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Iowa Has Cold Winters. We Are Keeping Our Daugher’s Husky…

Kathy Asked

Iowa has cold winters. We are keeping our daugher’s husky for a few months. He like to urinate on a clematis I have that is beautiful in the spring and summer. Will urine damage the plant in the dormant season?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hello, Kathy: You are very kind to watch your daughter’s husky! Yes, dog urine can damage plants when they are constantly exposed to it. It is more of a concern during the warmer months while the plants are actively growing and taking up moisture. This time of year when the ground has the potential to freeze it is less of an issue. I would assume that the ground stays frozen for a good amount of your Iowa winters. If this is the case your clematis is not in immediate danger. When the warmer temperatures arrive and the ground thaws you may want to add additional water to the base of your clematis to dilute the concentrated urine. You will want to avoid fertilizing as well. Plants are tough and a bit of urine is not going to kill them, but if this seems to be the only place the dog wants to use the bathroom it would be a good idea to encourage him/her to choose other options.

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