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Monday, December 22, 2014
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Published: Wednesday, 7/23/2014

IN THE GARDEN

Those pesky yellow spots

BY KELLY HEIDBREDER
GARDENING COLUMNIST FOR THE BLADE
Kelly Heidbreder Kelly Heidbreder
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I get a lot of email from all of you loyal readers about lots of garden troubles, new projects you are working on and the gigantic veggies. And one of the recent questions is about those yellow spots cropping up in the yard. I have a feeling it is something we can blame on one of the members of your family. If you have a lot of yellow spots in your yard, you might have a problem with Fi Fi’s pee pee.

Girls are worse

Dog urine is one of the most common lawn troubles. Veterinarians say female dogs will cause more damage than males. They say male dogs will hold their urine and use it to mark the entire yard, so it isn’t as concentrated as a female dog that usually goes on one place.

You can easily spot the damage because you will see a dead patch of dry, yellow grass, surrounded by a dark green ring of lush grass. In smaller sprinkles, the nitrogen in number one and even number two will make your grass grow taller. But too much of a good thing will kill it.

Doesn’‍t work

There are some tricks that people use to help neutralize the extra urine. Some work and others don’t. Remember, the nitrogen your pet is expelling is causing the trouble, not the pH. Lime might work on getting rid of some weeds in your lawn and help balance out the soil, but it won’t help a spot of dog damaged turf. Baking soda and other neutralizers sprinkled on the spot are a waste of powder.

Does work

Planting grass that can withstand the extra dose of nitrogen is your first plan of action. Fescue and perennial rye, which is a very common mix in this region is a good start. Other grasses like Kentucky bluegrass or Bermuda don’t usually hold up and have been tested to do the worst when it comes to dog damage.

Changing your dog’s diet might also help. Check with your vet first, but good quality dog food that is lower in proteins and added salt will help cut down on the concentration.

If you want to protect part of your yard and make it off limits to piddling, use a motion sprinkler to scare them away. Keep the damage to a minimum by training your pet to got to the same spot. Green-Um is a product sometimes recommended by veterinarians. It is a natural product that is supposed to bind to the nitrogen and neutralize it before it soaks down into the soil and damages the roots of your grass. I haven’t tested it on my lawn, but it could be worth a try.

There’s also a product called a “Pee Post” that is impregnated with a pheromone that dogs are attracted to and some studies say the dog will go to that spot, smell the pheromone and do their job in one general area instead of little spots all around your yard.

Keep a hose nearby and flood the area where your pet goes. It will flush the soil and water down the nitrogen and cut down on the damage to your turf. Water the area down for three to five minutes within eight hours of the time your dog did her duty. Better drainage in your yard will also help wash it away.

If you want a quick fix, dig around the burned area and replace it with sod from another inconspicuous spot in your lawn. Another quick fix is to sprinkle the area with a turf patch kit after digging out the dead grass. Good thing we love our pets!

Contact Kelly Heidbreder at getgrowing@gmail.com 



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