Lawn burn or “Dog spots” is a very common issue many dog owners face when it comes to trying to maintain a healthy lawn. The problem is caused by high levels of nitrogen in dog’s urine over fertilize the area that it pees on and subsequently “burns” the grass. These spots are extremely easy to identify but hard to prevent. Here are some tips for fixing that and maintaining a beautiful lush lawn!
Step 1: Identify
Dog spots are easy to identify. The grass in the effected spot will be yellow, dry and dead. Often times the grass around the effected area will grow taller and thicker than the rest of the lawn. This is due to the excess nitrogen fertilizing seeping the area around the space that dog relieved itself. The concentrated nitrogen in the immediate spot was enough to kill the grass but the more diluted nitrogen acted as a fertilizer for the remaining grass around the patch. This is frustrating in two ways; it kills your lawn and makes it grow unevenly!
Step 2: Prep
Most likely the excess nitrogen has killed the grass down to the root, simply waiting for the patch to grow back won’t always be the correct solution. Using a hand rake or hand cultivator, rip up and remove the dead grass from the effected area. Till the soil gently and use the rake to aerate the soil so the roots of the emerging grass can easily grow deep into the soil. Next we will want to rinse the area. We don’t want all this work to go to waste by leaving any excess nitrogen in the soil! By watering the area thoroughly this will dilute any remaining urine in the soil and prevent it from killing the grass seed before it has a chance to root.
Step 3: Soil
Spread a generous layer of potting soil, topsoil, or compost soil over the prepped area. This loose soil will help the seeds root easily and provide fresh untainted nutrients to the grass.
Step 4: Seed
Generously seed the soil using Supergreen’s Lawn Repair & Overseed! This seed is specifically designed for patch repair and overseeding! Cover the seeds in a layer of soil to top it off.
Step 5: Water
Water the effect area well and continue to water daily depending on your climate.
Results! 2 Week Review
The photo to the left is the same area from all the other photos, 2 weeks after replanting the grass seed. Here in Ontario the days have been long and hot so I hand watered all the spots twice daily! Growth rate will all depend on your local climate as well. Extra seeding might be necessary to fill in any patches where the seed did not take. As you can see from the photo to the left I will have to seed a small remaining patch where the grass seed did not grow!
Tips for prevention: Unfortunately there is no magic cure for these spots. You can only do your best to control where you dog relieves themselves and fix any spots that pop up using the steps above!
If possible have an area specifically for your dogs to do their business that is not on the lawn. Build a planter box of rocks or mulch.
Rinse the area thoroughly with a watering can or hose after your dog does their business and dilute the urine as much as possible.
There are treats available to help change the pH balance of your dogs urine to help prevent lawn burn or treats to get them to drink more water. (which dilutes the nitrogen from inside.) Be sure to consult your Vet before giving any treats to your pet that you are unsure of. Some of these treats can be known for causing liver or kidney damage in dogs.