Grass in shady spot where the dog will go make

Hi:
We have dilemma.
We have very shady backyard. The previous owners of the house laid down several layers of pebbles apparently because it may been hard to grow grass in the backyard. The problem is that they forgot or neglected to put plastic under the pebbles so we are always weeding the area.
My wife and I would like something else there, like grass. We need grass that can handle the shade and can handle dog waste. We will pick up the solid waste, but it needs to handle liquid waste.
We are willing to hire a professional to plant the grass there, but we need to know what we are talking about before we proceed with that direction.
Does anyone have some ideas about the type of grass we can put there? We are in temperate zone 6A.
Thank You
Matthew Harelick
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Unless you're prepared to go out there and wash down the dog urine, the grass isn't going to last very long. One of my neighbors tried what you're talking about and ended up with bare soil eventually.
How big is the area you're talking about?
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Hi Doug:
About 20' by 20'
Matthew Doug Kanter wrote:

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It's not my intention to start an argument, but to express puzzlement. I've lived in this house since 1961. In that time, I've had four dogs, one at a time --three females and now a male. IOW, there has almost always been a dog urinating on my lawn. All were neutered as pups.
I have never found any damage from dog urine in my lawn, over all those years. Obviously, many gallons of urine have been deposted on my lawn in the 40+ years I've been here, but there has been zero damage.
I'm in central PA, zone 6 but not far from zone 5.
vince norris
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This is a mystery. Others end up with big yellow spots on the lawn. Maybe the OP should also post this question in one of the dog newsgroups. I recall seeing endless debates about this there last time I checked.
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I just read Toni's post, so I'll add that I never water my lawn and I haven't fertilized it for at least 20 years. I mow it high, 3", and let the clippings lie. It still grows too fast.
vince norris

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I do the same thing as you, but it sounds like you're talking about normal lawn care, as opposed to dealing with a dog urinating in the same areas repeatedly.
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Not sure I know what you mean by "normal lawn care." My impression is that "normal" means fertilizing three times a year wqith 20-X-X and watering every time it doesn't rain for an entire week.
These are just wild guesses, but (1) perhaps by never watering, even in a serious drought (and we've had several, including this summer; we are now short of about six inches of rain for the year), I have "persuaded" my grass to send its roots down deep. That may make them less vulnerable to dog urine. (2) Perhaps it is the nitrogen in the urine ADDED TO the 20-X-X fertilizer, that provides a toxic amount of N to the soil.
It's true my dogs haven't gone repeatedly in exactly the same small area. Perhaps that's the advice we should give the originator of this thread: Tell your dogs to spread it around!
vince norris
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Here's my stock reply to dog/urine questions...
I maintain a quite small (I mean really small) rear lawn with 3 wolfhounds worth of urine every day. It is beautiful! Here's how I do it..... a bit labor intensive for the non-gardeners among us, but it works.
First and foremost, water urine in at least once a day. This is non-negotiable. For a study that backs up my suggestion, go to http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/plantanswers/turf/Dog_lawn_problems.html .
Keep the turfgrass in good health generally... regular feeding, keep the weeds out, treat problems as immediately as they occurr.
I spread about 5 lbs. of agricultural lime every month or so. My particular turfgrass needs a very alkaline soil to do well, and the lime keeps the pH within the acceptable the range, despite the 300 gallons of urine everyday. Water this stuff in well! It will burn dog feet if you don't!
I use a bio-booster type soil conditioner from www.gardens-alive.com about once a month. I'm already out there spraying ornamentals with it, and it encourages normal soil bacteria to do their business of processing the urine.
If I feel the lawn is feeling challenged, I actually wash it with a mild solution of soap and water. This cleans everything up well, and improves the way water soaks in too.
I have also used Odor Mute to reduce any odors I notice. We've had wolfhounds for 5 years now, and most of our neighbors don't even know we have dogs.
We plug any bad spots as we see 'em. It is an ongoing battle, and one I refuse to give up. My lawn, small as it is, sets off the rest of the garden beautifully. I am determined that wolfhounds and tropical gardens can coexist.
Please do not supplement your dogs food with tomato juice. All it does is add so much sodium to your dogs system that he is compelled to drink tons of water, thus diluting his urine. It may work in the short term, but I cannot imagine that so much sodium is a good thing. Also, the various products sold to alter your dogs urine pH are to be avoided at all costs. Urine pH is what it is for a reason..... to change that is simply asking for bladder infections and/or stones as urine pH is what determines the type and amount of bacteria present in your dogs bladder.
-- Toni South Florida USA Zone 10b http://ww.cearbhaill.com
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