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Q: Save my lawn! ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   4 Comments )
Subject: Save my lawn!
Category: Family and Home > Gardening
Asked by: ade3ada-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 23 Jul 2004 11:38 PDT
Expires: 22 Aug 2004 11:38 PDT
Question ID: 378219
OK, I've been doing some home improvements lately, and I need some
help. I have large bald patches in my front lawn where my dog has been
peeing for years that I would like to get rid of. I've been thinking
of just ripping up the grass and replacing it with bark or stones
(something that won't die!) but I really would prefer to keep the
grass. Are there any effective methods for keeping grass alive despite
my dog's best efforts to kill it?

Subject: Re: Save my lawn!
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 23 Jul 2004 12:50 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi ade3ada,

Thank you for your interesting question. 

Ah, the old dogs, urine, and a beautiful grass lawn problem! 

I've provided several ways to approach this very common problem, which
are listed in no particular order.

Some wonderful suggestions can be found at the Landscaping section of
Better Homes and Gardens (

Subject:  My dog's urine is killing my grass


You have a dog, he pees, his pee is high in ammonia....pure nitrogen,
and concentrated the way it is on your lawn, much like too much
fertilizer, can burn the area.

So, where he goes more often, you water more often.
Sprinkle some lime in the area. Lime is good for lawns. Its alkalinity
will reduce the effects of the acidness of the pee.
Or sprinkle some gypsum...powdered gypsum...will also act like lime.

No gypsum....then use baking soda, sprinled on the surface
will act much the same way.


You could alter the pH of your dogs urine by adding a teaspoonful of
Brewers Yeast to his/her diet. That is something already in most dog
foods, just not enough.
For brown spots already in the lawn a 50/50 mixture of gypsum and lime
does help correct the two problems dog urine creates, excess nitrogen
and uric acid, but it is best to water down the area as quickly as
possible afterwards to dilute the urine as musc as possible.


There is a product out that comes in the form of a treat and saves
your lawn while treating your pet. It is available at Pet Supplies
Plus. It is called Turf Saver by Harper's and is 100% natural. Only
chemical is a preservative. So far it has worked great for me, and I
have 2 medium sized dogs and 2 puppies. I forgot to get some one week
and immediately noticed a few burns so I believe it does work.


If you read the labels of those products you will find that they are
brewers yeast, only they cost much more.


Organic Lawn Care For the Cheap and Lazy.

How do I deal with burn spots in my lawn from my dog?

Dog poop and dog pee are both high in nitrogen. But if you give your
lawn too much nitrogen, you'll kill it. Not the whole lawn. Just the
spot with too much nitrogen. Usually there will be a load of dog poop
and the grass under it will be dead. And the grass immediately around
it will be greener, taller, thicker and healthier than all the rest of
the lawn. So the stuff immediately under the crap is "too much" and
the stuff surrounding the crap is "optimal". Same thing for pee only
there won't be a pile of poop in the middle.

Solution 1

This solution is reserved for the Zen Masters of the school of the cheap and lazy.
Do nothing.

For dog pee, the grass is tall enough that it hides the dead spot.
Rain and irrigation will eventually rinse enough nitrogen out that
they grass will grow back into that spot.

I leave the poop to the worms and the microbials in the soil. Birds
will also work it over a bit (looking for the worms and other bugs
attracted by it). How quickly the poop disappears on its own shows how
healthy your lawn is. Just be careful not to step on the fresh stuff.

An added benefit is that you can remain on great terms with your neighbors. 

If your spousal unit says "go clean up that dog crap in the yard!" You
can now say "I looked it up on the internet and it said the best
solution was to leave it!"

Solution 2

Sprinkle a little sawdust on the spot and give the spot a little
attention from your hose. The sawdust will hide the poop and it will
counter the excess nitrogen. Combining with the nitrogen, it will, in
time, turn into compost - enriching the soil. The sawdust will also
reduce any odor by about 95%. The water will wet the sawdust and
dilute the nitrogen source a bit, thus helping the beginning of the
composting process.

Solution 3

Remove the poop, dig an inch into the soil and mix sawdust into the
soil. This is the same as solution 2, but the sawdust will be more
effective this way.

Anal Retentive Solution

Remove the poop and an inch of affected soil. Replace with compost and
some grass seed.

