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Dog Lawn Recovery / Lumpy Lawn

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From: Jason Wheelock
Huntley, IL
I'm the owner to two large active dogs. Every winter / spring they tear the lawn to bits running around and destroy patches peeing.

The peeing isn't too big of a deal as we have a run section marked off with mulch so the areas that do get damaged are small and i just patch them.

My bigger problem is that my lawn is lumpy. What a mean is they tear out sections with their vigorous running (probably 4inches by 4 inches) all over the place and after a couple years of this the lawn is kinda bumpy.

So two things.. what can i do to sorta level out the lawn? And is there a more hardy type grass i could over seed the lawn with to minimize this some?

Extension Message
From: Brenda Dahlfors
Program Coordinator, Horticulture
Lake/McHenry Unit
Jason - I know your problem exactly - my husband and I own 2 Great Danes, and when they decide to play - watch out! I'm sure you've seen those big metal rollers that you fill with water, and pull behind your riding mower - but the problem with using them too frequently is that you end up compacting the soil, which makes it harder for the roots to breathe. What you might do instead, is top dress the lawn with compost, which you can lightly rake in, and it will hopefully fill in the low spots, as well as be good for the lawn in general. When our lawn gets bad enough, my husband ropes off a section at a time (like one side of the driveway one year, the other side the next to keep the dogs off) and lightly rototills the area, then reseeds. But that's more like a major renovation. Sometimes dog owners have to make a choice - the dogs or the lawn!

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