What are animal urine burns?

Animal urine burns are areas of dead grass caused by animal urine. They are very common amongst pet owners, and especially dog owners. 

These burns are often called ‘bitch burns’ as it is thought that they are mostly caused by female dogs. However, from experience, both male and female dogs have shown to produce these burns.

What do they look like?

They appear as small dead patches of lawn, often circled by a ring of lush green, healthy-looking grass. The grass plants affected by the urine at the edge of the ring or in the surrounding areas may look darker than the grass plants in the rest of the lawn.

What causes animal urine burn?

Urine is naturally high in an element called nitrogen. Nitrogen is also used as a fertiliser, and amongst other nutrients in our fertiliser, Green Man Lawn Care applies nitrogen to lawns to help them grow healthy and green.

The problem with nitrogen in urine is that in some cases, the nitrogen can be too concentrated. When the nitrogen is too concentrated, it will have the opposite effect and will actually cause the grass plant leaves to burn. In some cases, the affected grass plants might die.

Why is there a ring of lush green grass around the burn?

As the urine leaches outwards from the centre, the concentrated nitrogen dilutes to the point where it will actually fertilise the grass plants rather than burn them.

What can be done to prevent the burn happening?

Dilute the urine

The best option is to dilute the urine as soon as your pet has urinated. You can do this by hosing the area thoroughly.

Ensure your lawn is watered

Dry weather can cause soil to dry out quickly. Dry soils cause the grass plants to absorb the nitrogen in the urine in a very high concentration, speeding up the burning of the grass plants. For watering advice, click here.

Train your pet to change their habits

Pets can be trained to urinate in areas away from the lawn, such as patios.

Use a urine burn preventer

There are products available to buy that will help reduce the potential for animal urine burn. Products such as Dog Rocks and Peterals are just a couple of examples.

What can be done to fix the burnt patches?

In some cases, heavy watering can help the burnt areas revive themselves. However, if the burns are severe, the only option is to carry out a patch repair. 

Patch repair carried out on a customer’s lawn damaged by animal urine