It is that time of year again. Lawns are growing, flowers are blooming and the smell of freshly cut grass is in the air. But while some people might be excited to enjoy their yards and gardens, others may find themselves dreading it.
What if your dog pees on the lawn? What if you fertilize too much or not enough? Should you water every day or just a few times per week? These are all questions we get asked about lawn care at one point in time during springtime – but there are also things that most homeowners cannot answer!
That is where this blog post comes into play (hint hint!). We will answer if dog pee kills grass along with 18 other frequently asked questions about lawns.
1. Is Grass a Plant?
There are many scientific definitions for the word “plant.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines a plant as “a living organism of the kingdom Plantae, including both vascular and non-vascular plants”.
Plants have been on earth for over 400 million years, and they make up around 95% of all life on Earth. There is no universal definition for what constitutes a plant, but there are common characteristics that can be found in most definitions:
1) Cells with chlorophyll to help them carry out photosynthesis
3) Need water to grow
4) Produce their own food through photosynthesis
5) Contain cellulose
6) Reproduce sexually or asexually
Grass definitely falls under the category of plants because it produces its own food by photosynthesis and makes its own energy.
2. What is a lawn?
A lawn is an area of land covered by grass, typically found in front and back yards.
Lawns are generally managed to create a pleasing effect on the eye with distinctive areas like flowerbeds or shaded sitting spaces that provide relief from their surroundings. They can also serve as play spaces for children and areas of recreational use.
3. Is Grass a Weed?
First of all, let us define ‘weed’. Weeds are plants that grow where they are not wanted or in a way that is detrimental to the environment. They can compete with crops for resources like sunlight, water, and nutrients.
This means that most plants in your garden qualify as weeds if you did not specifically plant them there! So, what about grass? Grass is considered a weed by many but not everyone would agree because many of us like having grass lawns.
4. Is Grass Edible?
If we are talking about regular grass in your garden, it is not that it is not edible, it is that you would not want to eat it. Regular grass has a bad taste, and it has no nutritional value – you would expend more energy digesting it than you gain from eating it.
However, many cultures around the world do regularly consume grass as part of their regular diet.
Different types of grass provide different nutrients and medical benefits to the body. For example, one type of grass called chlorella produces chlorophyll which can help purify the blood and boost immunity by removing heavy metals from our cells. Another type of edible green leafy plant is wheatgrass which has been found to contain more protein than other vegetables like spinach or broccoli when measured on a per-weight basis.
5. Will Grass Grow in Stony Soil?
Many of us have heard the old adage that “you can’t grow grass on a rock.” However, what we may not know is that there are many factors to consider when trying to determine whether or not grass will grow in rocky soil.
The first factor to consider is what kind of rocks are present. The type and size of rocks as well as their abundance will play a role in determining how hospitable the environment would be for plant life.
Soil that is particularly stony is not great for growing grass, so it is a good idea to remove as many of the stones as possible. Stony soil also dries out and loses nutrients quickly, so amending with compost can help by providing an organic alternative that retains those minerals.
If you are unable to amend the soil, drought-tolerant grass is a good choice because it will require less watering and has the capacity to thrive in harsh environments.
6. Can I Put Builders Rubble Under My Lawn?
The answer to this question is a resounding NO. Builders’ rubble, such as concrete and bricks, can cause more harm than good when it comes to your lawn.
Even if you are putting builders’ rubble under your lawn in order to help level out an incline or uneven ground, there are other ways that would be less harmful to your grass.
In the past, it was not uncommon to find builders’ rubble under lawns. However, this is no longer the case. The law changed in 1993 when builders were required to remove all of their rubbish from the site before leaving or they are fined for every tonne that has not been cleared away.
7. Can I Put Topsoil Over Grass and Reseed?
This is a loaded question, and the answer depends on the reason why you are thinking of doing this in the first place.
If your lawn is healthy and you are planning to add topsoil to create a more even surface or to raise it a little, adding topsoil and reseeding will be fine.
If, however, you want to add topsoil because your lawn is not growing particularly well, you might think that putting topsoil over the existing grass will solve this problem but unfortunately, it is not as simple as that.
