The Q&A Archives: Can you help me with my lawn?

Question: I have spots in my lawn where grass won't grow,and also we have a female pit bull that loves to dig in the yard. What can I do to grow my grass back and make our dog quit digging?

Answer: Based on your description I am not certain what is causing the bare spots in your lawn. If the rest of the lawn is healthy, there may be a problem with the soil or some problem underground in those spots. For instance, an underground rock or buried debris or forgotten stepstones, an old fertilizer or chemical or oil spill, a pipe or other obstruction, tree roots stealing moisture, or a difference in the drainage pattern causing that spot to be extra dry, or some other physical cause. If you don't think there is anything unusual, you could try loosening the soil down about six inches, adding several inches of good quality compost, and spot seeding the bare spots. Keep the soil evenly moist until the seed germinates.

Another possibility since you mentioned that you have a dog is that the dog is habitually using certain spots to urinate. This can kill out the grass. Pouring water on the fresh spot will dilute the urine, or you might want to check with your veterinarian to make sure her diet is not causing the urine to be overly acidic.

Dogs love to dig, it is part of their nature. Sometimes you can train a dog to dig in one spot -- maybe a nice cool spot with afternoon shade and a nice view -- and leave the rest of the yard alone. Most dogs will have a favorite spot and maybe you can work with that. Or, you may find you need to fence off a part of the yard where the dog can run when you are not able to be outside to play with her. I hope this helps!

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