If you are a dog owner then I am sure you know quite a bit about this, having to deal with your dog’s urine and the dead grass patches it creates on your manicured lawn is one of the most annoying jobs you have to carry out on your lawn. It is not like you can tell your dog to stop urinating, you can do your best to encourage and train them to use a designated area, but depending on your skills and your dog’s willingness to comply this will have various degrees of success.
To help you out, below I have explained how you can reduce the damage and, if you are too late, how you can treat the resultant bald patches.
How it Affects The Lawn
The chemical urea is present in all dogs urine. Urea is a form of nitrogen which converts to nitrates, it can actually be good for your lawn in small doses and it is even found in some fertilisers. Not only that but you can find nutrients like potassium and phosphorus within it which also promote good lawn health. So it is not the ingredients which are the problem.
When your dog urinates on your lawn, its urine has such high concentration of nitrogen that it is poisonous and destroys the grass within a few days. This is the reason why you will see those yellow patches. It is the concentration that is deadly not the chemicals.
But after a week or so you will see that a ring of tall, green and healthy looking grass has grown around the bare patch. This is because the urine has became diluted from either rainfall or the moisture within the lawn, the concentration of nitrogen has reduced in this area, and therefore it will act as a fertiliser and feed the lawn (it certainly highlights the bare patch even more).
First and foremost the best way to treat dog urine is to prevent it in the first place. I know this is very hard to do and it is unlikely they will listen but you might as well try. You can either stop your dog from urinating in the garden all together, by taking them out on regular walks, encourage them to urinate in a specific area which you don’t mind getting damaged or you could purchase some supplements added to their water or food to neutralise their urine. This will minimise the urine damage on your grass but I would recommend that you speak to your vet first as these products may upset your dog’s stomach or not be suitable.
If you are still not succeeding you can follow your dog when it runs out to the lawn and put water over the area they have urinated in (pour a bucket of water or hose it) to reduce the concentration of nitrogen. Or if you already know the dog’s “spot” then you can make sure that this area is kept more moist than any others on the lawn. Most probably it will be a good idea to have a sprinkler, but just make sure it gets watered once or twice a week for an hour. This will dilute the urine and reduce the amount of damage caused to the lawn.
If you want to get even better results you can try adding horticultural lime or powdered gypsum to your dog’s water, they are highly alkaline which will neutralise the acid and mineral salts balancing the urine’s pH level.
You can also consider purchasing a “Pee Post” for male dogs (if you have a female dog the damage to your lawn is usually worse as they do not cock their legs against something).
When you have a dog using your garden it is always important to take good care of your lawn. If you water, feed and cut your lawn at a regular basis (make sure the mower blade is sharp) it will certainly help to prevent the dead grass patches appearing.
If the unfortunate has happened and you already have dead patches in your lawn (as you got to the problem too late), then you will need to take action and replace the damaged spot. To do so just follow the process below:
- Rake out and remove the damaged dead grass and dispose of the waste.
- Sprinkle grass seed in the area (it is completely fine to go over the healthy grass too).
- Cover the seed with good quality top soil and rub it in to ensure the area is firm and level with the remainder of the lawn.
- The grass seed needs to be covered with the soil to allow for quick germination and grass establishment (otherwise it will not grow).
- Tread the surface to firm and water lightly. You will need to water at least daily for the first 2 weeks, that is when the dead patch will no longer be visible.
In terms of repairing your grass, some people also use Lawn Green Spray, but that is only handy for quick cosmetic cover up, this is certainly not a long term solution. Handy if you have a party or BBQ in the afternoon.
Strengthening The Lawn
To improve the grass quality in your lawn so that it is less susceptible to more damage, you need to keep it properly maintained. You should mow it on a weekly basis (without cutting it too short), aerate it when needed, keep it thick by applying overseed, deal with any bare patches and apply a fertiliser on a regular basis. This regular maintenance schedule will keep it in really good condition and not only gives it a better chance of coping with dog urine but also other kinds of pests and diseases.
Having the right lawn mower is also important to ensure your lawn success, to help you out I have included my article Best Lawn Mower for a Perfect Lawn.
Below I have also included other relevant helpful guides to help you achieve a healthy and attractive lawn –
If you found this post interesting and you would like to see some of my other lawn care content please visit easylawnmowing.co.uk