A lot of people do this. I think it's pretty dumb.

I think that removing the dog poop and watering the area is more
effective than this. The water will dilute the excess nitrogen in the
soil. The surrounding grass will spread into the area using grass
rhizomes. There is no need for seed.

If you put seed here, you will be saddling yourself with the
responsibility of watering it every day for two weeks. Reading the
rest of this essay will tell you that that's a great way to get weeds.
Plus, it's work!

Now let's look at the compost: compost is wonderful, magical stuff.
But in this case, you've just added nitrogen to an excess nitrogen
problem. Further, seeds don't germinate well in a high nitrogen medium
like compost. The germinate better in something like pH adjusted peat
moss. Or plain topsoil. The plants like nitrogen after they've gotten
past the seedling stage.

Some people have written to me asking about what to do about their
dogs pee "burning" their lawn. They explain that female dogs have
ultra acidic pee and it kills whatever it touches. I think the
treatement is still going to be the same. Leave it and let the tall
grass hide it. If it still bothers you, use a little sawdust and/or



"Dogs Damage Lawns," would not be an attention-grabbing headline,
because it?s so commonplace. So common in fact that a series of urban
myths has arisen over what causes the damage, i.e., female dog urine
is more acidic and therefore damaging than male, and what homeowners
can do to avoid the problem such as, adding tomato juice to the
animal?s diet or baking soda to its water.

In order to address the matter in an informed and scientific manner,
the Turf Resource Center, a international, non-profit group
headquartered in suburban Chicago, invited Dr. Steve Thompson to
prepare the following in-depth article on the subject. The information
is reprinted here with permission of the Center.

Dog urine and feces can often be a frustrating problem related to lawn
care. Small amounts may produce a green up or fertilizer effect while
larger amounts often result in lawn burn or dead patches. While most
burn spots will recover with time and regrowth, dead areas can be
large enough in some cases to require reseeding or sodding. For
homeowners who are also dog lovers, this can present a dilemma,
particularly when one family member prefers the dog and another
prefers a well-manicured lawn. An understanding of the interaction
between dogs and the lawn can keep the yard (and family) at peace, not
in pieces."


"The use of gypsum or lime has been advocated but it is uncertain
exactly what mechanism this would have in helping prevent urine
damage. Improved soil quality over time may result in better drainage
and less urine concentration at the grass and root level, but
additional information is needed in this area.

Lawn burn, when mild, will often repair itself over time, especially
in the case of the warm-season turf grasses that spread by stolons and
rhizomes. Dark green spots and taller grasses may remain for several
weeks. Sodding can be a quick way to patch severely damaged individual
areas that would otherwise be invaded by weeds."


UCB Parents Advice about Pets - Dog Urine killing the grass

(The site was having minor problems loading for me, so I'm posting the
cached version of the site.  Please copy and post this link)


keyword search:

dog urine lawn grass problems

Best regards,
ade3ada-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Execllent answer, tlspiegel. The "Do nothing" solution hasn't worked
out for me yet, but now I've got several things to try. Thanks!


Subject: Re: Save my lawn!
From: corwin02-ga on 23 Jul 2004 12:04 PDT
The best method I've heard to prevent dogs from peeing in a yard is
tossing pepper over ones lawn in copious quantities
Subject: Re: Save my lawn!
From: neilzero-ga on 24 Jul 2004 09:11 PDT
All the methods suggessted may be effective, but the expanations are
suspect chemically. Ammonia is NH3, add water it is NH4OH which is
alkaline. So is lime Ca(OH)2 and quick lime CaO. The pee may be acid,
depending on what else it has besides NH3, in which case it will
correct the Ph.   Neil
Subject: Re: Save my lawn!
From: tlspiegel-ga on 29 Jul 2004 01:09 PDT
Hi ade3ada-ga,

Thank you for the 5 star rating and nice comment!  :)

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Save my lawn!
From: winspiff-ga on 07 Sep 2004 13:42 PDT
I looked into this myself, and one studied said that the best thing
you can do is dump a bucket of water on it to dilute it after your dog
pees.  That study compared dietary changes to the dog, manipulating
the pH, etc, and still found the water thing to be the most effective.
 But it has to be a bucket.

Also, look into different types of grasses.

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