The number one pet in America can also be an enemy to our lawns. Of course, the problem comes when we take our dogs for their "walk" by letting them run free around our yard. When Fido does his or her business, the urine can be damaged or killed.

When a dog, especially a female, releases its urine on the lawn, the classic symptom will be a somewhat circular spot. In the center, the grass with be brown and quite dead. This is because urine has a high concentration of soluble salts. When these salts come into contact with plant material, they will quickly draw the water out of the plant tissue. If they pull enough water out, the cells will die.

Oddly enough, on the outer edge of the brown spot, the grass will actually be darker green and taller than the grass around it. Urine also contains a high level of nitrogen and as it dissipates moving away from the center, it actually acts as a fertilizer.

Of course, larger dogs tend to have a larger effect so try to keep them off the lawn as much as possible. Most times, you will need to scratch up the brown spots and work some seed into them. Usually, a few rain storms or irrigation will dilute the urine's effect so that the seed will germinate and new grass will grow.

Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.


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