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Knowledge to Grow by Karen Weiland - Urine damage

 

Maintaining a nice, uniformly green lawn can be a bit of a challenge when Fido does his business on it. As many of you know, turfgrass can be severely damaged by animal urine. Fido may not be the only one to blame as those darker green and/or brown patches can also be caused by deer, fox and geese.

There are several common turfgrass diseases that may be confused with urine damage. A few are summer patch, dollar spot, and necrotic ring spot. You will be able to distinguish urine damage from the diseased as there will be no cottony mycelium apparent during the early morning and the dying leaf blades will not look water-soaked or mat down like those affected by a fungal infection. A dead, brown center surrounded by a profusely green turf ring is a sign of classic urine damage.

There are a few actions that can be taken to minimize the damage. Keep the pet off of the most visible part of the lawn. Train Fido to use a not-so-visible part of the lawn that is his or her “area.” Watering the area that Fido uses will help minimize the damage but you may still have the greening effect.

Keep your turfgrass in good shape. Mow at a height of 2-3 inches and properly fertilize and hydrate your lawn so that it can recover from any damage. There are some products available that claim they can repel animals from doing their business on an area. However, they have not been proven to be effective. As far as keeping wildlife at bay, good luck. About the only thing that works for me is a big old fence!

As always, Happy Gardening!