Prevention of Dog Urine Spots – Turfgrass Science at Purdue University

Prevention of Dog Urine Spots

We have received a ton of questions on dog urine spots this year, probably because it has been a very dry April. Dog urine will burn leaf blades because the high concentration of salts in the urine will pull water out of the leaf dehydrating the leaf. This problem is exaggerated by warm and/or dry weather hastening water movement out of the leaf, thus increasing rate and degree of burn . Unfortunately, there are only two solutions to preventing urine spots. Preventing the dog from urinating on the turf is the best option. The second, less effective option is to thoroughly water the area where the dog has urinated, preferably prior to the urine drying on the leaf. A very remote solution could be to replant with a species called alkali grass (aka. Fultz weeping alkali grass) may be able to withstand the salts better than our traditional lawn grasses like bluegrass, ryegrass and tall fescue. Unfortunately, this grass doesn’t withstand IN summers in the southern 1/2 to 2/3rds of the state and it must be irrigated to survive in northern IN. Given the inevitable loss of our traditional turf species to dog urine, we have very little to lose and it might be worth the risk on regularly irrigated lawns.

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