Dog safe lawn fertilizers?

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Proud to be a- kitchen wolf!!!
Barked: Wed May 9, '07 2:42pm PST 
Hi all, I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a sort of "middle road" approach to growing a healthy lawn while maintaining a safe yard for the dogs (and us).

***Holey smokes, I proceeded to write a whole thesis on yard maintenance and fertilizers. I won't take offense if anyone wants to offer opinions without reading all this!***

We rent our house, and the HUGE yard that accompanies it. We lived in the house next door for 2 and a half years and got the yard and garden looking REALLY good, then our lanlord gave us the opportunity to move into the bigger better house next door. Drawback? The 'new' yard needs some serious T.L.C.

If it were my house, I'd do a clover lawn in parts where we wanted grass for the dogs and not use any fertilizers or anything and just deal with how it grew. (Clover is apparently resistant to dog pee damage and doesn't require fertilizer, among other earth-friendly advantages.) Not owning the house I really don't want to spend the money making the lawn what I want, though. The landlord is more than willing to keep up the yard, however his approach is to "weed & feed" with your standard fertilizers and stuff, which makes me uncomfortable with the dogs using the yard to the extent they do. He's a really awesome guy, but I don't know that he would be completely "into" me seeding clover into the grass even if I did want to buy the seed myself. I need to provide some viable alternatives, but don't really know what these might be!

Being raw food eaters, the dogs not only use the yard for playing, but also as a dining room, and there is no doubt they're consuming grass and soil as part of their meals. There are a whole lot of "organic", "natural", and "pet safe" fertilizers out there, but which ones that are even semi-easily available are actually OK to use, especially given this? The dogs not eating (on the) grass is simply out of the question.

There's a product made by big-time grass and fertilizer company Scott's called EcoSense. My husband saw it at Home Depot. I was pretty skeptical that this product was probably that much better than their other fertilizers, but maybe it is? Instead of synthetics the ingredient lists (See label), "feather meal, wheat shorts, nitrate of soda, steamed bone meal, and sulphate of potash". ( Sounds like a cheap kibble! laugh out loud ) While on the surface these "whole" ingredients may be better than a fertilizer made of synthetics, there are some red flags that go up for me.

-- Feather meal is feather meal. High in nitrogen for the lawn, and definitely not a product I'd freak about the dogs ingesting depending on how it was handled. I think handling is my main concern with this fertilizer overall.

-- While bone meal is fine and good, I bet the bone meal isn't food grade, so it may be high in heavy metal contaminates.

-- "Soda of Nitrate" from what I gather is a better sounding name for sodium nitrate. I suppose depending on the source one could argue it's GOOD for the dogs!

-- I'm super against wheat in dog food, but wheat shorts is another product that I wouldn't think would be some huge problem if ingested in the small amounts that would come from fertilizing the lawn with it. Question: What do wheat shorts do for a lawn? Is there some ulterior motive behind using wheat shorts? Do you think these wheat shorts have come into contact with really undesirable compounds (melamine?!?)

Am I totally over-reacing? It's OK to tell me. I can handle it. What do y'all do about getting and keeping a healthy and dog-safe lawn even though you may not have total control?


Maya- (2003-2016)

Beg. It brings- treats.
Barked: Wed May 9, '07 8:43pm PST 
I personally would stay away from that product. Did you ever think of plain manure? It can be bought in bags and it's pretty cheap.
Tessa- Sue~*In- loving- memory*~

Gone. But the- ledgend lives on
Barked: Wed May 9, '07 9:21pm PST 
We used 10-10-10 it can burn you but after watering the crap out of the yard it desolved and is gone now. I wanted to use a water manure slurry but dad said that the NOSEY people next to us wouldn't like the smell, butt 10-10-10 smells like crap tooshrug

If those aren't an option then maybe you can find blood meal. Due to our beliefs we can't use it be maybe you can.


Getting wet and- dirty is fun
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 3:51am PST 
Even dog safe fertilizers can be harmful. Our complex put down a dog safe fertilizer and PJ became really ill. My vet said do not fertilize at all where your pets are going to be.


