Solutions: Pet Urine on Grass, and Dog Friendly Shrubs


Dog urine doesn't hurt landscape plants. (picture by Christiane Marshall)


Pets are part of the family, but how do we keep them from ruining our outdoor gardens and landscape? Is pet urine on grass and shrubs causing problems in your yard?





A dog is part of the family. (picture by Christiane Marshall)

When visiting my daughter who lives in a nicely landscaped apartment complex in San Diego, I was intrigued by the healthy shrubs and grass despite the presence of dogs–lots of them. The residents walk their dogs daily, dropping little doggy bags in strategically placed decorative trash cans. But the urine remains where it is left! Each dog marks over the last dog’s drippings. After two months, I was expecting to see dead bushes and brown grass.


Colorful and healthy foliage. (picture by Christiane Marshall)

I found just the opposite–healthy and vigorous plants! Except for the grass which now has brown and yellow patches. I decided to call some local landscapers and ask if there were certain landscaping plants that could withstand dog urine.

No sign of problems from frequent dog visits. (picture by Christiane Marshall)

So, are there dog friendly shrubs? According to John Mueller of Mueller’s Lanscaping, Inc. in San Diego, dog urine actually fertilizes the plants.

He explained that sometimes in dry climates, the urine can be too concentrated for plants. However, watering them sufficiently solves that easily. So, don’t stress over your dog’s marking behaviors, except for the grass. But there are some grasses that do better with dogs. According to local landscapers, Bermuda grass or Kentucky Bluegrass are good choices for dog owners.

There are other simple and inexpensive things you can do to make your landscaping plants thrive. Try applying mycorrhizal inoculants brimming with beneficial microscopic life. It won’t break the bank either. (Read why and how they help your plants.)

Unfortunately, grass is the exception. Experts say changing the type of grass might help. (Picture by Christiane Marshall)

There are some dog owner challenges that I haven’t been able to solve. For years we had a lab and a siberian husky on our 173 acre farm. They were great hunters who kept creatures out of our garden. Unfortunately, they liked to dig up an area of the garden to sleep in. We decided that was unavoidable. I’d love to hear ideas on how to keep faithful, garden protecting canine companions out of the garden! How did you solve that challenge?

About Christiane Marshall

Christiane Marshall is a freelance writer/copywriter and special education teacher living on 173 acres in Southeast Ohio. She is a minister's wife, mother of five grown children and a grandmother of one new baby girl. Christiane specializes in copywriting but also enjoys writing articles on many subjects including organic gardening, education, special education and advocacy, faith, travel, and animal rescue.
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