Green and Serene:
The solution to dog urine scalded lawn is here!
By Christie Keith
Dog owners, tired of splotches of urine-killed grass? There is help at hand!
Most people understandably want to change their dog's urine so that it no longer scalds the grass. It seems obvious that urine must burn due to its acidity, and there are additives or foods that will make the urine more alkaline. The catch is that it's not the acidity of your dog's urine that scalds the grass, but the nitrogen content. (Dog-On-It Lawn Problems, Turfgrass Resources Center.) By making the urine less acid, you do nothing to preserve your lawn, and you also put your dog's health at risk. Carnivore urine is meant to be acidic, and this acidity may help prevent bacterial infections of the urinary tract and other possible health problems, including some kinds of stones. (Note: Other kinds of stones thrive in an acid urine, so if your dog has been diagnosed with a condition for which an alkaline urine is recommended, be sure to follow your vet's advice.)
What is the caring dog owner who also loves the lawn to do?
I have one word of advice: Clover. Over-seed your existing turf with clover suited for your climate and soil type.
Clover has many, many benefits. It stays green with far less water than grass. It needs less mowing. It shades out weeds. It fixes nitrogen in the soil and needs no fertilizing, ever. Most importantly for dog lovers, it does not scald when your dogs pee on it. Isn't it better to use a lawn plant like clover that is in every way superior to turf, including in its tolerance for dogs using it for a toilet?
Some people find the lovely little flowers a plus. Others object to them because they attract bees. However, they are attracting honey bees, and honey bees rarely sting away from the hive. If you object to them, just mow more frequently during the blossoming season.
Clover is helpful with erosion and is somewhat deeper-rooted than turf (turf is actually pretty deep rooted naturally, but every time you mow, you kill the exact same amount of root that you cut off the blades above ground, so it never has a chance).
Clover is a better environmental choice, is extremely beautiful, is cheaper and easier, and is ideal for dog owners. It also serves to hide dog poop. I can't think of one reason to use turf when clover is so much better!
There are species of clover that do very well under trees, better than turf grass does. I use a blend that was made for orchards. It might not be the right one for your yard, but you can check with the nice folks at Peaceful Valley Farms; they have been extremely helpful to me over the years.