Brugmansia and Dog Pee ?

lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CASeptember 12, 2011

Two years ago, I bought a house in the San Francisco Bay Area, with very neglected gardens. The house came with two scraggly brugmansias. Since Under my care, they have improved in health.

Until recently.

In the past few months, the neighbors on the other side of the fence (directly behind the brugmansia) have gotten two large German shepherds that never leave a small enclosed area. The dogs live their entire lives in a tiny dirt plot.

And recently, my brugmansia is looking terrible. Is this something seasonal (we haven't had any rain since spring)? Or is the fact that my garden backs up to a canine latrine somehow to blame?

I really pity these animals. They have no lives. They bark and howl all day and all night. Their pen is filthy. It's really pathetic. (And yes, I've contacted animal control because of the 24 hour barking.)

Am I going to have to give up on this plant?

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Ament(5a SD)

Well, if it is because of the dog urine, you can water the brug and water down the urine effect on the brug. Or you can move the brug to another spot?

I don't have my two brugs in the ground as I live in an area where it's fairly cold in the fall & winter and just don't feel like dealing with digging them out. So my two dogs don't urinate on mine. But dog urine can be rather harsh, if it isn't watered down at all. I know that on my lawn and such, if I water the lawn and be sure it doesn't 'burn' anything growing, nothing in my yard gets burnt from the urine. And I've not got two small dogs, One is a blue heeler and the other is a great dane. :)

Sorry you have such poor animal owners. People who own dogs should not lock them up in the yard 24/7. Mine reside in the home with us. They are a part of the family.


    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 2:39AM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

The plant must be fifteen feet tall. I'd hate to try to move it.

And I do water it, of course.

Those poor dogs are crying right now.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 2:49AM
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Animal urine can damage any plant. What the previous poster meant is flushing the brugs often with water to try and wash the urine out of the soil.

Those poor dogs are being mistreated. I would take pics of their living conditions and again call the ASPCA. Maybe they will do something this time.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 6:05AM
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Ament(5a SD)

The thing with brugs is you can cut them down to a more manageable size, even their root ball can be hacked down to a size you can move. Then you can heft its size to a new location away from the damaging urine to save it. If you do not wish to be watering it all the time to flush the urine. Brugs are pretty tough, but I'd have to guess they can only handle so much and no more. :)

I agree with Karyn though, those dogs are being abused. However, it can be very difficult to get anything done sometimes. Sometimes you have to keep at it to get them any help. Are those dogs being fed? Provided water? Shelter? If those things are being provided, you may not get much help, unfortunately. :(


    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 12:14PM
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If moving them is an option Tina's right about how much trimming a brug can handle. I chop 8' brugs down to 8" and trim the rootball enough to fit into a 3 gal pot for winter storage. You can also easily root all the branches that are cut off. They can take severe pruning but I doubt that they can tolerate being constantly soaked with urine.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 1:43PM
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chena(z8 Texas)

I second ALL of the above!!!
I had a Newfoundland Dog that could pee on something one time and it would die.. The dang slobber ate the paint off of my car!!!! I would move it if that is an option..


    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 3:48PM
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Brugmansias love nitrogen, so the only thing in dog urine that would hurt them is salt. I do think they are not very tolerant of salt. That could affect them but I'd think the roots on the other side of the fence, farther from the salt, would still be able to absorb moisture - and they grow quickly enough that those roots would be able to take over and sustain the plant.

Based on the size your brug. seems to be, I don't think it would be killed off by urine.

Brugmansias are also more deeply-rooted than grass so if there is any living grass on the side of the fence where the dogs are urinating, it shouldn't affect a deeply-rooted brugmansia. If you've noticed, dog urine spots in lawns are brown in the middle but tend to be even more lush and green just outside the dead portion where less-concentrated nutrients in the urine actually help the plants and salt concentrations are not as high.

Besides, they'd have to have a LOT of dogs, or they'd have to be urinating on exactly the spot where the brugmansia roots are growing, for the urine to be so highly concentrated that it injures them.

I think the weather is more likely the source of the problem.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 9:42PM
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Ament(5a SD)

Urine can be aimed in the exact same spot day after day though. Maybe a few pictures would be more helpful? I know urine can be very beneficial in lower doses, or watered down doses. Personal preferences though would be for my dogs not to pee in the same place. However, my heeler refuses. So all the lawn around the tree in my back yard for about 6 inches out from the base is pretty much dead. It's a good thing we're reseeding this year. With tougher lawn seed. Football field seed. Plus more compost and soil on the ground. Did a total burn down of lawn, dandelions, thistles and broadleaf weeds this year. LoL

Anyway, if I had my druthers, I'd rather he peed on the weeds then maybe he would kill those off. :P However that generally isn't an option for me, so I'm moving a huge piece of petrified wood to the back yard to place in front of the tree and hope he chooses that as a new target. ;)

As for your brug, take a bunch of cuttings, root them elsewhere and try to flush the parent plants roots, see if the ASPCA will help with those animals and you can possibly pick up a product called "No Go" and douse the area behind your brug, alongside the fence area where they pee all the time. Maybe detour them from urinating in that particular spot for awhile to see if it helps your brug any? Good luck with your lovely!


    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 5:41AM
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lisascenic Urban Gardener, Oakland CA

Hmmm.... I'm not really excited by the idea of digging up this gigantic tree. I'm hoping the problem is related to our seasons and the weather.

As for the dogs, they have a house and they do get fed, and the owners eventually get around to cleaning up the feces, when things really start to stink. The dogs live in a dirt pen. Maybe there was grass once, but it is long-gone.

I'm going to encourage other neighbors to contact the city about the dogs. Often it takes more than one complaint to get real action.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 11:59PM
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chena(z8 Texas)

I just don't understand why people have animals they don't want to spend time with or take care of!!!! I have Cows you can call their name and they will come to you!!! LOL


    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:45AM
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Ament(5a SD)

Nice Kyle! I remember as a kid having cattle we could holler for and they'd come runnin' Haha! So fun when people came over and we'd whistle for the horses & cows and every one of them came on the run. :D


    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 12:17PM
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I can testify that brugs don't like salt! Ike killed most of mine and the ones that did survive are doing horrible. Even cuttings I rooted and planted died, so did a lot of other things, we've been in a drought almost since the hurricane so not enough rain to wash it out of the soil I guess.
No amount of watering does as good a job as a heavy rain.

Contact dogs deserve better, you can find them on their facebook page, they are committed to rescuing dogs on leads, small pens, etc. They can provide you with the resources to help the poor guys next door. People are idiots.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 9:52AM
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