep the area from damaging the roots. If your dog is on a potty schedule, why not turn the sprinkler system on after he’s done. This will help wash the urine past the root zone. If your dog has potent urine, you could also to increase his water intake. If he won’t drink more on his own, try mixing water into his dog food. By getting more water in his diet, his urine will naturally be less potent. 


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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