Man’s best friend can be a lawn’s worst friend.

puppy playing on grass

Dogs can be a great addition to a family. They often give us as many hours of entertainment and companionship as we give them. But unfortunately they can create a lot of problems for our lawns. The wear and tear from running around in the same areas will thin out quickly and prevent the grass growing back. If they have a favorite spot on the lawn for their bathroom habits, it’ll deteriorate a root system quickly. And then when you throw in all the other frustrations of keeping your lawn healthy it creates quite the headache. We can’t just get rid of our best friends. But we can incorporate some best practices to eliminate some of the wear and tear to our lawns.

​Dog urine is loaded with nitrogen, especially the first release of the day, because all the protein they eat. And too much nitrogen is a killer for a lawn. Just don’t let your friend out to go where he wants, he’ll just keep going to same spot or where he smells other animals. Take a few minutes, specifically in the morning, to show them where you want them to go. Hopefully with time, they’ll learn to stay off the lawn. There are also supplements at your local pet store that help regulate the nitrogen they produce.

Don’t forget to pick up after them. Dog stool is a killer too. It contains high levels of nitrogen as well. As it break down it will transfer higher than recommended levels of nitrogen to the ground. Over time it will burn the grass as well. I know it’s not our favorite chore. But if you make sure you cleanup after your friend a couple times a week. It’ll go a long way to preventing dead spots.

Aerate and over seed your lawn routinely. Whether you have a warm or cool season lawn, it’ll be important that you repair those areas that get most of the wear. The aeration is needed to help with the compaction to help get nutrients back to the roots again. Then the over seeding will help restore grass to those areas. You’ll just need to keep your friend off the reseeded areas for a few weeks after it’s done.

Make sure the grass is getting the right amount of sun and water. Depending on the grass, too much or too little light will speed up the process of a thinning lawn. Your grass will also need a certain amount of water each week, typically one inch, to keep the root system from stressing too much. Any added stress will certainly make the problem worse. But consult your local lawn professional to see what is best for the type of grass you have in your yard.

​When all else fails, you do have an alternative. Go artificial! There are several companies around the country that offer artificial alternatives to grass. With today’s technology in artificial grass, you’ll have many choices that will give you a similar feel and look to natural grass. It’s typically a sizable investment because of costs in material and preparation. But if you’re looking for a long term solution, it will certainly be money well spent.

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