Dog owners know the problem of yellowing leaves on their plants all too well. We show how to save plants from dog urine.
Dog owners know the problem well enough: When romping around in the garden, the four-legged friend has to relieve himself and uses the plants for this. What doesn't sound bad at first, can turn into a big problem.
Unsightly, yellow spots form in the leaves where the dog's urine has touched the plants. Plants that regularly come into contact with dog urine, for example because the dog marks the spot, are particularly badly affected. But what can you do about the yellowing leaves and why does dog urine damage the plants in the first place? In our article, we clarify these.
Why Does Dog Urine Damage Plants?
Basically, just a little bit of dog urine does not automatically damage the plant. In fact, the smallest amount of it can even have a fertilizing effect on the plant. However, this effect is reversed with larger amounts or frequent urination in the same place. The high salt content in the urine removes the water from the plants and thus ensures that the plants are dried out.
In interaction with sunshine, the plants literally burn, similar to over-fertilization. If the dog's urine gets into the soil, it also has the effect that the roots can no longer absorb water. This ultimately leads to the fact that the plants die off.
How to Save Plants from Dog Urine
If the plant has been affected by dog urine, the only thing that will help is leaching the plant with tap water. However, this only removes the urea that is still present in the soil. If the plant is already yellowing because it has absorbed the salts, most of the damage is done and this can't be “neutralized”. Remove the affected foliage after the plant is reestablished.
The best way to ensure the dog doesn't urinate on the spot again is to cordon off the said area from the rest of the garden with fencing or large flower pots. However, this is neither visually appealing nor particularly simple.
Therefore, you can also grab a simple garden sprinkler and place it near the spot. If the dog runs around freely in the garden, it should be switched on – many dogs avoid the water and prefer to look for other places for their relief. If strange dogs pee on your property, you can also use sprinklers with motion detectors, which are activated as soon as someone approaches the area.
How to Prevent Dog Urine Staining
If you have frequent problems with dog urine on your plants, then you can definitely try taking preventative measures. If you see, for example, how the dog uses the plant to urinate, a grip on the water hose helps. Watering the affected area can neutralize dog urine on the lawn.
How to Keep Dogs Off Lawns
Due to the high dilution, the osmotic effect of dog urine on the lawn does not come into play. Possible residues in the soil are also washed away. At the same time, watering reduces the smell of pee on the plant. This means that dogs are less interested in marking the spot again.
Owners of a front yard, in particular, are often annoyed by stray dogs that urinate on their plants. If you want to prevent urine stains on the plants, you can make your property unattractive for dogs by choosing the right plants. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), for example, is an eye-catcher in the garden, but most dogs avoid it because of its strong smell. The Piss-Off Plant (Plectranthus caninus) also lives up to its name, because neither dogs nor cats can stand its smell.
Thorn hedges also help as a natural defense against dogs: raspberry (Rubus idaeus), barberry (Berberis vulgaris) or holly (Ilex) can act as a natural barrier when planted between the sidewalk and lawn. Their spines ensure that the dogs do not like to cross them and therefore do not step on the lawn. However, caution is advised here: some high-spirited four-legged friends throw themselves into the hedges despite all the dangers and can suffer minor injuries such as scratches or thorns.
If only the plants are bothered by dog urine, you can also fall back on salt-tolerant plants. Bee balm (Monarda didyma), Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.), Moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora), Coleus (Plectranthus scrtellarioides), and Ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum) are known for their high salt tolerance. As a result, they tolerate contact with dog urine much better than other plants.