Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they aren’t such great pals to your plants. Whether it’s a cherished pet or a nosy neighbor, dogs can wreak real havoc on your landscape by digging holes, flattening flowers, and lifting a leg on the lawn. These destructive behaviors can be strange and upsetting, especially if you’ve invested time and money into your landscape design.
However, there are a few ways you can protect your landscape from dogs to maintain a beautiful outdoor space you can both enjoy.
Deal with digging.
The sun will rise, and dogs will dig – these are simple facts of life. Dogs dig for a variety of reasons – to bury a bone, to escape an enclosure, to seek shelter from the sun, or just because they’re bored.
The easiest way to deal with digging is to determine why it’s happening. If your dog is trying to escape, block access to the fence by laying large rocks or chicken wire around the bottom. If they’re seeking shelter, provide a shaded spot with plenty of water where they can retire during the hottest hours of the day. To combat boredom, aim to provide at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
If your dog is determined to dig, a small sandbox filled with buried treasures can direct his attention to a designated digging spot.
Permit a path.
Dogs are highly territorial, and many have a natural instinct to patrol the perimeter of their property. If your landscape is fenced, this will often lead to a worn “dog path” around the edge of your property. Rather than fight their natural urge, consider placing your plants a few feet from the fence to create a natural patrol path. You can even install stones or gravel to create a walkway that’s pretty and pet-friendly.
Make a potty place.
Potty-trained pups are great for your house, but not so great for your lawn. Dog urine has high levels of nitrogen and salt, causing it to leave dead, burned patches wherever they piddle.
To keep your lawn lush and healthy, make your dog a designated bathroom area by lining a spot with mulch or gravel. With proper training, a dog can be taught to use the same general area every time they need to go. If accidents happen, immediately rinse urine and remove feces from the grass before redirecting your dog to the proper area.
Protect your plants.
Dogs can’t always distinguish grass from garden. If you want to keep pups away from your plants, consider elevating your garden beds or lining them with pinecones to make them harder to access. Planting in pots and containers is another safe way to keep fido away from your flowers.
For existing beds, try applying an animal deterrent spray that contains strong scents like apple bitters or chili powder. You can also sprinkle an equal mixture of powdered mustard and crushed red pepper around the perimeter of your plants.
Of course, you can always erect barriers around gardens and other off-limit areas. They don’t need to be fancy – anything tall and tough enough to keep fido at a safe distance will do. This can include fences, stone walls, chicken wire, and even hearty plants like hedges or rose bushes. Just be sure any plants are non-toxic and dense enough to discourage charging.
Prepare a playground.
If all else fails, prepare a puppy playground that keeps your dog contained in a safe, approved space. Be sure their space includes ample shade, plenty of water, and enough room that they can play and potty in separate areas.
If you need help creating a dog-friendly landscape, contact the professionals at Chad’s Landscape Management today!