Helping your grass recover from pet-created brown spots doesn’t have to be difficult—in fact, it can be rather easy! If you are willing to put in a little time and effort into the brown spots on your yard, they can turn back to green in no time. As with any lawn issue, the best way to maintain a healthy lawn is with a regimented mowing, irrigation and fertilization program.
Healthy lawns better combat the stresses caused by pet urination.
America loves its dogs; that fact is indisputable. More than 90 million dogs live in households in the United States today. That’s a whopping 25 percent more than in the year 2000. And more dogs translate to more lawns with brown spots, as we are reminded of too frequently.
Before we dive straight into solving the issue, it’s good to know what the cause of damage is. Pet urine contains urea and urea is made up of nitrogen and salt. In fact, 46 percent of urea is made up of nitrogen. Although nitrogen is a key macronutrient for plant health (which explains why it’s found in fertilizers), pet urine contains a much higher amount which can cause “burns” in once the urine sits in the grass for a while.
This is not that much different from fertilizer burns—damage caused by applying too much nitrogen fertilizers to the lawn that result in yellow or brown spots. Essentially, dog urine is unintentionally doing the same thing. As you can see from the two images below, fertilizer burns and dog urine damage don’t look that much different.
Pictured above from left to right: A damaged spot in the lawn caused by concentrated dog urine and fertilizer burns throughout a lawn.
Step 1: Dilute the Area with Water
Besides keeping dogs off your lawn entirely, there is another proactive strategy to avoid the brown spots they create. That is to immediately soak the area with water once you see your dog has finished its business. This substantially dilutes the urine and its effects, minimizing potential damage. Of course, that approach assumes you are present when the dog urinates and you know exactly where to soak the lawn.
Be aware that big dogs and female dogs create the most obvious brown spots because they pee more in one place. Big dogs pee more because they eat and drink more. Female dogs are bigger brown spot creators because they empty their bladders at one time in one location, unlike their male counterparts. Females also squat down closer to the ground, making the “application” more concentrated in that one location.
Whether a dog is a purebred or a rescue mutt, we are obsessed, as we should be, with providing the pet with a great diet, a diet that unfortunately now leads to brown spots across lawns everywhere. Why? Because healthy dogs today, like their human counterparts, eat a diet high in natural protein. The more protein a dog consumes, the more nitrogen finds its way into his or her urine.
Step 2: Dethatch and Dress with Compost or Topsoil
If your lawn is comprised of zoysia or bermuda grass, the process begins with thoroughly raking out (or dethatching) the browned or dead grass area created by pet urine. For centipede, St. Augustine, fescue and bluegrass lawns, there is no need to dethatch. Rather, simply spray down the area heavily with water.
Next, fill or dress that spot with topsoil or compost. Spread it generously through the entire affected area. Letting that soil naturally seep into the root system is essential to the process.
Step 3: Use Lawnifi Recover
Finally, saturate the area with Lawnifi® Recover. Lawnifi Recover is a powerful, balanced liquid nutrition package specially formulated to help a lawn fight through summer stress. It’s specifically intended to help damaged lawns recover, as its name indicates. In this case, it’s from a pet-generated brown spot. You can purchase Recover as an individual bottle on our website or find it in the Summer Fertilizer Box and Fall Fertilizer Box.
Summer Fertilizer BoxProduct on sale
Lawnifi Recover – Individual$20.00
Fall Fertilizer BoxProduct on sale
Obviously, try to keep your pet from urinating on the lawn by conducting more controlled walks. That said, we all recognize that we can’t control the actions of everyone else’s dogs. But we can impact how we bring urine-generated brown spots back to a healthy green. We can quickly help them recover with Recover from Lawnifi.