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Allergy Free Gardening

Allergy Free Gardening
Allergy-Free New York - New York Times
Too Much Pollen? Blame the Males - All Things Considered
Safe Sex in the Garden - Weekend Edition
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If you are suffering from allergies, tree and plant pollen may be the reason.

 

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Lawns and Your Pets

No doubt the complaint I hear the most about with lawns and pets is the damage that dogs do to lawns by peeing on them. If you have a lawn and can train your dog to use one corner of the yard for his business, this is the best approach. Ideally the dog will have his own small area with some dirt and lawn. I know several people with dogs who have trained their dogs in this way. What these people do too is that every few moths they’ll buy a few yards of cheap sod and replace the old damaged sod in the dog’s area. Over the course of a year this isn’t very expensive.
It is also important to leave the dog some small area where there is some dirt to dig in. Many dogs like to dig and they can be taught to dig in one area. In order to train a dog not to use the main lawn as his bathroom, it is helpful to set off this part of the yard with string and stakes. This gives the dog a visual idea of what is off limits.

When there is dog poop on a lawn the best thing to do is to clean it up quickly with a shovel. This should be done every single day if needed. The longer the dog crap sits on the lawn, the more damage it will do. If the dog poop is soft and some of it sticks to the lawn after you’ve removed it with a shove, then wash down this spot with a hose. If this is a constant problem, consider making changes in the dog’s diet.
Spots of grass ruined from dog urine should be dug out and either re-seeded or the grass can be replaced with some matching sod. All dogs need daily exercise and it is good for both dogs and owners if they are given a walk every day. A long daily walk will burn up excess energy and usually results in a dog that’s less likely to tear up your lawn. The walk is good exercise for you too.

Poisonous Plants
If you have pet cats in your yard be aware that the groundcover Wandering Jew can cause them allergic reactions. Best not to use this with cats. Dogs will occasionally chew on some of your landscape plants and some of these can be quite poisonous. If you have dogs, it would be best not to use the following poisonous landscape plants around them: Aconite, Arnica, Azalea, Bleeding Hearts, Buckeye, Castor Bean, Euphorbia, Foxglove, Monkshood, Oleander, Pencil tree, Rosary Pea, Rue, Sneezeweed, Yellow Oleander and Yew. In addition, Heavenly Bamboo is not poisonous for most animals, but is for dogs. Likewise, onions and onion-related plants are especially toxic to cats, as is Spider Plant. If mushrooms sprout in your lawn, pull them up and get rid of them. Don’t leave them where the dog might get into them. If you keep getting mushrooms in the lawn you may be over watering, or your drainage may need to be improved, or both! If you are interested in allergies that our pets get and how to avoid them, and want to see a very large listing of poisonous landscape plants, have a look at my book Safe Sex in the Garden.

Allergies and Pets
Dogs and cats can and do get allergies too and they also be affected from pollen from our landscape plants. Plants that would cause us pollen allergies will also affect our pets. Avoid using male landscape trees and shrubs in your yard if you want to limit the allergenic pollen. Both you and your pets will be better off without these male plants. For a complete listing of pollen-free plants, see the book Allergy-Free Gardening. For an extensive listing of plants that can cause rash or itching to pets, see the book, Safe Sex in the Garden, chapter Nine.

Pets and slug and snail bait
Many dogs have been poisoned and killed after they got into a box of slug and snail bait. Switch over to the new kind of snail bait, the one with iron sulfate as the main ingredient. This product kills snails and slugs very effectively but is safe for pets. As a bonus, the iron sulfate as it breaks down in the garden will actually provide some fertilizer.

Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides
Everything you put on your lawn will affect the dogs and cats that play on the lawn. All lawn chemicals that are used for killing weeds, insects, or fungus are potentially dangerous to your pets. Keep pets off any newly treated lawn! Consider having a much more managed and perfect lawn in your front yard, and a much more organic lawn in the back yard where your pets are.

 
 
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