Dog Urine Grass Repair
The joy of pet ownership can be diminished by damage that pet urine can do to your lawn. On our web page How to Neutralize Dog Urine we talk about some of the causes that damage grass by dog urine. We also talk about the importance of biological activity in the soil and how PetiGreen can help with excess salt and nitrogen that is in urine. After taking steps to repair damaging effects urine has on the soil we need to do something to repair the damage that has occurred to the grass.
Reseeding may be necessary
In most cases if the grass is brown it is dead and it will not come back until it has been reseeded. Before reseeding the area make sure steps have been taken to address the nitrogen and salt in the soil. The salt that is in the soil can inhibit seed germination and the nitrogen from the pet urine can still be strong enough to harm new grass sprouts. PetiGreen has organic acids that break down the salt and work to process the nitrogen that has caused the burn. We recommend using PetiGreen about 3 weeks before putting new seed down for the first time. After that you can generally reseed new spots when they appear.
When reseeding it is usually not necessary to disturb the old dead spots. You can usually sprinkle new seed right over the damaged area making sure the seed drops through the dead grass so it comes in contact with the soil and keep it watered. The old dead grass will provide some shade and help keep moisture in the soil that will help germination.
Sometimes the grass will turn yellow or even brown yet still have some life in the roots. It is damaged but not quite dead. In these instances taking the steps that help repair the soil could bring the grass back. As the health of the soil improves grass may emerge in these areas. If this occurs reseeding may not be necessary. If your dog(s) use the same area again killing the new growth, simply apply more seed in that area.
Some grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass can propagate by underground root runners. In many cases these grasses will grow to fill in the dead spots over time. If you are not sure whether or not you have such a grass just keep an eye on the burn spots for several weeks and look any sign of new grass blades emerging. If you see new blades emerging the spot may fill in over time. You can also reseed these spots if you prefer.
Laying new sod
Some people choose to lay new sod as a means to repair the dead grass. Make sure you understand if you let the dog on the new sod it will get new pee spots even if the underlying soil has been treated for a long enough period of time that it would normally offer protection. The roots of the new sod are near the surface and susceptible to dog urine burns until those roots get well established into the depth of the soil. About the only way to prevent spots in new sod is to keep the dogs off of the area for a couple of months while the roots work their way into the soil. If you fertilize at all fertilize lightly just to get the grass going.
If the damaged area is large then consider putting your new sod down in sections, keeping the dogs off one section that is being repaired and as it gets established. Then lay sod in the other section and keeping the dogs off of it until it is established. Make sure you take steps to continue building the environment that encourages microbial activity to flourish where the new sod is growing. Remember that PetiGreen can help accelerate the new sod taking root.