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Dog Pee Kills Trees
Fido's "tree-mail" is actually eroding our urban forest

Image via flickr

Dog park politics just got a little more complicated. A recent investigation by The Atlantic Cities reports that dog pee is a major threat to the survival of urban trees. Trees in big cities face so many challenges – poor soil quality, air pollution, road salt contamination to name few – and dog pee is making it worse.

According to multiple experts, including the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, the high salt content in dog urine draws water out of tree roots and causes the soil at the base of trees to crust over making it virtually impenetrable simulating the effects of a drought. Dog pee, like all mammal urine, also contains ammonium which can be very damaging to tree bark in large doses making the trees susceptible to burrowing insects and oozing diseases like “bacterial wetwood.”

Compounding the problem is the fact that dog pee attracts more dog pee. Dogs use their urine to let the neighbourhood know what they’re up to and other dogs are compelled to leave a reply. So when lots of dogs use one tree as their “message board” they’re actually destroying the thing that unites their community. It’s a problem, because dogs just love to pee. To reduce dog-induced deforestation, dog owners should train their pets to do their business in the gutter. Or maybe they could learn to use the toilet like the rest of us.

[via The Atlantic Cities]


Michael Kolberg is The Sprawl Editor at Toronto Standard. Follow him on Twitter for jokes @mikeykolberg

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