Dog Pee on Fescue lawn

torrcaDecember 19, 2011

My front lawn is fescue and occasionally a dog, and I'm guessing a female dog, pees on the lawn. Afterword there is a brown spot but directly around the brown spot there is a ring of incredibly green and lush lawn. Is this caused by nitrogen or is something else going on?

Whatever is making the grass lush and green I want to put on the rest of my lawn.

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Yes, the brown is where the dog directly pees, think fertilizer burn, and the green is the result of getting a good amount of urea, but not enough to cause a burn. Adding nitrogen isn't the only thing to consider when feeding your lawn, there are other macro/micronutrients that are essential to a healthy lawn. Have you ever had a soil test? What is your typical fertilizer schedule? Another important thing to consider is fertilizer timing. Being in So Cal most of your fertilizing is going to take place in fall/winter. Applying fertilizer in summer is a no no.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 8:47PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Agree with tiemco. A lot of factors bear on this issue. Most female dogs empty their bladder all at once. The chow chow breed does not by the way and will mark their territory like a male dog.

I have an experiment for you to try. Next time you see a pee burn spot, scatter a heaping handful of table sugar onto the burned spot. Assuming the grass is still alive, I predict in a week you will see the grass return to a dark green. The theory behind this is that the soil does not have enough bacteria needed to process all the urea in the urine. By feeding the bacteria with sugar, they will stop processing urea altogether and start procreating. In a day or two you will have a much greater population of bacteria and they will be able to process all the urea. I tried this in about January of 2002 and had a half dozen patches of tall, deep green grass...and a bunch of dormant grass surrounding it.

Also agree with teimco's statement about restricting chemical fertilizer in the summer. Unless you live west of Pacific Coast Highway (Torrance???) or are above Lake Arrowhead, the summer heat is plenty of stress for the turf that if you add chemicals it can kill the turf. You can use organic fertilizer in the summer, but it is hard to find. I would check the Lomita Feed Store (if you live in Torrance). Look for rabbit food and apply at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Regular apps of alfalfa every few months will stop the urine problems.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 12:47AM
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dchall_san_antonio: I'm wondering if you can elaborate on your last sentence regarding regular applications of alfalfa to stop urine problems. Are you saying that organic fertilizer, applied every few months, enables the grass to survive the dog pee? I have a similar issue and I had never heard that as a solution, but am intrigued.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 1:45PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

The problem is that the microbes in the soil are not prepared for the high dose of urine. The population is too small. If you can keep the population of bacteria up with regular feeding, then they will be there when the urine hits. Sugar is a way to trick them into repopulating but it is too late for the urine. Alfalfa is a long term solution. It is one of many inexpensive ingredients in organic fertilizer. Others include corn, wheat, soy, linseed, cottonseed, feather meal and sometimes blood or fish. These are all good sources of protein needed for the bacteria and fungi in the soil to thrive. I get alfalfa and other raw materials at my local feed stores.

I usually use Google Maps to find feed stores near me. Boston does not seem to have any real feed stores. That surprises me. Anyplace where horses are kept will know where the real feed stores are. Your county sheriff will know, because they always have a mounted component.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 2:32AM
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