Having a beautiful lawn is something we all dream of.
When you see that lush, green grass out of your kitchen window, nothing makes you more proud.
The lawn is like an extension of your living room, friends, and family gather around in the summer for BBQs, children play all day long, and pets love to roam free in the outdoors.
However, if you have a dog, you might find an unfortunate side effect is dog urine killing grass.
Urine spots can cause spots on your lawn that look like burn marks, and this can ruin the appearance of what you’ve been working so hard on.
For this reason, you might be wondering how on earth you can get rid of these spots or prevent them from happening in the first place.
Well, we can tell you, this is possible!
With a few easy steps we have included in this article, you can keep your lawn beautiful and prevent urine spots from building up on your grass.
Let’s find out how.
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Causes Of Urine Spots
Myths surrounding dog urine and how it affects turfgrass have been spread amongst gardeners for years.
However, a lot of these myths are misinformed and untrue, which we will explore later in the article.
But what really causes those spots?
Well, it’s the urine essentially ‘burning’ the grass.
However, despite lawn experts referring to dog urine as ‘burning’ grass concerning its pH level, it’s actually down to something a lot simpler.
Dog urine has a lot of nitrogen in it.
Whilst this can be a good thing for your lawn a lot of the time, too much of a good thing can cause some bad and concentrated nitrogen can ‘burn’. This will then kill your grass, leading to the distinct appearance of burn marks on your grass.
This is why if you’re looking for nitrogen to apply to your grass, we recommend you stick to fertilizers as opposed to dog urine.
Urine spots usually start as relatively dark green patches, and this deep green color is usually the result of highly fertilized grass.
If your dog carries on urinating in one particular spot on the grass, you might end up with a dead patch of grass that is surrounded by a darker green ring.
This dead patch of grass is where the high levels of nitrogen have completely killed the grass and the darker green ring is where the urine is slightly less concentrated on the outside.
In this area, the grass is still growing ferociously as a result of the nitrogen.
Dog urine also has high levels of salt and this can dry out the grass completely, so the plant becomes desiccated, and it eventually dies.
When this is the case, you will notice yellow and brown patches of dead grass spotted across your lawn.
With this, you might still notice a green ring around the spot and this is where the concentration of salts is a lot lower, and the nitrogen has maintained growth.
You might find if you have an adult male dog, you will have fewer spots to deal with. This is because adult male dogs tend not to urinate in a concentrated pool.
Instead, they like to wander all over your yard and use bursts of urine to mark their territory. However, if you have a puppy, a female dog, or a particularly old dog, you will likely have to deal with urine spots at some stage.
Although it can be annoying, you always need to remember these spots are treatable, and dogs are part of your family, so avoid getting angry at them.
Keep up a good relationship with your pet and work with them instead of against them to minimize urine spots.
It’s also helpful to remember and remind yourself that minor lawn damage repairs itself and often resolves on its own as the new growth of healthy grass emerges on your beautiful lawn.
It’s not always a big deal as you think if you spot one or two urine spots on your lawn. If your dog decides to frequently urinate in certain areas, this is typically when you need to start dealing with them on your own.
How to Deal with Urine Spots
When it comes to dealing with these urine spots, there are two main ways. You can either prevent or directly treat them.
If you choose prevention, you need to update cultural practices and your dog’s behavior.
However, if you choose treatment, treatments are very similar to recovering any other kind of damage to your lawn.
To prevent urine spots, you need to find out the root of the problem.
The cause of urine spots is always caused by a concentration of nitrogen and salts.
To avoid this causing damage, you need to disperse and dilute all of the nitrogen and salt. This is a lot easier than you think.
You will need to flush the area where your dog has just peed and this will help minimize the effects of the urine, by washing the harmful compounds away. In more extreme cases, you can even follow your dog around outside when they are going to the toilet.
Once your dog has finished, simply flush the spot with lots of water.
Other than this, you can also ensure your grass gets frequent watering, and this will flush out any spots.
It is usually best to stick with deep watering on a much more spread-out watering schedule. However, if you are watering specifically to deal with urine spots, shallow watering much more often can help prevent the build-up of nitrogen and salt on your grass.
If you have a smaller dog, they might not produce enough urine to kill the grass. Instead, your lawn might develop some uneven patchwork of dark green dots.
If this is the case, you can attempt to blend in the spots by keeping the lawn well fertilized. If you do this, you will find yourself with a deep green lawn and the spots will not show up on it.
Another prevention method is to train your dog to only go to the toilet in one spot on your lawn or in an area that is hidden from the main sight.
Various products can assist with this training which you can get at your local pet store.
For example, a lot of pet stores sell posts that have been impregnated with pheromones. These pheromones attract your dog and encourage them to pee on them.
You can also train them with basic training and begin by taking your dog on a leash to your preferred spot they should go to the bathroom.
If they do so successfully, you can then reward them with verbal praise or their favorite treat.
After a few weeks, you might find that your dog is now heading to that spot on its own and going to the toilet without being guided by a leash.
You could also train your pooch to relieve themselves on a part of your land with natural wood mulch, as this blends in well.
However, avoid using mulch made of cocoa bean hulls as this can be toxic to dogs if they investigate the mulch by smelling and tasting it.
Some pet stores even offer certain dietary supplements that help to change the nitrogen content of dog urine.
However, other prevention methods are preferred since there is no scientific evidence to back how these products work.
Some of the supplements can also cause urinary system problems and similar dangerous issues for some pets such as calcium deposits. This is very common in younger dogs.
If you have already discovered urine spots on your lawn, don’t fret. It’s not too late to treat them and use prevention methods next time.
To deal with and treat existing urine spots, you are going to have to face the damage and repair the dead spots yourself. Dealing with dead spots on your lawn is pretty much the same process, despite what caused them.
The first step in repairing a dead spot is to remove the dead grass yourself. You are going to need to use a metal rake to do so and pull hard on the dead grass to remove it.
Once this has all been removed, you now need to look at the soil. Since the grass has been killed by too much nitrogen and salt, you should try to flush the area with plenty of water and this should help to clean the soil.
Following this, you have three options to repair the grass:
Fill in an empty spot by laying down new seeds for your grass.
Use the same seed as you have used for the rest of your lawn and follow the directions that came with the original seed for planting.
After you have laid down the seed, you need to water generously and keep off the particular part of the lawn until the grass has been established.
Place new sod in the dead patch of grass.
You need to make sure you are starting with healthy topsoil before laying the sod. Avoid the sod until it is well established.
This is a great option if the spot is quite small. You can simply wait for the grass to fill in the dead spot with new growth.
Bermuda grass and zoysia grass are known as creeping grasses and this means they are spread by stems above ground called stolons and underground stems called rhizomes.
Both of these types of grass can fill small spots quickly without too much intervention from you.
We hope by reading this article you have learned what causes urine spots on your lawn and have gained an idea of what they might look like and how to recognize them.
Remember, to prevent urine spots, you need to get to the root of the problem and disperse and dilute the salt and nitrogen.
We promise urine spots on your lawn are not the end of the world, and with a few quick fixes, your lawn will be back to that lush green color in no time.