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Mushrooms and toadstools are actually a good sign--they indicate a high level of soil fertility and point to a long future of healthy grass growing in good, moist soil. The mushrooms and toadstools appear when a certain set of rather poorly understood climatic
conditions occur. As soon as those conditions change, the mushrooms will disappear. Though they are unsightly, they pose no threat to your lawn. Treat them like a trophy--they mean that whoever prepared your soil prior to planting did it right, and they mean that whoever manages your turf is doing that right, too.
Dog urine damages grass because of excess Nitrogen, not excess salt or high (or low) pH. The urine goes on the grass as a concentrated dump of liquid fertilizer. The same thing would happen if you poured a cup of 33-0-0 fertilizer on the spot--the grass suffers classic fertilizer burn. A frequently used home remedy is to give the dog some tomato sauce with his/her food. People swear that this works, but it works for a different reason than you may have been led to believe. It works because the tomato sauce increases the dog's salt intake, which in turn causes him/her to drink more water, which dilutes the Nitrogen in the urine and reduces the effects. Before you start adding tomato sauce to your dog's diet, consult your veterinarian. If your dog is predisposed to health problems caused by too much salt, you could be harming the pooch more than you're helping the lawn. DO NOT add baking soda to your dogs' water. It does not work and it can have serious health consequences for your dog.
If the thatch layer builds up to a certain level, it tends to compress and become 'hydrophobic,' meaning it blocks water movement. It can also prevent the ability of fertilizers and pesticides from reaching the intended targets. Generally speaking, a thatch layer greater than 1/4 inch can cause enough problems to warrant removal.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|