I have two beautiful Italian Greyhounds and every spring I am tasked with Lawn vs Dog spot repairs.

Lawn vs Dogs - example of urine damage

A beautiful lawn is my green obsession. To witness the first few blades of green grass push through the soil surface is such a thrill for me. No doubt, another one of nature’s finest performances.

Living in a townhome complex with landscape support is great, however, before lawn care services actually begin in spring, the grass is starting to grow and I am compelled to take on pet damage control. Spring works fine for damage repair even though fall seeding is recommended for a complete lawn or larger renovation.

Growing grass from seed is very easy to do and the results are surprisingly seamless. It’s truly incredible how quickly the seedlings sprout. Some days you can literally watch it grow!

Three simple steps to growing grass from seed successfully:

1. ‘Lawn vs Dogs’ – Start with the Right Seed

Select a quality grass seed suitable for your site location. Check the best before date as you need viable seeds that will germinate well. Choose a type of seed for specific growing conditions. Cool-season grass seed germinates best at a temperature between 10 and 18 C (50-65 F). Consider sun exposure and use of space. Eg: Full sun, shade, high traffic, pets etc.

Ryegrass and Fescue are considered the more urine-resistant types of grass, while Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermuda are the most sensitive.

2. Prepare the Soil

Prepare the ground where you want to plant grass seed. Consider soil quality and add topsoil if necessary. Some soil brands are fortified especially with nutrients that improve grass seed germination. Light soft soil that’s well-raked will create a fine bed for your new seed.

3. Spread Seed and Keep it Moist

Over-seed works best for filling in bare spots. Don’t bury it; just spread on top of the soft prepared soil. You may wish to pat it down or roll it very lightly if you’re seeding a large area. The goal is simply to ensure good contact between the seed and the soil surface.

Water the newly seeded area gently every day for at least 21 days. If you let the seed dry out, it will die. Don’t overdo it though – it doesn’t need to be soaking wet, just moist.

Grass seedlings sprout between 5 and 30 days. Expect to see good grass growth coverage in a couple of weeks.

Important Tip in your ‘Lawn vs Dogs’ effort – keep your four-legged friends out of the new grass for at least 3 weeks.

Fun facts about grass:

  • Dog urine lawn spots happen because of the high amount of nitrogen and related salts naturally contained in dog urine. Female dogs often get blamed for dog urine burning grass, but their urine is no different than that of male dogs. When concentrated urine collects in a single area, lawn damage happens. It’s a lot like fertilizer burn.
  • Grass is part of the Gramineae family of plants. It is the largest of all plant families with over 9,000 known species. Rice, corn and oats are just a few examples of grass plants. Grasses are vital to the agricultural and livestock product industries; energizing global food commodities.
  • One grass plant is a tuft of blades about the size of a quarter therefore for a good stand of grass we need 1 seed to germinate per ¼ inch.

Related Resources:

OMAFRA Crop facts – Lawn Renovation