View Full Version : Can Any one Help with This?

01-31-2003, 12:00 PM
I work hard to keep a nice lawn, but I always get something that effects the overall out come.
this year I would like to get it right. I am posting a pic to see if any one would know what causes these spots in my yard. I water 5 times a week enough each time to fill tuna can. I fertilize with Scotts turf builder and I aerate with a spike aerator. Every fall I dethatch and scalp the lawn ( Bermuda Hybrid Sod ) all the way to the dirt almost.
Last year I got these spots and then it took over the whole lawn and I my grass had huge brown spots in it.
I also have a female lab that is neutered that loves to take a leak in the grass.
I have a 50”cut Craftsman Lawn tractor that I use in the summer and a 21”cut walk behind mower that I use on the grass in the winter. I also over seed in the winter with a Perennial Rye grass.
I live in Wickenburg Arizona and the elevation is about 2300 feet. Cool nights and Hot days in the summer!
Can anyone HELP?

01-31-2003, 12:02 PM
Next Pic!

01-31-2003, 02:45 PM
Does those spots grow in size, or are they the same, just in more places? My 1st thought would be to check the equipment for any gas or oil leaks...if not that, it may be the dog...I have had clients call witht the same complaint and it was the dogs urinating...:dizzy:

01-31-2003, 02:56 PM
The spots stay the same size! But if you look at the center of the grass, where it is lighter,that part seems to do well then die in the summer! It turns brown and spreads.

01-31-2003, 03:24 PM
Your lawn is most likely suffering from a patch disease. Chemical control for this is extremely dificult or impossible. I would say that the dog is causing these patches due to her urine. One, PITA approach to prevent this is to rinse in the areas where she urinates with a good amount of water so as to lessend the concentration of the active mineral(i forget off hand which it is). It is suggested to aerate the area and reseed with a resistant clutivar, ryegrass is advisable. Spike aerating is non beneficial to the turf. In fact, it creates more compaction than it relieves. To be of any effect, it needs to be core aerated. Good luck

01-31-2003, 06:01 PM
Besides the brown spots, you've got a great looking lawn. I bet the neighbors are envious. The spots loo like dog urine damage. Do you have a dog, possibly a female one?

01-31-2003, 08:50 PM
Thank you for the compliment on the grass. Although no one really gets to see it because I live so far out in the sticks. But as far as the dog goes, yes. I have a female lab that has been neutered.

MaclawnCo, thank you for you input also. I have just put a core aerator on order at Home Depot this week! So I will try it this in a couple of weeks. Or is it to early in the season to core aerate?

01-31-2003, 11:36 PM
Slant, i have no clue on the turf cycles in AZ...sorry

02-04-2003, 04:56 AM
Ammonia is high in female dog urine, you could try applying lime in the areas to reduce the levels of acidity

02-04-2003, 06:54 PM
Vipor, Thanks for that bit of info, Great help. But first have you ever tried this method befor I use it. If you have, were the results good? I do have some lime in the shed, just waiting to be used...:) I would go out and throw some down right now. But would like some input on this before I do.


02-06-2003, 09:21 AM
I am unable to determine from your photos what a likely diagnosis is.
Your best bet is to pull soil and turf samples and submit them for professional testing - your local county extension agent has all of this info.
Where you live in Arizona, desert or mountains, will impact greatly upon turf management techniques. Humidity, degree of sunlight and length, air movement, etc etc.
A problem I see from your overseeding is mixing a perrenial ryegrass on host bermuda. PR is much more resilient than other C3 grasses and it makes transition more difficult. Also, fertilization requirements, timing and material selection are critical here as well. Use annual ryegrass as your overseed - you will be much happier with the results.
From my experience, bermudagrass is suseptable to both brown patch and curvularia. Preventative applications of appropiate fungicides will block the emergence of these pathogens.
The chemical control is easy, with-in 24 to 36 days you should begin to see root mass increase, and turf recovery with-in 5-8 weeks after.
Keep us posted as to the results of your sample diagnosis.
Good luck.

02-06-2003, 11:50 PM
Slant 7,
You should wait until the bermuda starts to green up before you aerate. It won't hurt to do it now, but it will not really help either. I've found that it's best to aerate bermuda twice in the summer. Once when it starts to green up and another time half-way through your season. Depending on your soil type it may be more effective to aerate 3 or 4 times/ yr. Here you can't kill bermuda unless you apply nuclear waste. LOL

BTW, your lawn looks very nice.

