Spoiled Mutt Strikes Again
As have many empty-nesters, once my kids moved out, I got a pet: Spoiled Mutt, a 13-pound Yorkie Poo. Now, the Spoiled Mutt isn’t really spoiled…not really. Admittedly, he does have a small collection of sweaters and jackets…and, he does sleep with us under the covers…and, his doggie treats are stored in an antique silver cracker jar…and, when we take him with us in the car, he gets his very own roast beef sandwich from the drive-thru window. But, no…not really spoiled.
In one respect, he’s definitely spoiled – he absolutely hates to go outside potty in the rain – and he hates to get wet. So, when the weather’s bad, he’ll barely go outside and quickly as possible “do his business” on one of the plants in the front garden.
I got to wondering if this “extra moisture” was bad for the plants receiving his special attention – Siberian iris, a heuchera and a small evergreen shrub. After some research on the internet, the answer was pretty clear: yeah, sort of, almost definitely.
While the lower, more acidic pH of doggie urine has been blamed for damaging lawns and plants, the pH isn’t really the culprit. The nitrates in dog urine (urea) are much like the nitrogen fertilizer we apply purposefully to gardens and lawns. Basically, if you’ve got a Big O’Dog or several dogs who all like to go potty in the same place all the time, it’s too much nitrogen fertilizer and it burns the plants.
Lawn grass suffering from too much “attention” will display a round-ish brown spot, often with greener grass surrounding the dead area. Interestingly, fescue and perennial ryegrass are more resistant than bluegrass.
But don’t be too quick to blame your best, four-legged friend. There’s also a grass fungus which creates roundish brown spots on your lawn. To try to prove your puppy is innocent, pull up a handful of the affected, brown grass; if it pulls up easily with few roots attached, then fungus is to blame. If the grass is more difficult to pull up and has roots, then your sweet doggie is guilty as charged.
If your lawn is definitely suffering from doggie #1, consider watering the affected area regularly to dilute the urine. Another thought is limit fertilizing the affected area (which doesn’t need any more nitrogen fertilizer).
I also read that you can train or entice your doggie to go in one particular spot. With the Spoiled Mutt, I’m just happy when he goes outside and not on the floor!
Still, I think my plants will be OK, I hope. After all, he’s a small dog, he doesn’t go in the same spot all time and he usually pees in the front garden when it’s raining, so his “output” is already diluted. We’ll see come spring…in the meantime,
Stay Green, Good Friends!