Here at Ron Henderson & Associates, we love our furry dog friends who bring life to our yards and joy to our lives. Sure, dogs and lawns go together like peanut butter and jelly, but sometimes they can cause damage to our grass when they use our lawns as their personal outdoor restrooms. Don’t worry! We have some good advice to keep your yard in perfect shape without the fear of Spot making too many spots on your lawn.
Why do dog spots occur
Before we explain exactly how to prevent and treat dog spots on the lawn, why do they happen in the first place? In basic terms, dog urine is actually a fantastic natural fertilizer for your lawn thanks to its high nitrogen content, however, too much of a good thing can cause damage. You may notice that areas your dog frequents are either producing very dark green strong growing turf or spots of brown dead grass. This is because, in highly concentrated areas, the high levels of salts and urea nitrogen in your dog’s urine cause the grass to actually dry out and die. So how exactly can we prevent and fix dog spots in our lawns and yards?
How to prevent dog spots
Much like life, your best friend in the world of lawn care is preparation. Lawns that are properly fertilized and watered will be able to handle the stresses of dog use with ease. Here are some tips to keep your lawn in tip top shape:
- During the growing season make sure your lawn is properly watered. Experts recommend at least one inch of water per week including rain fall.
- Fertilize your lawn on a regular basis to ensure strong growth and overall turf health.
- Use organic lawn fertilizers, when possible, to promote slow consistent growth.
Besides maintaining a strong lawn with good maintenance practices, there are a few other ways to prevent dog spots from popping up on your lawn:
- Keep track of where your dog chooses to go to the bathroom so you can focus your rinsing efforts.
- Once your dog is done, spray water on the area to dilute your dog’s urine and prevent any damage to your grass. The sooner you can do this, the less likely Fido will damage the grass.
- Consider adding a light watering daily just to dilute the urine and prevent it from getting too concentrated.
It might be worth trying to create a special area of your yard to allow your dogs to do their business. You can then focus extra watering on this area to damage from your dog’s urine. Then after a few months, you can move the bathroom area to a new section of the lawn to allow time for the turf to recover if any damage should occur. It’s like a pet-focused version of crop rotation to give your yard and soil system time to recover from heavy use.
How to repair dog spot damage
Here’s how to turn those brown dog spots into a lush green lawn:
- Rake dead grass lightly to expose the soil and remove dead grass matter.
- Once the area is cleared, add the grass seed of your choice to the spot by hand and lightly step on it to press it into the soil.
- When adding the grass seed shoot for a nice even coating of seeds in the area without any grass seeds piling on top of each other.
- Optional, but recommended: Top dress the grass seed with a 1/8 inch of topsoil to cover the seed.
- Finally, water the newly seeded spot 2-3 times a day with the goal of keeping the seed moist so it will germinate. Don’t drown your new grass with too much water either or you’ll have to start over.
With this quick fix plan, your small spot of brown will soon be a new patch of lush green grass for you and your pooch to play in. Until we can figure out how to train our best friends to use the toilet instead of drinking out of it, pet spots are a reality for all dog owners. Luckily with just a little TLC, fixing and preventing urine spots in your grass can be very easy.