I recently had a client ask what they should do with a turfed area of garden that had been badly affected by their dogs. With an O.C.D. German Sheppard and two other dogs being kept in the area, the turf had suffered some severe traffic from her pets, causing it to become very patchy.   When the dog to garden area ratio is high then you will be up against it, however there are a few things you can do to try and get the garden looking good again.

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Ensuring dogs are well exercised, have toys to amuse and where possible a companion, will reduce the havoc caused in your garden.  It is also important to consider the plants that are in areas where dogs (particularly puppies) are kept for periods of time.  Many plants can be toxic when consumed and with young playful, teething puppies this can be a real concern. Take a look at this list of common plants that you should be mindful of with your pets, especially if you have a plant munching puppy at your place.  Remember this is often just a stage they go through, so removing plants from your garden to ensure the safety of your pets my not be needed but rather fencing off garden beds or areas of the garden until the behaviour is outgrown.


Lawn burn (caused from excessive dog urine) can also be a problem for grassed areas of your garden.

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Female dogs are usually the culprits as they empty their bladders in one spot, as opposed to releasing small amounts of urine in various locations as male dogs do to mark their territory. High protein diets cause high levels of Nitrogen in the urine causing the burn spots to the lawn. A good quality pet food which doesn’t provide excessive protein is suggested, along with regularly watering your lawn to reduce the buildup of Nitrogen in areas. Depending on your situation, using a watering can to dilute the urine will ensure burn does not occur, but this approach can be a time consuming fix.



Where your turf has been damaged by traffic or pacing, then replacing the turf, with a more robust variety like a wide leaf buffalo, may be your best option. IMG 6951 3If a more cost effective approach is needed, then buying some lengths of turf and cutting them into 20cm² sections and planting them out to eventually grow into one another may be a better approach but you will need to keep the dogs off this area until the grass regenerates. Seeding is a cheaper option but you might find that you spend more time fighting off the birds (consider netting small areas) and you will need to fence off the affected areas until the grass is established.

In some instances lifting the turf and replacing with a concrete path, paving or garden bed area may alleviate the problem. Dogs that race up and down a fence line can track through the back of a mulched garden bed causing less issues and allowing you peace of mind.


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