Why does lawn burn occur?
Lawn burn is caused by the nitrogen in dog urine. According to Doctors Foster and Smith, because dogs are carnivores they have high levels of protein in their diet. Their bodies break down the protein and excrete it in their urine as nitrogen. Nitrogen in and of itself is not bad for your lawn, some fertilizers contain nitrogen. The nitrogen-rich urine becomes a problem for your lawn when it is put excessively in one area. For example, if your dog continues to pee in the same spot you are likely to get a urine burn on your lawn.
Factors that affect lawn burns:
- Urine burns tend to be more common with female dogs because they squat and urinate all in one area.
- Urine burns tend to be more common with larger dogs because they produce a larger quantity of urine at a time.
- Urine burns are worse on lawns that are treated with fertilizer regularly.
- Lawns affected by drought or that have been recently sodded/seeded are more susceptible to lawn burns.
Don’t think that having a dog means your lawn will be ruined forever. A dog and a healthy lawn can live in perfect harmony. If your lawn is experiencing burns from your pet’s urine, there are things that can help.
- Increasing water supply can help dilute the urine, lowering its nitrogen content. Some people will do this by adding water to their dog’s food or add canned food (which is higher in water) to their diet.
- Watering your lawn frequently can help reduce lawn burns.
There are also products available that can help prevent lawn burn.