Urine sterilizes soil, how?

vince moye jvNOSPAMmoye at staroute.com
Thu Jun 25 01:39:18 EST 1998

RSmith wrote:
> My background is in chemistry.
> I would like determine means by which canine urine kills lawn flora and
> sterilizes the soil. This post is not my first attempt to sort this out,
> agricultural specialists, vets, a plant physiologist, have all expressed
> interest and offered various musings into the phenomina , but no
> explanations for what i have observed.
> For one year we have had a 'new' dog on a different dog food [two
> parameter changes, our previous dogs never illicited this problem].
> This spring we noticed that the lawn was dead under the when the
> snow/ice patches he urinated on were melted. None of the four attempts
> at reseeding were successful; surface reseeding prior to and after
> fertilizing and appl~ of lime, reseeding with soil cover, 4 inch soil
> turnover with reseeding.
> I had to dig up 4 inches of the soil and replace it before the new grass
> germinated.
> His urine continues to kill the grass so it is not a 'winter kill'
> situation.
> The two most curious aspects of this is the way the vegitation dies and
> the fact that it is a lasting effect. If i don't wash the urine away
> fairly quickly, I will notice a slight yellowing/browning of the grass
> and a dark-almost black- discoloration of broadleaf weeds and moss in
> about a week or so. Once the initial signs appear I cannot intervene by
> repeated rinsing, i might as well dig it upon the first sign.
> The soil i dug up had a very strong ammonia/urea smell to it but i
> thought it may have been the commercial fertalizer i used on those spots
> in an attempt to rejuvenate them.
> I have had a std urinalysis on the dogs urine and the pH is normal (near
> neutral) and there is no excess protein.
> At the same time we got the dog we switched to a premium dog food (
> Purina Pro), but the customer support person claims that this is not
> food related.
> The plant physiologist was most interested in the fact that the dead
> soil will not even allow the grass seed to germinate. He recalled that
> corn glutin will have the same anti-geminating effect on some seeds.
> -it is the acidity of the urine which is the problem, and lime will
> correct it. It did not, but i only applied it once.
> -It is 'NITROGEN BURNING' from the urea/ammonia in the urine.  Rinsing
> (diluting) should  prevent the germination inhibiting action.
> - leave it alone and it will return. Not in two months or more of warm
> weather with natural and hose watering.
> Landscaping has exposed both damp clay-soil and sandy well drained soil.
> It is the damp clay soil which suffers the most.
> We are directly downslope from a mixed deciduous/conifer forest with
> moderate subsurface aquifer.
> Any thoughts, suggestions, answers, mechanisms, interventions, ...spare
> car keys?
> Rick, Canada
Try this......
I think that you still have excess nitrogen tied up in that little piece
of soil. To get a soluble form of N out of the soil quickly, one must
put it in a warm anarobic environment. Do this by shoving a large can
down around the area and letting the garden hose trickle on it for four
days. The native anarobic bacteria will multiply and eat up all the N in
your little dog do do spot. Good luck.

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