Groundcover for yard with heavy dog usage

Asked October 28, 2019, 10:25 AM EDT

G’day! My 1/5 acre sloping, Hyattsville yard has to cope with heavy usage by 6 large dogs. I also have several large trees shading the east side for most of the day and when it rains heavily, I get a lot of run off from my neighbor’s yard on that side. In the past, I have used wood chips and rubber mulch as ground cover, but I’m prepared to spend up to $2,000 annually to maintain plant cover for the aesthetics and for anti-erosion properties. Are there any grasses or ground overs that would fare well? I planted tall fescue seeds on October 1 on the east side and it’s about 3” tall now. I fenced the area off from the dogs and wonder if I should keep it that way until the spring to give it a better chance of survival? I would love a ground cover that can survive dogs but stays short so I can easily see and remove solid waste. Thank you!

Prince George's County Maryland

1 Response

It is not easy to have a lawn and dogs. There are no lawn alternatives like groundcovers that will hold up to dog traffic. Here are some options.

You may want to experiment with a fenced area as soon as they come out of the house where they can do their business. You can check into artificial turf but avoid a rubber filler due to drainage issues. One of our specialists has dogs and has good luck with artificial turf.

You can keep the tall fescue area fenced off. At this point, you can look for sod which will contain a mix of fescue and bluegrass. You can install now. Bluegrass grows best in full sun but will tolerate part shade. It also holds up to some wear and tear. If you have dogs, you may find that you need to overseed in the fall as a general practice.

Ther are no easy answers. Here is some information on sod and an article on lawns and dogs