Dogs can easily make a mess of your landscaping. Dogs can trample, chew, and dig a garden into a mud pit in no time. Our advice, stop fighting your dogs on what they are doing. Work with their natural instincts to make a place that is good for plants, people, and canines.
Dog breeds differ greatly. Figure out what your dog needs and be sure to include it. Keeping your dog happy will lead to an area that is easier to maintain. Doggy landscaping requires some extra work and a lot of patience.
What should be in a dog friendly garden?
Grass Type - Dogs run a lot. Be sure to pick a grass type that can handle the traffic. Athletic fields in the area use Bermuda grass. It requires full sun, but it can take a lot of traffic and repairs damage quickly.
Running Track - Dogs love to run. They are already running in a set path in your yard. Instead of trying to change their doggy behavior, work with it. Make a nice looking path out of flagstones, smooth pebbles, decking, or concrete. This will keep the paths less muddy and their paws cleaner. If your fur baby runs along your fence, give them a solid path. Dogs patrol the edges of their territory. Enhance their path to keep it looking great.
Marking Post - Give your dog a toilet of sorts. Set up a stump, post, or even a faux fire hydrant in a set area in your yard. Reward the pup for taking care of business in that area. This will lead to less dog spots in your grass and an easier area to clean up after.
Sturdy Plants - Pick strong plants that can take an excited dog running through them. Soft leaves are better for dogs since they shouldn't scratch them. Ornamental grasses work well also. Arrange your shrubs to they will grow densely. Dogs tend to not make a path in places that are hard to go through. Layer your landscaping with dense plantings in front of shrubs.
Shade - Dogs play in the sun, but rest in the shade when it is hot. Shade trees and covered areas are prime real estate for doggy naps. Provide an inviting spot under a shady tree to guide your dog.
Soft Mulch - Mulch that feels good to a dog is mulch that will not be dug out by a dog. If your dog has a favorite place to lay down, a nice soft mulch will make it look better. Be sure to pick a mulch that will not get stuck in their fur.
Borders - Small fences, stones, and hardscaped borders keep your dogs from running through areas they shouldn't. Find an aesthetic that works with your landscape style and go with it. If you don't like the look of borders in front of your landscape, use it as a temporary training tool. After a few weeks, remove the fence and see if the your dog's behavior has changed.
Water Feature - Pick a water feature that looks good, sounds nice, and provides clean water to refresh your dog. Choose a water feature that your pet can get out of in case they fall into it. Also pick one that is easy to replace the water.
Safe Landscaping - Obviously, don't use thorny plants. While they prevent your dog from going somewhere, they can also cause injury. A lot of plants are poisonous to dogs. While dogs don't always eat everything in the yard, cautious pet owners can choose to avoid the option all together. Here is a link to a list of plants that are dangerous to pets. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants
Spring time in Baton Rouge brings nice temperatures and excessive rain. The warm and wet weather leads to a large influx of new weeds popping up in your lawn. The weed seeds have waited underground all winter to rise up and show off. Poa annua, aka annual bluegrass, can be an eye sore for many lawns in Louisiana. The weed is an annual, meaning it will die off on its own each year, which is good. Each weed produces hundreds of seeds, which is bad. The seeds can also lay dormant for multiple years, so you will have to have a good treatment plan in place over a long period of time.
How to Control Poa Annua
Poa annua is best treated by preventing the large amount of seeds in the ground from sprouting. Poa annua seeds start to germinate in late fall, so you need to have a pre-emergent down before that and throughout the winter into spring. Since the seeds can stay dormant, this will need to be done for a few consecutive years to get close to eradicating the Poa problem.
Step 1 - Pre-Emergent Herbicide
We recommend using a pre-emergent that has pendimethalin as an active ingredient in September. Follow that up with another round of pre-emergent containing the active ingredient dithiopyr in November and again in either late January or early February. Be sure to check the product label for usage rates, timing between applications, maximum annual rates, and which types of grass your product can be used on.
Step 2 - Post-Emergent Herbicide
Even with perfect pre-emergent timing, some weeds manage to slip through and grow. This calls for post-emergent herbicide treatment. Look for a selective post-emergent herbicide that lists annua poa as a controlled weed and your grass type as a tolerant turfgrass. Alternatively, if you only have a few weeds, you can pull them when you see them.
If you have a really bad weed infestation, be patient. It will take a couple of cycles to get the problem under control. The good news is you will see drastic improvement in the first year. The other great thing for us is poa annua cannot survive in temperatures over 90 F. When May rolls around, your poa problem will go away until fall.