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Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: dogs, Lawns--Care and maintenance

What can I do to repair the unsightly patches left in my lawn by the neighbor's dog, which urinates there daily? Should I reseed or patch with sod?


First of all, if the dog's person cannot encourage it to 'go' elsewhere, this will be a perpetual issue. That makes me think that it's best to take the easiest route, which is to saturate the spots on the lawn as soon as you notice the dog has been there. A University of California, Davis publication entitled "Lawns 'n' Dogs" suggests prevention by flooding the small area where the dog has urinated as soon as possible after the event--keep a watering can at the ready! They recommend that you only repair the lawn if the grass is significantly burned, covers a large area, and is a cool-season non-creeping grass variety--other types of grass will regrow on their own quite easily.

Colorado State University has similar information.
"If the affected spots are brown, (the turf may or may not be dead):

  • Increase irrigation amount and/or frequency to help dilute salts that have accumulated in the soil. This may help still-living turf recover, and will dilute salts in those areas where the turf has been killed (allowing for more effective re-seeding).
  • When turf has been killed, the dead sod and some soil (0.5-1 inch of soil) can be removed. Re-sod the area with new grass.
  • Individual dead/damaged spots can be re-seeded as follows:

    In a Kentucky bluegrass lawn: Spot seed with Kentucky bluegrass (marginally effective) or perennial ryegrass (more effective). Tall fescue, K31 tall fescue, dwarf fescue, or annual (Italian) ryegrass should NOT be used for spot-seeding a bluegrass lawn.
    In a tall fescue lawn:Spot seed with turf-type tall fescue (sometimes called dwarf fescue). Perennial ryegrass can also be used, but it has a finer texture and the newly seeded spots will look different from the rest of the lawn. Do NOT use K31 fescue or annual (Italian) ryegrass for spot-seeding a tall fescue lawn.
    Fine fescue lawns: Seed with fine fescue seed. The use of perennial ryegrass or tall fescue is NOT recommended, as the spots will have a different color, texture, and growth rate.
    Zoysiagrass and bermudagrass lawns: Patch using sod from a sod farm, or by transplanting sod from an inconspicuous area of same the lawn."

David McDonald's guide, Ecologically Sound Lawn Care for the Pacific Northwest, has recommendations on the best grass varieties to use in our area:
"For conventional lawns west of the Cascade Mountains (the region covered by this report), most turf professionals say that mixtures of turf-type perennial ryegrasses and the fine fescues (such as chewings, creeping red and hard fescue) offer the greatest flexibility and adaptability to local conditions. A mixture of species and varieties will withstand diseases and adapt to various sites much better than a monoculture.
"In general, ryegrasses like full sun, whereas the fescues do well in sun (and are more drought tolerant) but are also among the most shade-tolerant of Northwest-adapted species. Ryegrass stands up best to heavy wear, much better than fescues, so it is the choice for sports fields. But most ryegrasses have a higher nitrogen requirement than the fescues, and so are is less appropriate for low maintenance turf. Seeding a blend of several species and varieties will allow each to thrive in the lawn area that suits it best."

Date 2017-05-06
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May 16 2018 11:15:37