Dog Urine Spots on the Grass. What to do? How to Prevent?
There's no better feeling than having a beautiful lawn. There's few things more annoying than to have dog urine spots in the middle of the grass. Its an eyesore, and tends to be more noticeable the nicer your grass is.
Why it happens
Let's start by helping understand why you get pee spots in the grass. Dog pee is a source of nitrogen (fertilizer). Just like any fertilizer you put on your plants , too much can be a be a bad thing.
The end result of the dog pee can be an over-fertilization of particular spots in the grass, which causes the grass to burn out and turn brown.
What is the culprit?
Lets look at the most common areas you will see this happen and try to identify your situation or simply avoid this situation in the future.
The first thing to understand is that almost all the time, female dogs are the culprit for pee spots!! The reason, well, you've seen them pee. The sit, they squat, and all the pee is centralized in one spot. If you've seen male dogs pee, its a little different.
Lawns that are getting appropriate fertilizer applications, especially within weeks of a strong spring fertilizer treatment can be suspect to dog pee spots. The reason is because the added nitrogen from the dog pee could likely be just too much for the grass and the grass burns out.
New LawnsNewly sodded lawns and newly seeded lawns are very delicate. They are literally in survival mode. During this time the grass will be sensitive to anything out of the ordinary, in this case, over fertilization from dog urine.
Other Lawn Stresses
Anything else that would cause stress or weakness in the grass. This could really be a number of things. For example, if the grass is under stress from the summer heat, drought, or some combo of the two, especially for cool season fescue lawns, can be enough for the dog pee to burn out the grass.
Now that you understand why it happens, lets explain how to prevent or try to get rid of the dog urine spots.
Train the Dogs
Train the dogs to pee somewhere else. I know this sounds obvious, but its a sure fix and will work best. So if your dogs are still in training, go ahead and try to train them now before its too late.
If you have to re-train your dog to pee somewhere else, its not an easy task. However, considering the work it may take to keep the spots out of the lawn, its definitely worth a try. You most likely did it once to keep them from doing it in the house. Now try it again in the grass.
Get a Male Dog in the First Place.
If you haven't picked a dog yet, and are thinking about getting one, its food for thought to know that you wont have as much of a problem with pee spots if you have male dog. For the simple reason that it is not as concentrated. They don't sit and squat like the females.
Dilute the Area Immediately
If you have extra time on your hands, you could potentially dilute the area immediately by spraying the area with water, thus diluting the urine, making it less potent. You would have to do this each time, immediately after the dog pees.
Don't Over-FertilizeDont over-fertilize. Since the dogs are adding nitrogen to certain spots with urine, laying off the of the nitrogen that you put down will help the lawn from getting too much fertilizer and burning out in those spots.
*Also keep mind, that sometimes if the lawn isn't getting enough nitrogen, rather than burning out, the extra nitrogen from the urine will actually turn some spots extra green in comparison to the grass around it. So in essence, you'll have greener spots rather than yellow burned out spots.
There are some products out there that claim to neutralize fertilizers, however, there are not many that have proven to really solve the problem.
What types of grass are best....and worst, for dog urine?
FescueGrasses such as fescues will be a little more tolerant over- fertilization. They have a deeper root system and are less sensitive to nitrogen. Thus, they will be less effected by the dog urine.
Zoysia and Bermuda
Grasses such as zoysia and bermuda tend to be a little more sensitive to fertilizers, and thus may be over sensitive to nitrogen and burn out more often and quicker. Especially Zeon Zoysia (very finicky when it comes to nitrogen)
A man's best friend (not necessarily the lawns).
All in all, a dog is a man's best friend. Hopefully you can use some of the tips above to keep the relationship between your dog and your lawn a healthy one as well!
If you don’t want to mess with your lawn and would like one our professionals to help you out, give us a call today at 866.228.5324 or click Lawn Care and let us know where you're at.