The first step in fixing an ugly lawn is to find out why the ground underneath is not growing lush green grass anymore. There could be many reasons including a lack of nutrients for your soil and dry conditions which cause drought stress on the plants. If these problems are addressed, then adding topsoil will be a successful solution.
The most important thing to remember when attempting any type of landscaping project on your property is always do some research beforehand about what materials will work best for your specific needs before starting anything at all!
8. Do I Need to Remove Grass Before Rotavating?
The answer to that question is no, you do not need to remove your grass before beginning the process – but it is up to personal preference or what you are trying to achieve.
This being said, some people prefer removing their grass because it can help make for an easier clean-up afterwards. Grass removal also gives a more thorough look at any potential problems below ground level which may require further investigation.
Another thing to consider is whether you are planning to use the plot for growing vegetables, if so, you may want to remove all of the turf before you rotavate and then till in some well-rotted manure or compost.
9. How to get Daisies on your Lawn?
Daisies can be planted from seeds (you can buy a packet of daisy seeds at your local garden centre). Plant them in soil that is moist and full of nutrients, about 1 inch below ground level.
A concentration of fertilizer three inches out from the plant will help give it added nutrients to thrive. Having less busy but sturdy grass in close proximity to the new daisies will also provide protection for the new flowers, as dew water will not cause their roots to rot during transpiration events.
Be careful not to disturb the area once a flower starts showing signs of bloom, they should be left alone until they are fully grown before being transplanted into other areas.
10. What are the White Grubs on my Lawn?
The grubs most frequently seen in lawns are called white grubs. They are the larva of various beetles, including Japanese beetles and European Chafers.
Japanese beetle larvae can be distinguished by their dark heads which they use to push themselves through the soil looking for food and water sources. Chafer and May/ June grubs have light-coloured heads.
The biology of white grub larvae is such that they only emerge from their underground cocoon (or within a few inches of it) when the grassroots are soft and moist because this provides abundant food close to the surface.
Feeding by white-grub pupae is uncommon during winter months or cool temperatures, so reports of these usually crop up during summer months when new blades start to shoot. Insecticide treatments are typically not recommended, as they may also kill beneficial insects that help control other insect infestations in a yard.
Organic treatments such as solarized soil (treatment involves digging up the turf, adding composted vegetable matter and then tilling it back into place under plastic sheeting for at least six weeks) tend to be more effective in dealing with grubs than insecticides.
The other way which we find the most effective is by introducing nematodes. Nematodes will feed on the larvae whilst leaving the roots of your grass and other plants alone bringing a natural balance back to your garden.
11. Do Pigeons Eat Grass?
Mostly, pigeons eat seeds from various plants, but they will sometimes eat grass as well.
The diet of the Common Pigeon varies depending on where it lives and the season. It mostly eats plant material such as a wide variety of seeds, nuts, vegetables, and fruit so long as it is available. They also enjoy feeding on peanuts that are sold during fairs or circuses.
Pigeons can affect the landscape for native and agricultural plants by eating both the seeds or the plants directly as well as in some cases eating their fruits which reduces seed dispersion around plantings or crops.
12. What do Wood Pigeons Eat on the Lawn?
On a lawn, pigeons will spend their time eating grass seed, bugs, and deposits like guano left by other animals.
Pigeons eat seeds from surrounding plants and trees. Pigeons also eat protein-rich foods like worms or insects they find in the ground.
13. Can you Over-Scarify a Lawn?
Scarifying may help temporarily with some issues such as weeds and surface debris accumulation, but if done too often it can have the effect of prematurely wearing the lawn down.
When the material is removed from the top layer of turf it leaves the roots exposed which will dry out and lead to a lack of water, causing the lawn to become dormant until rainfall replenishes moisture.
If you do decide to Scarify your lawn periodically you need to wait at least 6 months before doing so again because the turf has been shown, to be much more resistant after this adaptation time period.
We recommend scarifying your lawn annually in the spring when the lawn will be growing strongly enough to recover.
14. Why is my Grass Growing in Patches?
The most common reason for grass to grow in patches or in ‘dribbles’ is due to underlying health issues within the soil, which often stem from compaction. Growth will take place where roots have better access because nutrients and water are available.
Debris build-up on the surface of your lawn may also result in growth occurring in ‘patches’. Soil that is too hard, compacted, or packed will inhibit root growth and eventual emergence. Too much shade will also delay plant development, so if there are woody plants (trees) near your home, this may be contributing to a slower-growing lawn.
