Have you started to notice yellow and brown patches around your lawn? Typically, this lawn burn is caused by dog urine. We’ll explain why this is happening and how you can stop it and fix it.
What’s turning my grass brown?
If you have a dog, you naturally let them out on the lawn a few times each day. After a while, you may notice patches of grass turning yellow or brown. This “lawn burn” is caused by your dog’s urine, but not for the reason you may think. Dog urine isn’t acidic or poisonous. It contains urea, a byproduct of metabolizing proteins, which is 46% nitrogen. Your grass needs nitrogen, but the concentrated stream from your dog is too much. It overfertilizes the grass which kills or damages it, creating these yellow and brown patches in your lawn. Certain grass species are more affected by your dog’s bathroom breaks than others. Naturally, they’re also the nicest grass species, like Kentucky Blue Grass.
This isn’t unique to dogs either. Urea is found in most mammal urine, including cats, deer, and even humans. If you’re finding lawn burn and don’t have furry members in your family, another pet or wild animal may be using your grass as its bathroom.
What’s causing green rings and patches in my grass?
Dog pee’s nitrogen is the same reason why lawn burn areas are often surrounded by a ring of greener and richer grass than the rest of your lawn. This grass has only been partially fed by your dog’s pee, and as a result has gotten a healthy dose of nitrogen. Smaller dogs and mammals inherently produce less urine. As a result, if you have a chihuahua or terrier, you may only notice extra green patches around your lawn. Those patches are healthy grass, but they still stand out from the rest of your lawn which isn’t receiving as much natural fertilizer.
How to Prevent and Fix Dog Pee Lawn Burn on Your Grass
Naturally, you don’t want your grass to be damaged or die. Fortunately, it isn’t too hard to deal with your dog pee’s lawn burn. Here are a few ways to fix those brown and yellow patches.
Give Your Dog a Washroom!
We don’t mean renovating a doghouse to add a sink and toilet. Create a specific area in your yard where your dog, or any other pet, can relieve themselves. Rather than having grass in this area, put down some crushed stone, pea stone, or mulch. That way your dog’s urine won’t harm or kill any grass. To get them to pee here, show them the area, and reward them with positive affirmation and a treat.
Rinsing the area will also prevent lawn burn, if your dog is less eager to use a designated bathroom spot, or while they are still learning to use it. Whenever your dog goes to the washroom, give that area a quick rinse of the hose. This washes out the urea so that it spreads and loses concentration. Plus, the washing also removes any salts that might be in the urine.
Fixing the Brown and Yellow Grass
Yellow grass is damaged, but not yet dead. It should repair itself, ensuring it is not additionally fertilized with dog pee. If grass has turned brown and died, it’s lost to this world. Remove the dead grass and replace it. If a large area has been impacted, you can use the opportunity to refresh your entire lawn and install some sod. For smaller areas, some localized seed will provide new grass. Ensure your dog and other animals stay away from the fresh seed while it begins to grow.
Fixing green patches in your lawn
Those green patches are healthier grass than the rest of your lawn, but they make your lawn appear uneven. Like yellow areas, if animals stop urinating there, it will eventually match the rest of your lawn again. However, this grass is greener because it is getting more nitrogen. If you prefer this healthier, greener grass, then consider fertilizing your entire lawn.
Greener Days Ahead
We love lawns and our dogs, who also love rolling around in grass. They don’t mean to hurt the grass or turn it brown. Lawn burn is just an unfortunate accident. Now you understand the cause, you can both prevent and fix it. Your family, human and furry members alike, can enjoy a fully luscious lawn again.