GAINESVILLE, Fla. — What’s better than watching a new puppy run over a lush, healthy lawn?
For this year’s National Puppy Day, March 23, a lawn care expert at the University of Florida says both dogs and people can benefit from these grassy spaces.
“A lawn provides the backdrop to the urban landscape. It’s a place where people and pets can play. And, most importantly, it keeps the dirt in place so your dog doesn’t bring it inside the house,” said Laurie Trenholm, professor of environmental horticulture in UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
For those concerned about damage a new pet might do to a lawn, Trenholm says there are a few potential issues to keep in mind.
“Most problems aren’t going to be too major, but with traffic issues—if the dog runs in the same pattern every day—you will get loss of the turf, and weeds may move in,” Trenholm said. If bald patches pop up where your pooch likes to roam, consider putting down some pavers in that area, she said.
“Another problem that happens sometimes is what we call dog spot. This is when the dog uses the same spot to pee on the lawn. They are providing it with a big dose of soluble nitrogen, so you can see some injury to the grass,” Trenholm said.
Dog spot looks like a yellow circle in the grass. It may not be aesthetically appealing, but it generally won’t affect the overall health of the lawn, she said.
In most cases, grass will recover from traffic damage or dog spot, especially during the growing season, which for Florida’s warm-season grasses is during the summer months, Trenholm said.
And with the warm season approaching, homeowners can take steps to help their lawn stay healthy and make it a place their new best friend can enjoy.
One common lawn care mistake homeowners often make this time of the year is overwatering, Trenholm said. The recommendation is to apply ½ to ¾ of an inch of water each time you irrigate. How frequently you irrigate is going to be based on season, the amount of shade and grass species, she said.
“Lawn care involves the basic practices of fertilizing, irrigating and mowing correctly. For tips on how to best care for you lawn, check out the UF/IFAS Extension publications on proper lawn care or contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office,” she said.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.