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Dog Gone Problems

Many dog owners have experienced the problem of having a damaged lawn full of holes and dead grass due to their furry friends playing and doing their business in it. Balancing a nice-looking lawn and a place for your dog to play can be challenging, especially if you have a smaller lawn and a bigger, more active dog.

Damage from urine, dog poop, digging, and obviously running creates a huge problem when you are

trying to maintain a pristine space for you and your dog to enjoy. It will be a never-ending battle as long as the space is small and the dogs are active, but here are some things you can do to improve the quality of your lawn! 

When choosing the right variety of grass, it's important to consider your location. Your options might be limited if you live in a transition zone like Central Kansas. Some types of grasses that are suitable for high foot traffic may not do well in our area. However, some grasses that grow well in Central Kansas include tall fescue, K31 fescue, RTF, annual rye (avoid perennial rye if possible), Bermuda, and Zoysia. Some bluegrass varieties may do well, but the extreme summer heat is not optimal for most any bluegrass varieties. 

The seed types mentioned above are all good choices, but it's important to note that the challenge of maintaining a lawn with pets will persist. Annual rye is a great option if you want to seed this spring, as it germinates quickly and establishes itself relatively fast compared to other types of turf. This means your furry friends can run around on it sooner. It doesn't do the best regarding foot traffic, so mixing it with RTF may be a good option as RTF recovers from foot traffic much better than rye and other tall fescues. Annual rye mixed with RTF is a quick and affordable solution if you're looking to thicken your lawn to prevent muddy paw prints in your home quickly.

If you are looking for other cool season grass that remains green throughout the year, premium tall fescue and K31 are good options to mix in as well, but they aren't as tolerant to foot traffic as the RTF would be. In our area, it is advised to avoid bluegrasses and fine fescues as they struggle with summer heat and require more water. Another choice is to plant Bermuda or Zoysia. Bermuda is easier to establish than Zoysia, but they are both durable turf types that can withstand wear and tear. However, the downside is that Bermuda and Zoysia go dormant most of the year, which means that you will have dead grass in your lawn for most of the year, and your pets may track it indoors. But, this is another option to consider!

Lastly, maintaining good watering, fertilizing and clean-up habits is also essential for a healthy lawn. It is widely known that dog urine contains nitrogen, which can burn the grass. This issue is particularly severe with female dogs as they tend to urinate in one spot, emptying their entire bladder in one go. On the other hand, male dogs tend to spread the urine around. However, the larger the dog, the more significant the problem. It is also crucial to clean up dog poop frequently as the excess nitrogen in it can burn the lawn if it has time to break down. Proper mowing, watering, and fertilizing of the lawn can help reduce the damage caused by your pet's waste. Mow your cool season lawn 3.5 to 4 inches, water the lawn properly meaning avoid over and under watering, and fertilize your lawn throughout the season to keep the lawn as healthy as possible. The more traffic the lawn sustains, the more frequently it may need to be fertilized. PROPER fertilizing is the key here as well!

It's difficult to love your lawn and your dog at the same time, but it is possible. It may mean seeding once or twice a year, but it's a sacrifice we must make if we want to have a nice lawn and a happy puppy friend! If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We're always here to assist you in any way we can, and we hope this can make life with your furry friends and your lawn a little easier this spring!


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