Q & A

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Eric Vinje

Hello Eileen –

We’ve written a whole page on common lawn problems (https://www.planetnatural.com/organic-lawn-care-101/problems/) including a section on dogs and lawns (scroll down).

Please check the article out. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to mitigate the dog spot problem in your lawn:

• First, determine your tolerance levels. A few odd burn spots here or there may not matter to you, but may to someone else. Or maybe what was under control now isn’t (your dog just had puppies, for instance) and suddenly, your limits have been breached.

• Remove feces promptly. Pour water on areas where the dog(s) has urinated, to dilute the uric acid that causes the problem. This does help — but it assumes that you will be on hand to see when and where your dog pees, and that you’ll be scrambling after her, watering can at the ready.

• Try sprinkling urine spots with sawdust, then dampen the spot. The decomposition of organic matter requires nitrogen. Since sawdust doesn’t contain much, it will take it from the soil — which, in this case, has plenty of extra nitrogen.

• Other sources — several of them — recommend that you patch the burned areas. Remove and compost the dead grass, and replace it with discs of new sod. This would certainly do the job, but it’s a lot of work, it takes time for the new grass to root, and who has extra sod laying around? Worst, it doesn’t address the ongoing problem. So this idea is practical, really, only if you’ve inherited a lawn with urine spots, but not if you have a dog that’s still got the run of the yard.

• Build a dog run, or give the dog free rein in the back yard, but not in the front. This way, you can keep part of your yard pristine. The downside (for some) is that now your dog is confined; you aren’t sharing the space, but living in parallel yards.

Hope it helps!