Even though dogs are considered “man’s best friend,” the one thing they can do that isn’t so friendly is wreck havoc on your lawn. Damage caused by dog urine (and sometimes feces) typically looks round in shape and can range from a few inches to about a foot in diameter. The middle of the shape is burnt or brown while the edges are a dark, lush green that is much taller than the surrounding grass.
Why does urine and feces damage or kill turf? While it actually contains many of the same elements of fertilizer, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the large distribution of minerals concentrated in one area is too much for turf to handle. This causes turf burn and often decay.
Many people believe that female dog urine is more damaging than male dog urine. But in reality, the actual chemical composition of the urine is pretty much the same for both genders. It’s how they go about their business that can cause issues. Most male dogs will lift a leg and urinate, spreading the urine out over a larger area of turf. On the other hand, female dogs squat, causing a higher concentration of urine in one spot, which results in a burn that looks similar to fertilizer burn.
How to Stop Turf Damage
Here are a couple of common tips that I’ve seen other homeowners take to prevent damage:
- Create an area of your property using mulch or bark where your dog can go to the bathroom. Training your dog to go in one specified area can ensure he or she doesn’t accidentally urinate on the turf.
- Use a garden hose to immediately spray down the area. I understand that doing this at 5 or 6 a.m. on a chilly spring or fall morning sounds brutal, but so does paying someone to repair the lawn! This can get very expensive and set your lawn back years.
- Ensure your turf receives enough water and is properly maintained with a regular fertilizing program. This will not completely solve the problem, but it can help slightly minimize damage by trying to mask the impact.
How to Repair Affected Areas
Some damaged areas may…and I emphasize ‘may’…come back on their own, especially if there wasn’t a lot of urine present or it’s a one-time occurrence. Historically, however, these areas become weak and die over time. Bare areas eventually emerge, spread, and always become infested with weeds and crabgrass. To repair, remove the affected soil, lay down new loam, and reseed.
We service parts of Norfolk and Bristol County, Massachusetts. Towns include Foxborough, Mansfield, Wrentham, Walpole, Plainville, Franklin, parts of Medfield, Medway & Millis, Stoughton, Sharon, Canton, North Attleborough, Attleborough, Easton, and Norton. Learn more about our Complete Lawn Care program.
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We service parts of Norfolk and Bristol County, Massachusetts. Towns include Foxborough, Mansfield, Wrentham, Walpole, Plainville, Franklin, Norfolk, Stoughton, Sharon, Norwood, Canton, North Attleborough, Attleboro, Easton, Norton, and parts of Medfield, Medway & Millis. Learn more about our Complete Lawn Care program.