turfgrass

Animals

Domestic animals and grass are challenging. Pets such as dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and other animal species often share lawn areas with humans. Large herbivorous animals such as horses also live in urban and rural areas near people and have particular dietary needs. For animal species eating grass, particularly in confinement in small areas, there is concern about toxic plants.

Grassy surfaces capture and recycle feces and urine but special care is needed to manage these areas. Animals exert similar kinds of wear as do human athletes, but can cause extreme damage.  If stocking rate is high, grasses do not have time to recover.

In a backyard setting, “runs” can be constructed to maximize, in a small area, the exercise capacity of outdoor turf areas. Communities also create specialized “dog parks” which serve more than the immediate need to give animals a place to defecate or urinate. Dog parks give both dogs and their owners a place to socialize. The management concern over pets and grass includes direct chemical burning of grass by urine, the stocking rate problem when dogs are given too small an area, and human health concerns. A substantial amount of coliform bacteria are in runoff from urban areas, some of which may be due to pets as well as feral animals such as pigeons and peacocks.