02-07-2003, 08:27 AM
Mark the edges of several spots with some colored tooth picks or measure them with a ruler. If in a few weeks they do not grow it is your faithful dog doing the damage. If they do grow them it is disease most likely.

It dosn't take much lime to treat the spots so if you do this be careful .

You may also take some soil test of the spots and another one from the rest of the lawn and compare them.

Afterward you might need to build a pet potty, make a small bed in the back somewhere, in full sun, remove the sod, put down some lime stone and let her do her business there.


02-07-2003, 08:39 AM
Originally posted by naturalawn

Afterward you might need to build a pet potty, make a small bed in the back somewhere, in full sun, remove the sod, put down some lime stone and let her do her business there.


Agree with this. From the photos and your info, it looks like dog spots. May take some time and effort to train the dog to change her bathroom habits. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to combat "dog spots". You have to fix the source of the problem, which is the dog, which means training.

02-07-2003, 08:53 AM
It is the dog I had the same problem it was my dogs I have two
golden retrievers they did the same think and my lawn was voted
the best in the area so I built a pen off of my deck 20x20 But to fix
the spots I had to dig out the spots and add new soil and seed.

02-07-2003, 12:48 PM
Dog spot can be a common problem

If you determine your dog is the culprit, ask your veterinarian about a product called "Green 'um". You give it to the dog and it somehow changes the chemical or PH of the urine. My wife is a veterinarian and she found this for her stepfather's golden retriever. It works great.

You might also try watering less often but putting down more water each time. Around here if the top of the turf doesn't get a chance to dry out between watering, disease can set in very easily.

Good luck

02-07-2003, 12:53 PM
Slant7, forget all the old wives tales about fixing your urine spots. And they do look to me like dog urine. You don't see it with males, because they use it to mark territory, just a dribble at a time. But the female dog squatting (especially a large female) gives the target area such a high salt dose that it usually will burn. When the salts are diluted and leached out by irrigation/rainfall, the grass can grow back.

If you would like a scientific view of the matter, check <a href="http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/turf/dog_lawn_problems.html">DOG-ON-IT LAWN PROBLEMS</a>.

As most things in life, having a female dog and a nice lawn takes some forethought. When getting a pup, usually 6-8 weeks old, you have the ideal chance to direct that dog right then. At that age, any dog is just living on instinct, and it does only four things, in this order; sleep, eat, urinate, defecate. You will bond to the dog by supplying the food essential. As soon as you do that, you should require a response, and here's the trick:

When the pup wakes, it is looking for food, so feed it. Pup will not leave the food until it can no longer endure pressure on bladder and bowels. So when you see it leave bowl, it's time to immediately take the pup to its potty area. And most dogs, even at that age, will just need to be shown twice to get it. I have never taken more than 8 hours to housebreak a new pup.

But life is never for sure. The time Greta (105# female German shepherd) wanted me to play, and I was too busy, she walked over to middle of front yard, squatted and stared right at me, and let go a good stream. Had an 18" brown spot there all summer, LOL.

02-08-2003, 07:35 PM
All you have been EXTREMELY helpful in the ideas for my lawn. I will implement many of them right away. I have put down a tiny bit of lime and purchased the Green ums for my dog. I plan to build the pet potty next week. And as soon as I get the core aerator I will aerate and then put some new pictures up to show you all my awesome new lawn this summer. Oh by the way I did order a couple of new books to go along with all o f this new info. One I ordered was Scotts Lawns: Your Guide to a Beautiful Yard and the other which I saw someone else here recommend was Picture Perfect : Mowing Techniques for Lawns, Landscapes, and Sports.

Thanks again for all the input so far. And keep it coming....I can use all I can get.


02-12-2003, 04:56 PM
I agree with paulj, There are several catalogs that carry green um for your dog. I do not know if they actualy work, but they are supposed to change chemical balance in the dogs urine so they don't leave the spots in the lawn.

Female dogs as well as some male dogs will leave these spots in the grass. Hosing the area down with water after she goes will dilute the area and stop the brown spots, but that can be tedeous and not very practical if the dog is outside when your not home.

