ARTICLES

16.09.2014

DOGS AND OTHER PETS ON YOUR LAWN

Much time is needed to keep your lawn healthy and dense, let alone the tremendous efforts that must be exerted. This includes not only the lawn mowing on the regular basis and weed control. You should also ensure regular watering and qualitative soil aeration. There exist many factors likely to endanger the healthy viability of your lawn. Among them are the irrational use of pesticides, unfavorable weather conditions, and even animals, including your pets.

The damage of lawn grasses not only affects the surface in terms of the quality of its appearance, it causes the decomposition and further extinction of the whole decorative area. In this article we are going to concentrate your attention on different means of pest control on your lawn. We’ll also consider the best known measures to keep the lawn grass healthy.

YOUR LAWN AND PETS: TRY TO REACH A COMPROMISE 

Pets can cause irreversible harm to the lawn, digging pits and actively playing on the surface. Their urine and fecal matter burn the grass coating, and the grass gets hurt. As the result you have a yellow and dry lawn. Your pets can also like the taste of the lawn grass. All the factors named above can lead to the unfavorable conditions for your lawn’s healthy viability.

Your lawn demands much investment and physical effort, that’s why you should keep in mind that the lawn renovation after having been damaged by your pets is a time taking procedure.

The most widespread problem of pet owners is yellow and brownish urine spots preventing the grass growth because of their acidity. The fecal matter initially acting like herbicide then starts killing grass, the reason being nitrogen compounds. In general, the dogs’ urine is a much bigger problem, then fecal. The grass quickly absorbs acidic and nitrogen-rich urine. On the other hand, the fecal matter remains lying on the surface and you can easily do the cleaning up.

To prevent your dog from meeting the calls of nature where it wants is the most working way to keep your grass healthy. You shouldn’t let your dog at once on the lawn; it must be let out on other areas of your garden first. In case the trouble occurred the first step is to flush the spot with water.

GRASS TRAMPLING

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Playing with a dog on the lawn remains one of the most beloved active games. But one must keep in mind that the prolonged active play on the grass coating inevitably leads to the soil compaction. That’s why the need for proper aeration is of great demand.

You shouldn’t let your dogs on the new grass (the first 2-3 months after sowing or laying turf). Avoid playing on wet grass. Sudden run-ups and breakings make its claws produce deep traces with uprooted grass. You can train your dog stop digging the lawn, but other kinds of activities are very difficult to influence. You can’t actually negate active games. The most optimal decision in this case is changing the area you are likely to play on, thus the lawn vegetation will colonize quicker.

What should you do if your pet enjoys eating the lawn grass? You can’t prohibit doing that as well because your pet needs it much as a nutrient. That’s why it’s necessary to sow grass for this very purpose at the backyard. Resistant grasses are to be sown if you are a dog owner.

The most optimal variant is to sow sustainable grass varieties resistant to additional loads and capable of quick and full recovery. Many experts recommend turf seed mixtures where ryegrass seeds are prevailing in this case. This perennial plant is a low-growing, tufted, hairless grass, with a bunching growth habit. The leaves are dark green, smooth and glossy on the lower surface, with untoothed parallel sides and prominent parallel veins on the upper surface. The leaves are folded lengthwise in bud with a strong central keel, giving a flattened appearance. The germination of the young plants is observed on the fifth-thirteenth day after sowing, it depends upon the time of sowing and the climatic zone you’re living in. Lolium is highly appreciated for this very quality. In addition, it grows fast after frequent mowing procedures, and is characterized by high resistance to mechanical stress, which makes it one of the most important compounds of turf seed mixtures for sports lawns.

However, if you still have any doubts, it’s better to address an expert as quickly as possible. Only professionals can suggest the most informed decisions concerning lawn sowing taking into account the climatic and geographical features of the area. The lawn worked out professionally will bring you and your pet boundless delight!

