Buying dog resistant turf
Speaking as a dog owner and a gardener, if you are somebody looking for dog resistant turf – I feel your pain!
There are two main issues with letting Fido on the lawn
- Wear and Tear
- Urine Scorch
Let’s look at them in turn.
Dogs that like to run and play can be tough on the lawn
I have two middle aged dogs who are still pretty active and we’ll be welcoming a puppy to the family very soon too. So my own lawn is frequently used as a race-track and a surface for roly-poly games. The new pup is a retriever so there’ll also be “chase and fetch” games to add to the mix.
I won’t pretend that my lawn is my obsession, but I do try to take care of it, keep it green and avoid bare patches. The problem with bare bits is that they not only look ugly, they provide the perfect surface for weeds to germinate and moss to thrive.
Choose the right turf to cope with wear and tear
If ever I need to re-turf or patch up a particularly bad area, I always choose a tough turf. One that contains dwarf perennial ryegrass and a little bit of smooth stalked meadow grass.
Why those lawn grass species?
Dwarf perennial ryegrass has a lovely texture, but more importantly than that, it is tough. Really tough. If the leaves or crown are damaged, the plant recovers really quickly. It’s little wonder that the courts at Wimbledon are almost 100% ryegrass. The roots of ryegrass reach deep into the soil where they are protected from surface scuffing.
Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass has this amazing ability to fill in gaps in a lawn. It grows from underground stems known as rhizomes and makes a really thick sward. It’s also rather good at coping with drought.
A great turf for areas that need to be hardwearing is Emerald Lawn Turf from Stewarts Turf in Scotland.
Coping with Urine Scorch
This is a harder one to deal with and it’s every dog-lawn owner’s nightmare. Dog Urine – especially if you have a girl-dog can make a lawn look seriously ugly.
Dog urine contains urea, which breaks down in the soil to become nitrogen. Nitrogen is food for plants but in high concentrations it can scorch and kill grass. (Which is why you should never apply more than the recommended dose of lawn feed).
Set aside a dog-toiletting area in your garden to ease the pressure on the lawn
Typically, the areas where your dog has peed will start of as a dark green circle where the grass grows stronger and faster (because it’s been well fed). These patches will survive, unless they get peed on again and again, in which case the grass will die.
You could, chase your dog around the garden with a bucket of water to tip on pee patches as they happen. That will dilute the urea and wash it through the soil. But oh my goodness, what a time-consuming hobby and the neighbours will think you’ve gone completely mad!
Prevention is the best cure for urine scorch. Train your dog to relieve itself away from the lawn. Maybe have an area of bark mulch that he/she can use. Or take him/her for long walks twice a day so that the garden gets less use.
A turf with Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass will fill in the gaps where urine has been fatal to the grasses – but it does take time.
Recommended dog resistant turf
There is no such thing as dog-resistant turf but some types of turf will cope better than others. This one is as good as any I know of