Lawn damage caused by dog urine is especially visible in spring when we wait excitedly for lawns to turn from winter-brown to springtime-green. It puts a damper on spring when the picture-perfect green turf is marred by random yellow dead circles. What can be done about dog damage to lawns?
Dog urine is high in nitrogen. Nitrogen is also the element in lawn fertilizer that keeps lawns green. But whether the nitrogen is from dog urine, or a bag of fertilizer, if too much is loaded onto one small patch of grass, the grass burns. Whether the grass is killed or just burnt back with the ability to regrow depends on how much was applied and how strong.
How to repair dog spots in lawns? The best remedy is to flush the spots with as much water as possible, as quickly as possible. If you flush the spots within 6 or 8 hours of urination, damage can be less severe. If the spots are already dead, flushing with water is still important. If new green grass sprouts are visible through the dead leaves, no further action is needed. If the spots are dead, reseeding is necessary.
The clumps of old dead grass can be removed plus one inch of soil, new soil added, and grass seed sprinkled over the surface. (The recommended lawngrass for the Upper Midwest is Kentucky Bluegrass.) Or you can just rake the dead spots vigorously to expose a little soil, while leaving the dead stubble, and reseed. (After flushing with water, of course.)
Home remedies like baking soda and gypsum have not proven effective, according to Colorado State University.
One product that merits trying is called Rascal Spots and further information can be found on their website: http://www.rascalspots.com/about-rascalspots/ It was developed in North Dakota and is manufactured in Minnesota, so chances are it’s good.
The product reportedly neutralizes the adverse effects of urine and allows water to better penetrate the soil to flush away components. It would be very interesting to know if dog owners have used it with success.