A cat or dog makes a great companion for you and your kids, but not so much for your turf. There are quite a few ways your pet can damage your grass, but luckily, most of the problems they cause for your lawn are treatable or avoidable.
A common problem for animal owners is pets leaving patches of yellow grass where they regularly ‘do their business’. The lawn may seem like the best option to your pet, but it’s definitely not the best thing for your turf. Urine damage is a common issue preventing the appearance of an even natural and healthy-looking grass. In certain areas where pets return to the same spot regularly, the lawn becomes yellow or brown, caused by the high levels of nitrogen in your pet’s urine.
Preventing a yellow lawn
To stop this problem from occurring your pet can be trained to go elsewhere. Some pets are less of a problem than others, such as cats. Although cats are harder to train than dogs, they usually prefer to use garden beds, sand patches or litter trays instead of grass. Dogs may need more encouragement. Since they have a habit of urinating in the same spot, permanently brown patches of turf can develop fast. By using a leash and some encouraging praise, you can retrain dogs to use an alternative and less visible location.
Stop scent marking
You might notice that your pet enjoys marking its territory … on your lawn. Occasionally they’ll feel the need to go to the toilet in places you’ve trained them not to. However, it’s not the end for your turf. By heavily watering the patches of grass they’ve urinated on as soon as you can, the nitrogen will be neutralised and your lawn won’t show any negative effects. Water the grass regularly in hot weather too, to ensure an even appearance of your lawn.
If your lawn has already taken some damage, it’s best to give it time to recover. Try and keep pets off your lawn for at least a few weeks and water regularly to help nurture the grass back to good health. If current brown patches aren’t too severe, a good fertiliser will also help revitalise your lawn and get its natural colour back. Fertiliser will also help neutralise any urine smell.
If your lawn is damaged beyond repair, it may require being patched with new turf. Replace the small areas of dead grass with new turf and follow the usual requirements to help it settle in to place.
A lawn doesn’t get too damaged from your pet’s droppings. However, it is an unpleasant sight (and smell) for the owner. Make sure to regularly water, rake and fertilise after removing any pet faeces as soon as possible, to keep your lawn looking fresh. As for related wear and tear, your pet may try to ‘help you out’ by covering up their poop. This can damage your lawn due where they rip good sections of lawn in an attempt to cover their mess.
During games such as fetch, running or dragging toys around dogs can create worn patches or tracks around your lawn. Regularly taking your dog to the park instead of keeping them at home will minimise this issue by spreading their exercise to other locations and keeping the dog more tired when at home in the yard. If you don’t have much time to take an active dog out each day, make sure they have a variety of places to roam. Fencing off sections of your yard will give lawn time to ‘rest’. Rotating areas for play and lawn protection keeps your pet entertained and your grass growing strong.
Most pets like to dig and there are some easy solutions to stop dogs, particularly, from creating craters in your turf. Temporarily place remnants of their own faeces near where they enjoy digging or directly inside any holes they have dug, and lightly cover with soil. Cats will stay away from citrus, so any lemon or orange peel will keep them away from spots they once favoured. It is also said that Cayenne pepper sprinkled near problem areas keeps animals from reoffending, which may be an easier solution if you have more than one animal.
Choose pet-friendly turf
There is no turf (yet) that is labelled ‘animal-resistant’, but there are some types of grass that are tougher than others. These varieties include Buffalo, Couch or Kikuyu turf, and they are able to tolerate wear and tear from the family pet quite well. So make sure to choose carefully when purchasing new turf. Keep in mind the above advice when caring for your lawn – and of course your pet – for years of backyard harmony.
[This sponsored post is brought to you by Hi Quality Turf.]