What to Do About Pee Spots on Your Lawn
Pro guidance on how to get your lush, green lawn back in shape/
If you have a dog, there are few things more satisfying than letting your pet have free reign of a green space that you call your own. Whether it’s your backyard, your front lawn, or any patch of grass in between, it’s a wonderful feeling to see your pet enjoying the great outdoors without having to leave home.
But as any dog owner knows, unleashing your best boy (or girl!) on the same green space every day doesn’t come without a cost. It only takes a few weeks of regular use for bare patches and brown spots to start showing up, leaving your beautiful lawn look stained in a yellow polka-dot pattern.
The good news is that these spots on your lawn can be restored to their lush, green appearance -- and probably sooner than you think. A plan of action, the right tools, and a little patience are all you need. Cue BarkYard™ products: Designed with your dog and your lawn in mind, Good Boy™ and Bad Spot!™ were invented to make it easy for dog-lovers to keep their outdoor spaces welcoming and beautiful for pets and their humans.
Why do these spots happen?
Understanding why dog pee spots happen will help to stop them from showing up in the future.
Scientists are still figuring out what specifically in dog urine causes grass to die. We do know certain chemicals commonly found in dog urine contribute to killing your grass. As your dog’s liver breaks down toxins, compounds like urea and lactic acid are formed. Urea contains high levels of nitrogen, and lactic acid burns. The more concentrated dog pee is, the more of these compounds it contains. Typically, concentrated dog pee even gives off a stronger scent.
Water in your dog’s urine evaporates soon after your dog pees on your grass, leaving strong chemicals behind. These chemical compounds mean that when your dog does their business on your grass, it can be like dousing your lawn with ammonia. If left unaddressed, urea and lactic acid can kill grass down to its roots. At the same time, nitrogen can actually fertilize the grass at the outer edges of the spot where levels are less concentrated. This is what gives dog pee spots their signature circular appearance of brown grass with a ring of bright green around them.
It’s a myth that female dogs have urine that’s more acidic or poisonous to your grass. Female dogs do tend to create more spots on a lawn, but that’s because of the way their urine is released. Female dogs tend to squat in the same place every time they go, while male dogs spread out their urine-targets, going multiple times as a way to mark their territory. No matter which gender of dog your pet is, spots on your lawn are kind of inevitable if you let your pet go about its business in your bushes on the regular.
How Do You Get Rid of Dog Pee Spots on Your Lawn?
Once a dog pee spot has appeared, it’s important that you come up with a plan of action. If grass roots have been destroyed, you can’t expect the spot or patch to simply fill itself in with new growth. Addressing the problem is the only way to fix it.
1. First, remove dead growth. This is also called “dethatching.”. A rake or a handheld dethatching tool pulls dead grass out by the root, while massaging your topsoil and adding oxygen back in.
2. Once you’ve cleared old growth away, water the area slowly with water from a hose, sprinkler, or a watering can. You’re not looking to soak the spot completely, but you are looking to create denser topsoil where seeds can take root. The bare ground should be visible so that seeds make direct contact with the dirt.
3. Reseed the spot. Use Bad Spot!™, which we’ve created specifically to repair bare spots. A seeding mix that includes some fertilizer is your best bet. Be careful to follow label instructions, and don’t over-apply seed to the area. While it might seem to make sense to seed generously, too many seedlings create competition for water, light, and air -- a contest that ends in poor growth for your lawn.
4. Water the area thoroughly to get growth started. If you’re using Bad Spot!™ bare spot repair, you’ll want to water the area until the soil is just past the point of absorbing more water. You’re not looking to create mud, but you do want to create healthy, heavy topsoil for seeds to adhere to.
*Results 28 days after application, applied and cared for according to label directions.
It should only take a couple of days for you to start to see the results of your repair work. In the meantime, make sure to keep the spot hydrated. Bad Spot!™ will start turning light brown when it needs more water. Most importantly, try to keep your dog away from the spot while it sprouts new growth since new grass can be more sensitive to toxins.