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Dog Damage to Lawns – What Can You Do?

Dog Damage to Lawns

Those of us who own dogs see our beloved four legged friends as family, but just like a kid, having dogs means some extra work beyond the normal
care and love all dogs need and crave.

One of often unexpected issues with owning a dog is the damage they do to lawns. It is not uncommon for pet owners to train dogs to do their business in one area to minimize the damage done. Other put down areas of false turf or a gravel run so no grass is damaged. However, training a dog where to go takes time and diligence. Depending on the dog, the process of training it where to go can take weeks.

How do dogs damage lawns?

The most obvious damage to lawns comes from dog urine. While both male and female dogs damage lawns with urine, female dogs tend to cause more problems than males. The reason for this is the way most dogs urinate. Female dogs tend to squat and pee in a small area, concentrating the urine in one area while male dogs tend to spray over a larger area to ‘mark their territory’ by spraying tree trunks and fence posts. One thing to understand is this is not a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of male dogs that also concentrate where they go.

Urine is not the only problem, dog feces can also do damage, especially if it is left for extended periods of time. Quickly picking up dog waste is important for lawn health. Not only does quick removal benefit the grass, it also prevents your beloved pets from stepping in it, spreading it around, and possibly bringing it into the house on the bottom of their paws.

Dog waste ‘burns’ the lawn, much like an over application of fertilizer is capable of doing. The reason there is often a bright green ring of grass around the damage is that dog waste is used by the grass in the same way it would with lawn fertilizer. In fact, nitrogen is one of the main ingredients of any fertilizer and is also a main component in dog waste. The problem with the waste is it is concentrated and therefore burns the roots of the turf.

Another aspect of dog damage, not as noticeable, is soil compaction. The constant running and playing on the yard means your pet’s paws are squishing the soil down. This makes it harder for the roots of the lawn to breath and harder for water to penetrate. If your four legged family member likes to run the same routes, especially close to fence lines, it is not uncommon for paths devoid of all grass along those trails.

Core aeration of the lawn, and pulling extra plugs with a hand aerator in the worst areas, can prevent a great deal of damage due to soil compaction. Here in the Front Range our clay soil is prone to soil compaction and dog waste does not move through clay as well as sand or dirt, therefore, aeration is very important for lawns with dog activity.

Along with core aeration Mountain High would also suggest a couple of Revive applications to help your lawn out on the recovery process.  Call Mountain High Tree at 303-232-0666 or visit our website if you are interested in aeration or a Revive application.