Home & Garden

  • Aug
  • 15

‘Fire Hydrants’ Don’t Always Provide Water

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'Fire Hydrants' Don't Always Provide Water by Elizabeth Bublitz“Why does my dog always lift his leg on my plants and kill them?” This question is a top concern for dog guardians, especially those with male dogs. When we get the call that dogs have killed many plants in a new garden, I always suspect the lack of “fire hydrants,” as I call them.

Many dog guardians (who are also avid gardeners) don’t realize that specific habits need to be encouraged to help prevent dogs from potentially wreaking havoc on their yards. Dogs tend to make my job very easy since they choose to “use” the same plant(s) time after time. Therefore, we simply leave the dead plant as a marker for the dog and install a beautiful container, boulder or any inanimate object that will add interest and scenic value to the area.

Container gardens actually require less maintenance, since homeowners do not need to weed or water them as often. They also provide flexibility, as gardeners can change the color scheme, variety, and texture of plants annually. You’ll want to stick with upright plants rather than cascading ones, though, to minimize urine damage. Herbs can often be incorporated into container gardens and can also add a wonderful fragrance. It’s best to stay away from porous containers, since they compete with plants for water. And do not use containers that have been painted, as the urine can burn the paint and create an unattractive stain. Plastic, stone (troughs), or composite containers are often your best bet for durability.

Homeowners can attract a variety of birds by using bird-attracting plants. One word of caution—it’s only fair to attract birds if neighbors do not have outdoor cats who can harm or kill birds.

Boulders are a beautiful “fire hydrant” solution. Boulders have their own personalities—each face is unique. They are not terribly expensive and can withstand urine burns.

With success, we have used all these wonderful choices to enhance gardens while making people and Fido happy!

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