Dog damage to lawns creates circular spots caused by urine burns. Generally it is the female and young males who cause the greatest damage. This has nothing to do with the fact they are female or males, urine is urine. It has more to do with the way in which they urinate. Adult male dogs will urinate on shrubs, or on power poles, playground equipment or fence posts. They do this to mark their territory. Females tend to squat while urinating, causing a greater concentration in one area. Because of the high concentration of salt and urea, it causes a circular dead spot. Normally a ring of healthy grass will surround the dead patch. This is caused by nitrogen in the dog's urine, which acts as fertilizer.

Prevention

Having an area such as a dog run goes a long way to keeping the majority of your lawn green and healthy. If you are unable to provide such an area, watering immediately after dilutes the urine and may prevent the damage from occurring. This must be done soon after the dog urinates, or this is ineffective.

Repairing Dog Spots

Areas of grass damaged by dogs have a very high concentration of salt, nitrogen, and urea. Generally if you put down seed in these areas, germination will not occur. You must first water the damaged areas to leach out as much of the chemicals as possible. Then rake out the dead spots, and add seed to the damaged area. Top dress with approximately ¼ of an inch of topsoil and keep the seed moist until germinated. Do not fertilize these areas until the root structure has a chance to become established. Generally 3 lawn cuttings is sufficient.

For more information, call the professionals at Ace of Blades at 818-LAWN (818-5296),
or e-mail us at paul@aceofblades.ca.