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Lawn Grass Problems Caused By Dogs & Solutions

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Dogs And Lawn Grass IssuesDog Traffic On Grass Lawns

One of the most commonly asked questions in the grassing industry concerns finding a turf grass that can survive daily canine routines. Dogs that are allowed to run freely in a lawn area, often end up destroying grass lawns. This is done by high traffic, urine spotting, and digging holes.

Dogs cause problems via traffic and by leaving urine spots. High traffic is NOT good during the seeding of grass and the early growing phase. Dogs and newly seeded lawns DO NOT mix. There is no grass that can withstand a lot of continuous traffic..... Four or Two legged traffic can wear a lawn down.

Read More about Dog Problems on Lawn Grass
& How to avoid them:

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/turf/dog_lawn_problems.html

Carnivorous animals, such as dogs, do not produce useable manure for plants. Manure comes from omnivores which in turn eat the plants and return excess or unused waste back to the soil to be taken up by plants. Grasses must have time to establish before the plant can possibly handle consistent canine waste deposits and traffic. Even sod lawns need time to develop extended root systems and knit the seams together before high traffic use starts. The grasses simply have to grow up!

Answers To These Dog & Lawn Grass Issues

Urine Spotting

Urine spotting is one of the more frequent "unsightly" problems on lawns. The primary concern in addressing urine damage to lawns is minimizing the nitrogen concentration added to the lawn at any single time. It is not uncommon to see urine spotting in all areas of a lawn, as dogs seldom prefer any particular spot. The best (and really only) solution is to train your dog (preferably at a young age) to use an area other than the lawn.

On fully mature lawns watering the area of urination immediately after the animal has done its business can lessen the detrimental effect on the grass.

The only other alternative is to change the territory from one area of the yard to another allowing the grass time to recover between "sessions". Bermuda, Bahia, Zoysia, are the densest warm season grasses after full establishment. Bluegrass is the densest cool season grass.

Wear From Constant Use

Dogs have a habit of walking / running from one part of the yard to another, usually from entrances to back door areas looking for attention. They seldom stray off their "beaten" travel path and as a result in short order produce wear patterns such as seen in the picture above. Over time this causes the lawn grass to thin and even be killed.

There is not really any solution to this problem either, except to pave or mulch walk areas to minimize paths occurring. Wear patterns are created both by humans and dogs as they make "paths".

Digging Holes

Digging by dogs can destroy turf instantly and destroy the level grade of your lawn. Usually this occurs with younger dogs that are more active and playful. You can through discipline, train your dog to NOT do dig holes in your lawn grass.

Best Grass Types for Dog Owners

There is NOT any sure-fire dog resistant grass. However, some grasses by nature's design are better than others. In general grasses that spread by either rhizomes and/or stolons are the best choices as they tend to repair more easily. Be prepared to constantly re-seed to try and keep ahead of damaged areas.

Dog Tough Grass Types For Warm Season Areas

Bermudagrass - Best Choice. Fast repairing / Handles traffic well.
Zoysia Grass - IF allowed to establish first / Takes 2-4 years. Good traffic tolerance / but slower to repair.
Ryegrasses can be overseeded on Bermudagrass lawns to provide additional protection and color during winter dormant months.

Dog Tough Grass Types For Cool Season Areas

Kentucky Bluegrass - For Northern climate areas (cool season), Kentucky Bluegrass is considered the best choice due to its ability to slightly spread and repair damage over time.
Tall Fescue grass Kentucky 31 also showed more resistance to dog urine in studies.

Tall Fescues:
You can add a small amount of Kentucky Bluegrass to a Tall Fescue lawn and reduce the extent of damage that will occur to your lawn. Add 1/2 lb. of Bluegrass per 1000 sq. ft. --

FAST REPAIR:
Ryegrass can be added should you need a quick "cosmetic" repair. Perennial Ryegrass provides the best look and is grown in the northern areas.

Seed at correct times and seasons for best repair results.
If you discover a grass that resists dog traffic and urine, please give us a call, we will soon be millionaires! --- Sorry, no miracle answers here... just proper maintenance and common sense.

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