MOLES

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Their capacity to dig soil deeply turns a real headache for estate owners. Check your soil and lawn for their tunnels. They will look like raised swellings. In years of their number increase the molehills can amount 50% of your lawn’s territory. It’s not the aesthetic side to be touched. Moles are making their tunnels under the roots of perennial plants. It results with the abundance of holes preventing nutrients reach the root zone. These little black creatures are likely to damage your lawn on sandy soils or loamy sands. However, any other lawn can be favored by moles. In many European countries the mole is listed in the Red Book. That’s why this animal is treated as one of the endangered species and can’t be killed. They dig up the soil letting the proper airflow and kill many pests. However, many gardeners are quite convinced that the mole  is much more harmful than useful.

Preventing moles from occurring on your lawn. Mole control techniques.

Certainly, moles are better to be prevented than fought. Moles rely on earthworms as their favorite food, that’s why you are to reduce their population on your lawn first. Earthworms don’t damage the turf, on the contrary, they are considered to help drain the soil, making their pathways. But the soil piles produced by them don’t only spoil the appearance of turf, the danger is that these piles cause great damage to grass when being squeezed under your boots or under the wheels of a lawnmower. Thus you have irregularities on your lawn’s surface. Weed seeds start sprouting on these sticky damp soil spots. You are to remove the grass cuttings and brush off earthworm waste, and also increase the soil acidity. You can do it by means of  mulching the lawn’s surface with peat or fertilizers (ammonium sulphate). Keep in mind that lime is not to be added.

Moles are not so easy to get rid of. The pile produced by a mole should be immediately removed to let the grass grow freely. Then resow gaps or cover with turf if necessary. There are various methods of mole control: naphthalene, burning paper, creosote, traps, various disinfecting agents, smoke canisters. If moles tend to concentrate in one place, then it’s better to use traps which must be set after rain in autumn or spring. Chemical agents can be used  by special professional services only. In general, the most widespread toxic agent is zinc phosphide.

You can also try digging obstacle pathways 50 meters deep strengthening perimeter protection with protective metal grid or with roofing felt. It will enable earthworms move freely and create a real obstacle for moles.

BIRDS

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Birds are not dangerous for mature lawn, except for starlings that damage turf digging out the larvae of daddylonglegs and grackles when gathering material for their nests. In particular, birds are bad for a freshly sown lawn. Some species are likely to eat out seeds, other prefer bathing in the dust on the lawn which hasn’t emerged yet. The third enjoy eating young grass shoots. If you noticed birds cause danger to your lawn, just cover the seeded area with a lightweight nonwoven textile and tighten a net over it, or fix threads far and wide. In general, birds are attracted by the larvae of daddylonglegs or cockchafer living in the turf, that’s why you are to control these insects first. Insecticides will help to limit the further spread of these pests.

ANTS

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If you noticed small sand piles on your lawn, then it’s likely that you have to deal with garden ants. They are not so dangerous for your lawn but their wastes make lawn mowing much more difficult, to say nothing about the aesthetic aspect. The worst-case scenario is the  emergence of turf ants, as they tend to damage grass roots, and leaves start turning yellow. How can you control them? You get rid of ants as follows: the piles are to be removed with a brush, then their nesting and breeding areas must be dusted with pyrethrum. Ants are easy to chase away with the use of oxidized peat which must be sprinkled over the lawn grass.

THE MINE BEE (ANDREA NIGROAENEA)

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This is not a bee we’ve got used to. These bee species don’t sting, they tend to live in soil or under pavements, producing small soil hills on the surface resembling the volcano cone. They look like ant-made piles, but they have explicit craters on the very top. The hills come as the result of digging out their nests, throwing soil on the surface. They are not a great threat for your lawn as well as anthills. Of course, they don’t add to your lawn’s aesthetics. Particular efforts shouldn’t be undertaken in this case – just only brush away the hills before mowing. In case insects don’t tend to change their location over the years, then the hills are to be dusted with hexachloranum in April.

DOGS AND OTHER PETS ON YOUR LAWN