Finally – excessively wet conditions can impede the growth of a healthy lawn.
15. What to do if I Accidentally Sprayed Grass Killer on the Lawn?
When you realize you have sprayed your lawn with a herbicide or other harmful substance, the first step is to irrigate the grass thoroughly so that it dilutes the substance on the soil. If you have a sprinkler, this will work well. For areas with less extensive lawns, use a bucket of water and vigorously sprinkle it across all parts of your lawn as if you were making trails in a field.
Be sure to wash off any blades of grass from your feet or clothes before coming inside in order to prevent contact with children and pets.
Unfortunately, if this is not successful, your only recourse may be to replace any affected areas of the lawn.
16. Should my Patio be Flush with Grass?
There are a few things to consider when building a patio and deciding what level you want it at.
Aesthetics, the material you are using, or even safety due to mobility reasons are all things that you will need to think about before you start constructing.
When it comes to aesthetics, it is your personal choice how you want your patio to look although if you are using wooden decking it may be a better idea to have it raised and create a small step up from the lawn to prevent the wood coming into contact with the grass or soil beneath.
Another reason for having your patio flush to the lawn may be because you have little mobility or even use a wheelchair so having a nice level transition may be important.
There are arguments for and against each patio design but as long as you are happy, it really is up to you.
17. Can you use Tomato Feed on Grass?
Using tomato feed on your lawn is not recommended, tomato feed is high in potassium and is designed to promote flowering and fruiting.
A typical lawn feed will be much higher in nitrogen and is inexpensive so there really is no reason not to purchase lawn feed specifically designed for that purpose.
If you have leftover tomato feed, either keep it for next season or use it on some of your other fresh fruiting crops such as strawberries, runner beans, squash, and chillies.
18. Is Grass Seed Safe for Dogs?
Grass seed is high in fibre and contains Vitamin A, B1, B2, PP (niacin), C, and K; so, in small doses, there is no reason to be concerned if your dog eats some.
Every dog is different and while some dogs might not have an adverse reaction to ingesting grass seed, some may experience bloating and diarrhoea. Grass seed contains folic acid which can be toxic if ingested in large quantities or over time leading to liver damage.
It is also a common allergen for many reactive dogs so it would be prudent to consult your veterinarian before proceeding with any treatments. Finally, eating grass seed in large quantities could lead to intestinal blockages that endanger the life of your pet due to the shape of grass seed grains which act as space-occupying obstructions that ultimately clog the digestive tract rendering it useless for digestion.
In most cases when we are referring to this type of injury, we are talking about dogs that have eaten large amounts of grass seed over time, but it is still something to be mindful of.
19. Does Dog Pee Kill Grass?
The effects of dog urine on grass are potentially disastrous for your lawn. Dog urine is rich in nitrogen and produces ammonia, which can damage the root system of your grass when it penetrates deep into the ground.
Damage does not happen overnight either, ammonia causes long-term damage to grass in much the same way as weed killers do, altering a fundamental process that takes place within a plant cell, like photosynthesis.
This prolonged exposure can kill off vast patches of lawns if left untreated and quickly transform an impeccable green field into brown tufts of turf barely capable of sustaining life by themselves.
You may know the basics of lawn care, but we have done our best to answer 19 frequently asked questions that you might not have known. With answers to whether or not your dog pee kills grass (it does), whether tomato feed is good for your lawn (it is not), or what type of patio you should build (it’s entirely up to you). I hope you have learned something useful.
If you have any additional questions about lawns or anything else on your mind about gardening? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to answer them! We are always looking for new insights from fellow garden enthusiasts like yourself 🙂
Garden Doctor Tips
“If you accidentally use lawn killer or weed killer on your grass, give it a good soaking immediately to try and dilute the effects!”
“Use a water butt to collect excess rainwater to use on your lawn during drier times – just in case there is a dreaded hosepipe ban!”
“Introducing nematodes is easier than you think – they are the perfect solution to a lawn full of grubs that are eating the roots of your grass!”
“Only scarify your lawn in the spring. Lawns that are sacrificed during the winter will often end up covered in beastly-looking moss!”
Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.