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When Your Lawn Becomes a Doggy Dumpster

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Brown spotting and nitrogen rings burned into your lawn may not be a sign of nutrient deficiency or grass disease: it may mean that a dog has grown quite fond of using your well-manicured lawn for a drop zone. Once your lawn becomes a personal pet favorite, the spots can be unnerving, if not a potent source of tension between neighbors.

Contrary to popular belief, the female dog can be the real lawn culprit, since she does not repeatedly mark the same spot of grass or tree trunk like her male counterpart. Rather, she lets fly all at once in the center of your freshly mowed display. If it's your dog, your best solution may be to follow her out and immediately soak down the grass--right after she soaks it.
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Urine the Wrong Place and Other Folk Tales

Urine is the end product of an efficient kidney detoxification system. It contains all the excess nitrogen that enters the body in food protein, and the nitrogen subsequently over-fertilizes a spot in your lawn that burns under the midday sun. The browning grass spots will appear to have bright green rings around the perimeter.

The grass typically repairs itself over time, reseeding the spots, if you can keep dogs from using the same place. For larger areas you can always add plugs or fresh sod. Homeowners have certainly tried a broad range of unsuccessful remedies, from spraying spicy or bitter-tasting liquids on the grass, to ringing the lawn with an unattractive array of glass jars filled with water.

The best answer is to train your pet from puppy days to use a designated plot in a corner of the rear yard using dirt or gravel that absorbs urine. Rewarding the puppy with doggy treats and kind words can speed the training process.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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