Proud to be a- kitchen wolf!!!
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 10:49am PST 
I don't know ANYTHING about growing grass (can you tell? smile ) My dad has been anti-lawn my whole life, and we had plants and trees and ferns and bamboo and gravel and bark chips instead of a lawn when I was growing up.

[Picture this: Family is sitting around the dinner table. Phone rings.]
Dad: Hello?
CL: "Good evening sir, how are you this evening?"
Dad: "Well, my family is in the middle of dinner..."
CL : "I promise this will only take a second. I'm calling from Chem Lawn about our newest offer..."
Dad: "I don't believe in lawns. We don't have any grass."
CL: "Hah hah hah. We will be in the neighborhood next week, and for only fifty dollars....
Dad: "No really, we don't have any grass. Drive by the house and look when you're in the neighborhood.
CL: [silence]
Dad: "Thanks anyway, and goodnight"

So some questions: Is cow or sheep manure all a lawn needs as far as fertilizer goes? Will it help, or would it be as useful as doing nothing? Do you think the bags you can pick up a the big home and garden places are dog-safe, or have they generally been treated or processed in some way?

Thanks for the input on NOT fertilizing at all. It's nice to have some ammo for the landlord when we tell him that we don't feel safe fertilizing. It's what I've been wanting, but I think it would be best if we could meet him halfway with a fertilizer solution. Either way, my dogs come first!!!

The best things- come in little- packages
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 12:07pm PST 
I'm interested in hearing this too! There is a magazine called Organic Gardening. Maybe you can get some tips there: http://www.organicgardening.com/

We moved into our house recently and the lawn is amazingly beautiful but the previous owners tried to plant "winter grass" - whatever that is. It looks like a big weed to me. I wouldn't let my fiance put any weed killers on the grass so he's been out there picking it every evening laugh out loud Poor thing. Brody eats that grass though!
Maya- (2003-2016)

Beg. It brings- treats.
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 2:52pm PST 
Yes, the big bags you can buy at the stores like Home Depot and Lowe's are safe. They are already composted (bag has to say manure compost or you kill the lawn) so just spread them over the lawn and water in abundance. You can also find peat compost not only manure.

There is also another one alternative, there is a new "organic compost" thing they have come on the market, practically a container in which you make your own compost from all kinds of kitchen remains (you know, like potato peels, egg shells, etc) and even your dog's poop, you throw in, and you mix with dirt, let get composted and use it. You can look up for one and read the user's manual, jsut look for example in a Lowe's store in the outside garden area.
Nugget CGC- *RIP*- 2001-2010

Play- Nice
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 3:15pm PST 
Well. We can't tell you anything about growing grass as ours has always been ok but we can tell you that vinigar will kill weeds. You need to put it on heavy and during the sun. Makes the yard smell like a salad for a while!!

Proud to be a- kitchen wolf!!!
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 3:47pm PST 
Hmmm... I didn't even think about the peat composts you can buy all finely ground up. Again -- is that the right kind of compost for grass? That would be THE solution I think!

I've actually got a pretty 'green thumb' when it comes to vegetables, flowers, and other "real" plants, but I kinda thought that grass had different requirements for growing well. We compost all our kitchen and yard waste -- I use it for the vegetable plots.

The dogs are raw fed so they don't produce much of their own waste (in comparison), but I've been wondering about whether there was a way to compost or "recycle" their poop. Any ideas about that?
Badger- Hunter's- Little- Smokie

Come closer!- Have U been dog- approved?
Barked: Thu May 10, '07 4:00pm PST 
We used Soils Alive to treat our yard last summer until the drought restrictions got so bad we couldn't water. They used a fish based fertilizer. I know they sell fish emulsion for use when transplanting seedlings. I don't know if they sell it in quantities large enough to do a big yard. Something you might look into. I am a typical Dacshie and I have somewhat sensitive skin and it didn't bother me. It was kind of stinky until you could water it in.

I don't know if manure would be an option. That might be too tempting and smelly to roll in.

Do you have any old-timey feed stores around? Organic nursery? Organic lawn service?

Smoke, smells like the high tide line at low tide

edited to add.....I was *poking* around on the Internet and found fish emulsion used with kelp as an organic lawn fertilizer.

Edited by author Thu May 10, '07 4:10pm PST

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