Lawn Problem: Dog Urine

How do I know if my lawn is affected by dog urine?

Well, I guess if you have a dog or a dog has been on your lawn, you will know about it! The chemicals in dog urine is in such quantity that it burns the lawn and kills it leaving circular patches of brown grass. However usually at the edges of these burns, the grass grows well and green, creating a ring of good growth.

What is dog urine?

Dog urine contains ammonium nitrate which can be found in lawn fertiliser. However, it is in such high quantities in the urine that it acts as a poison. At the edges of the burnt patches you will normally see the grass growing well and it is a rich green colour. Here the quantity is low enough to act as fertiliser for the grass.

How do I stop my dog urine burns?

The simplest way to stop unsightly burn marks from urine is to train your dog to wee in one chosen area of the garden. Leave regular treats in that area so that when you let them out, they immediately head for that area. Erecting a post for male dogs to use can also help.

If training isn’t an option, try adding commercially available additives to their water. Be warned, you cannot let the dog drink from any other water source as it will render them ineffective. No streams, ponds or puddles.

The only other alternative is to wash a bucket of water over the area immediately after they wee to reduce the concentration. This is often impractical, and effectiveness is hit and miss.

How do I repair the burn marks?

Soak the area with clean water. Get a bucket. Half fill with organic dressing. Add to this about 6 handfuls of seed and mix the two. Take a spring tine rake (metal prongs) and scratch the area to create a tilth on the surface of the soil. Apply some of the mixture liberally and firm down with your hand ensuring it remains level with your lawn. Water regularly to keep CONSISTENTLY moist.

Key points to remember

  • Training your dog to wee in a specific place is the best long-term answer.
  • To repair, soak well and use a divot mix (dressing and seed).
  • Ammonium nitrate can be a fertiliser used in the right amounts.

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