Funky odor around house

bluemoon2(SC z7)July 10, 2008

Since we moved here about 2 months ago, I've noticed an unpleasant sour odor at a few different places near the house (amongst the shrubs). It's not everywhere and some days it's worse than others. The tree service guy who is here today said that he also smelled it in the woods behind our house and it's probably from the soil, since the mulch doesn't seem to smell. Have any of you had this problem?

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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

I remember that incredibly sour,funky odor when the neighbors were having their back yard dug up for an inground swimming pool. Sometimes pockets of rotted wood underground will have a nasty odor and pockets of bull tallow mud don't smell so good either.

On the other hand, it might be cat spray or a fox marking its territory with urine.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 3:26PM
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Has there been any earth moving in your area? Once when I was checking out a potential rescue on a site in which they were already moving soil around, it smelled awful! The bulldozer guy said it was from the soil...he had gone down where there was little oxygen but some moisture, thus the sour smell. I have since smelled something similar on other sites where there was major construction. Of course, hubbie just turned the compost heap, and that was not pleasant, either.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 5:28PM
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Do you have any Cimicifuga blooming? I believe that's the plant in one of our shade greenhouses at work that is stinking the place up right now. :o)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 6:00PM
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coorscat(6 and 9)

There are lots of spores in the ground that can smell. Some molds also smell slightly like cat urine. Be careful digging in that area if yours is an area that aspergillis is common. What part of Arizona are you in?

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 4:49PM
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Bluemoon says he/she moved here 2 months ago. I believe that means NC.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 9:09PM
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I only wished I had a "funky odor" around my house - - might keep the rabbits away!

Hope you solve your problem...


    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 9:00PM
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bluemoon2(SC z7)

I thought that I'd changed my location, sorry! I'm now in the NE Greenville area. There hasn't been any earth moving here, nor do we have Cimicifuga as far as I know. Our next door neighbors have a cat, but I haven't seen it in our yard (maybe they just let it out at night). Is aspergillis very common here? I was going to rake out one of the stronger-smelling areas to see if I could find anything.

The smell hasn't seemed to deter rabbits! They've already eaten all the perennials that the previous owner planted. I was going to look into getting some flowers that rabbits don't like, if there's such a thing.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 8:38PM
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Nell Jean

Do you have petunias in your flowerbeds? Certain types close to the species, smell like the dog spit up, following a rain.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 1:30PM
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paulacat(Z8 Coastal SC)

It wouldn't explain the smell in the woods, but do you have boxwoods planted around your house? Some varieties smell really bad...just like cat urine...especially when wet.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 7:15AM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

It could just be b/c of the recent rains we've been having.

I believe the mountains haven't been as lucky, and I've heard that trees sometimes emit a bad smell if the leaves die due to dessication or freeze damage. Are they dying out and drying up?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 12:13AM
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pfmastin(8 N. Carolina)

Do you have boxwood? I think it smells like cat urine. :)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 9:23PM
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I told my husband it was the boxwoods that smelled that way! I'm glad I am not the only one who smells it.

Some dead things smell like cat pee.. cats in particular. And of course it could be a cat spraying. Dead rats and mice have more of a... rotten flatulence smell.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 10:13PM
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coorscat(6 and 9)

I do not mean to make light of your mystery odor, because those kinds of things can give you fits, but I am laughing so hard at the comparisons people are using to describe things that stink.....such as "dog spit up" and "rotten flatulence". Also glad to know that I am not the only person that thinks boxwoods smell like urine. For the longest I thought it was a fox marking them until I finally just decided they stink. As for aspergillus locations, it might be in the area. It is a problem for those that grow corn and peanuts, if any of your neighbors are growing those.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 3:47PM
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I'm so glad to have stumbled upon this thread. Last summer we had a rash of unwelcome cat vistors to the front of our house. Taunting our cat inside, spraying, urinating, defacating all over our once-nice flower beds. It was so bad in fact at one point we had a cat spray the tires of my car!

Fast forward to this year - after many natural remedies & some chemical ones, too - we continue to have a foul odor near the entrance to our home.

So the other day I got down on the ground & sniffed the source of the smell to our boxwoods...then thought - I can't believe cat spray could have fouled up shrubbery!

It is incredibly reassuring to know that the boxwoods are likely the source - and I can easily chop them suckers off and replace with something far more welcoming! Thanks for the info everyone!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 12:42AM
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Claire Pickett

All of the above are interesting and helpful.

I was just noticing early this AM that the air outside does not smell like a bouquet of anything pleasant. I attributed it to the record high humidity we've been experiencing which causes so many moisture-loving fungi to thrive. Yuck...bring on the autumn!

Claire in Sanford

    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 11:26AM
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Our funky odor turned out to be septic problems. We couldn't identify the smell at first (smelled more like something had died) but it became obvious (and costly).


    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 11:31AM
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