Doggone it |

Doggone it

Special to Summit Homes and Properties

Lunceford on Landscaping.BY LU SNYDERNEILS LUNCEFORDThough lovable, dogs can turn the joy of gardening into pure frustration.

They use the lawn to eliminate, and use flowers, trees and shrubs to mark their territory.A dog’s urine can burn grass and plants, eventually creating brown spots on your lawn and killing flowers, bushes and small trees.If that weren’t bad enough, many dogs also love to dig – especially in gardens.The damage is difficult to endure when it’s your own pet, but even more so when it’s not.

If your dog is the culprit, you can prevent some of the damage through training. Create a designated area for your dog to relieve itself, and train him or her to use it. Install a durable material, such as pea gravel, flagstone, bricks or mulch, instead of grass. You won’t have to worry about brown spots, and it makes clean-up easy.Keeping neighborhood dogs out of your yard and garden can be more difficult, as they are more elusive.Dogs tend to sniff an area before they eliminate or mark their territory. If they smell another dog’s scent there, they’re more likely to add their own. That can lead to trampled flowers and dying plants.

Use a repellent to keep them from marking on shrubs and trees and to keep them out of your flower beds. Check with your local nursery for a manufactured repellant or create your own, using black pepper, cayenne pepper or mothballs.Be patient. It’s likely to take frequent applications at first, to discourage them from returning. Lawn areas are more difficult to protect, as it’s often not feasible to cover a larger area with a repellent. Check with your local pet store for products designed to counteract the damage of dog urine and prevent brown spots. Use more resilient groundcovers, such as snow-in-summer or Phlox, to fill bare spots in your garden. Dogs are less likely to dig if soil is not left bare.

Avoid using blood or bone meal to fertilize your bulbs, if you have dogs in the area. They tend to be attracted by the scent and may dig up your garden in search of the source. Ask your local nursery for an alternative.With some patience and ingenuity, you should be able to train your dog and others to stay out of your garden, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labors.LU SNYDER is an employee of Neils Lunceford Inc., a local landscape and design company based in Silverthorne. She can be reached at (970) 468-0340.

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