Help! Dog pee is darkening grass!

mikec82February 25, 2011

We have a 7 pound yorkie who regularly pees in a 20 square foot portion of our back yard. The problem is, that grass is getting very patchy (dark green grass mixed with lighter green grass). See attached picture. Would spreading lime on the yard help any to even out the difference between the two? Is it too late to spread lime? I've heard it's better to spread it in Dec/Jan. Any other recommendations?

Link to picture of grass:

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The reason the grass is darker green, and growing faster than the rest of the lawn, is because urine is actually a good fertilizer. It contains urea, which is a main ingredient in high nitrogen fertilizers. It looks like the rest of your lawn could use some fertilizer to match the well fertilized doggie patches. Lime is used to raise the pH of acidic soils, so while it might be something necessary if your soil is acidic, it won't neutralize dog urine. Another way to counteract the dog urine effect is to raise the carbohydrate levels in your soil which will increase the good bacteria, which in turn will help use up some of that extra dog urea. Or you could water down areas immediately after your dog pees, that will help dilute the urine effect. Be thankful you don't have brown patches like some dog owners have.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 10:29AM
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Great info - thanks! What would be a good way to raise carbohydrate levels? And how often should it be done? Again, thank you.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 10:54AM
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Believe it or not sprinkling plain sugar in the affected areas is one of the easiest ways to do it. You can also put molasses in a hose end sprayer and saturate the area. Keep in mind this will also remove soil nitrogen from all the grass in the area, not just the areas of dark green turf. So while this might help reduce the growth of the pee grass, the non pee grass will have its available nitrogen lowered as well.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:05PM
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Wouldn't the sugar act as a boost to the microbe population in the soil and increase the protein levels? (I haven't kept up with the organic lawn forum, but IIRC, an increase in protein is somewhat/loosely similar to an increase in the nitrogen level.)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:14PM
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The sugar will provide fuel to the microbes, which will increase their activity/growth/reproduction. All this new growth will require nitrogen, which they will get from the soil, thus lowering the free nitrogen in the soil that was available to the grass. The total nitrogen will be the same, but the nitrogen will not be available to the grass since it will now be incorporated into new microbes.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 2:36PM
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One thing people don't mention is what type of grass they have. We recently moved to Washington from Texas. In Texas we had St. Augustine grass and our dogs made darker green spots in it. Here in WA. we have Blue grass and it turns brown. Same dogs, same dog food. So it would be helpful to mention what grass you have.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 1:02PM
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you could also spray some iron on the entire lawn. this will make the whole area green and the non-pee areas will blend in nicely with the green pee areas.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 5:39PM
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