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Any way to repair brown patches on lawn caused by dog urine?
May 17, 2009 5:52 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way to repair the brown patches on my lawn caused by dog pee?

I know absolutely nothing about gardening, I have a gardener who comes once a week and takes care of everything for me. I have lawns in both my front and back yards. The front yard is in pretty good condition except for 2 brown spots that were probably caused by my brother's lab peeing on the lawn (my dog isn't allowed on the front lawn). The lawn in the back yard has about half a dozen brown patches, likely from my dog peeing on it.

I'm doing something to address the root problem, but in the meantime I'd like to know if there's any way to regrow green grass or repair the brown patches. They're pretty ugly.
posted by calgirl13 to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 


Don't add fertilizer, dog pee is actually a pretty powerful fertilizer.

The reason that dog urine burns the grass is that it is too strong, it's actually burning the grass. You can rake up the dead grass and put grass seed in the brown spots. If you water it well, grass will grow there. You might actually find that the grass will be a darker and healthier green around the brown spot, if your lawn needs fertilizer. In the future, if you wish to prevent brown spots, you can hose down the area when your dog gets done peeing.
posted by jefeweiss at 6:25 PM on May 17, 2009


Jefeweiss has it: dog pee is high in nitrogen, which is the same stuff your gardener is using to fertilize your lawn. The difference is all in application: the dog dumps a pint in one spot, your gardener spreads it around sparingly.

If you're really bugged by the spots, you can paint them with some green lawn dye for a cosmetic touch up. It won't help or hinder new grass growth but at least the brown spots won't be so noticible.

Best bet is to train the pooch to eliminate in one corner of the yard, preferably on dirt/smooth gravel or a robust groundcover: I have a patch of ivy that I trained my dog to use. The same patch has held up 14 years of enthusiastic fertilizing by my previous two dogs.
posted by jamaro at 6:33 PM on May 17, 2009


You should be certain that the dog pee is actually causing the problem. Random brown patches of grass can be caused by other issues, such as nematodes. We had several retrievers and labs when I was growing up and never had brown patches in our yard (most likely, if anything, the grass was greener where the dogs did their business).
posted by bengarland at 6:46 PM on May 17, 2009


They sell grass patch stuff near the grass seed in any box box hardware store. I bought some today. It contains some filler to retain water and starter fertilizer. Just sprinkle it on the spots. You have to keep it wet constantly for about two weeks though, so water it every day. Hopefully your dog won't pee on it while it's sprouting.
posted by GuyZero at 8:10 PM on May 17, 2009


I read in a lawn care book once - and I can't for the life of me remember which one - that gypsum or lime spread over the area where your dog likes to go balances out the ph. This plus lots of water should bring it back.

Essentially what is happening is your lawn is getting fertilizer burn. The ammonia in dogs' urine is high in nitrogen, which acts as a fertilizer: that's why you frequently see a ring of really lush, tall grass around the burnt spots. The ring is where the nitrogen wasn't as concentrated.
posted by AV at 8:42 PM on May 17, 2009


Well, they say prevention is the best cure. If you can actually catch your dog doing it, you can then flood the location with water to dilute the urine. This works sometimes.

My lawn was absolutely covered in these until I discovered Dogrocks. These are small stones you put in your dog's water that change the nitrogen levels in his urine. No more nasty brown patches. Believe it or not, these actually work.

They say you should replace them every two months, but that's usual marketing/revenue-generating nonesense. I've been using the same set for over 6 months.
posted by Mephisto at 8:56 PM on May 17, 2009


I would avoid dogrocks or any such product as the nitrogen in urine comes from th emetabolism of protein and no water additive is going to change that. Plus their web page is covered with nonsense like:

Q7.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS IT MAY NOT WORK IN THE DOG?
ANS.
(a). IF THE DOG IS FED A DIET OF MAINLY RAW RED MEAT, THIS WILL HINDER THE PRODUCTIVITY OF DOG ROCKS. HIGH PROTEIN DIETS HINDER IT....A DIET OF PREMIUM DRY DOG FOOD IS A PERFECT COMPLIMENT TO DOG ROCKS.

Yeah, no crap, stop feeding your dog nitrogen and he stops excreting nitrogen.

and

THE BASIC PRINCIPAL IS THE ROCK BEING PARAMAGNETIC CHANGES THE ION EXCHANGE IN THE WATER.

So much bullshit.

Watering the spots after he pees will help if you can catch it as it dilutes the urine.
posted by GuyZero at 9:00 PM on May 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Repair will happen over time if you can be patient, but the best thing to do is have a full watering can available at all times, and pour plenty of water over the peed-on spot every time you see the dog peeing.
posted by Joh at 9:31 PM on May 17, 2009


> I would avoid dogrocks or any such product as the nitrogen in urine comes from th emetabolism of protein and no water additive is going to change that.

I couldn't care less about what they say. The product works.

Whatever. It's just a suggestion. It's not as if I own the company or anything.
posted by Mephisto at 10:22 PM on May 17, 2009


And if the product works by adding a lot of extra minerals and possibly toxic chemicals into your dog's water so it has massive kidney failure in a year? There's a reasonable chance this product is actively harming your dog. That product is neither tested for safety nor well-regulated. It's a really bad suggestion.
posted by GuyZero at 9:51 AM on May 18, 2009




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