First aid for your lawn: dog spots

First aid for your lawn: dog spots

Symptoms

  • Dog spots are round patches about 10 to 20 centimetres (four to eight inches) in diameter with dead grass in the middle, encircled by dark green grass.
  • They're most apparent in the early spring when dormant grass first begins to turn green again.

Cause

  • Dog urine contains high concentrations of acids, salts and nitrogen, which burn (dry out) the grass roots and kill them.
  • As rain washes the area, the urine is diluted and the nitrogen spreads, causing the grass surrounding the spot to grow faster and turn greener.

Remedy

You have to replant your grass; it won't come back on its own. But first you have to dilute or remove the caustic urine from the soil.

  • Thoroughly soak the area with lots of water. Let the hose run for at least three minutes.
  • Then you can start the replanting process. Add one centimetre (half an inch) of new soil to help absorb any remaining urine.
  • Then you can spread new seed or use a commercial yard patch mixture (available at most nurseries or home centres) or even sod.
  • In any case, the secret of good germination is keeping the seed moist. And keep the area moist until the new grass is about 7.5 centimetres (three inches) high.

Help prevent dog spots

1. Soak your pet's favourite areas in your lawn to get the salts out of the root zone before they kill the grass.

2. Fertilize your lawn in the spring to boost the overall colour and mask the darker green dog spots.

3. Train your pet to urinate in a designated area. Replace or repair the grass in this area annually or cover it with mulch.

4. Keep your pet well-hydrated to make its urine less concentrated.

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