As far as repairing the exsisting spots. dig the area out about 3-4 inches down, and add new soil and seed. Good luck. :D

02-15-2003, 11:31 PM

I'm from another high desert climate similar to yours (Vegas)...

The best suggestions I've heard so far for your climate and soil conditions is to get a soil test and fix a seperate area for your female dog to urinate...

The lime is to neutralize acidic conditions in the soil, but that area is usual more alkali than acidic... and I would also suggest you continue overseeding with a high quality perennial rye (that annual rye will wear you out cutting it every 3 days :-) Yes, the transition is easier, but your heat and direct sunlight will do the trick (as you are well aware :-)

The worst spots are probably from the dog and the other could be "summer patch" which hits that region every so often... get a fungicide that attacks summer patch and give it a try...

Also, what works great in that area for a dark green turf is "Super Iron" by Best fertilizer (be careful not to stain the pavement)... and if you really want to show up the neighbors you can get some liquid Ferromec AC from PBI Gordon and spray it with your fungicide... It will be greener within hours!!!

Good Luck, Clay

Green Pastures
02-16-2003, 09:22 AM
Originally posted by bob
Besides the brown spots, you've got a great looking lawn. I bet the neighbors are envious. The spots loo like dog urine damage. Do you have a dog, possibly a female one?

originally posted by slant7
I also have a female lab that is neutered that loves to take a leak in the grass.

Sorry Bob, I couldn't resist.

One Degree
02-16-2003, 04:32 PM
I beleive your problem is either Dollar Spot or Spring Dead Spot. Dollar Spot are 1-2" in diameter and can get up to 5" in diameter. The grass will have straw-colored lesions that move in from leaf margins or occur as bands across the leaf. It is most active in 60-80 degree F in spring and fall. Moisture from dew,fog, and irrigation initiate the disease. You can treat this with a fungicide.

Spring dead spot first appears as circular dead areas 6" in diameter up to two feet in diameter. The rest of the grass will stay green and the Bermuda will not grow over these areas. Usually the areas will increase in size each spring.

You might try to cultivate these areas for temporary recovery. I would also treat these areas with a fungicide labeled for these diseases.

Good luck and let me know if any of these symptoms look familiar.

03-05-2003, 02:16 AM
Train your dog to go in the stones?

04-12-2003, 06:11 PM
I said I would post a new picture on here after I got a ton of help from people here posting replies on how to help my lawn. Here they are and thanks again everyone.


04-12-2003, 06:15 PM
One more!!


04-12-2003, 08:29 PM
Nice job!

Looks great. What was the final solution that did it for you?:drinkup:

04-12-2003, 08:59 PM
It was a combination of many things really. The most I think was raising my lawn mower hight. Raising the hight was key for the blade to grow to proper hight and the root to grow deeper. And I started to recycle too. Two was when I use to fertilize I would do it weekly, but a little at a time. I learned from here to do fertilize less often and follow the instruction to the tee. This will let the roots grow deeper and of course the watering was key too. In all, It is a moderate amount of work and learning curve for my area.
So you can see I learned much from here.

04-13-2003, 03:19 PM

04-21-2003, 01:42 PM
Hello Wickenburg!

I grew up in Tucson. Left 17 years ago. I hope that this doesn't sound too silly but this is what I used to do in the Old Pueblo. I don't know if it will work for Wickenburg but I'll bet that at least some of the advice you received does not consider 120 plus temps, and some of the most God-forsaken soil in the US ... calcium deposits that are so hard and thick that one considers blasting rather than digging!

Dig up the spot. Take that shovel full of dirt and toss it over your fence. Scoop up some dirt from the other side of your fence and fill the hole that you just made.

Take a couple of small plugs of grass and soil from other places in that beautiful yard and plant them in the troubled area. Small enough that you don't notice the plug that has been removed.

Water it well.

I know that you said that you had a hybrid bermuda, and I am perfectly willing to eat crow on this, but seems to me that we are getting a little overly complicated here.

Finally, bottle whatever that dog of yours has been leaving on the lawn as I know a few people who WANT to kill bermuda. Especially when it grows up between the cracks in a sidewalk. That stuff is is difficult to kill.

05-05-2003, 10:13 PM
Did the Green'um work?