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I've been reading about tree fertilizers and urea constantly comes up as a good source of nitrogen for trees. Let's say your dogs always pick the same tree to urinate on every day. Would that tree be healthier, grow faster etc. as a result?

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mostly a dupe of… – Lorem Ipsum Apr 22 '12 at 15:22
@yoda: so we only need one canonical urination-on-plants question? ;) – bstpierre May 4 '12 at 12:08
up vote 9 down vote accepted

In one word, no.

Dog urine contains high concentrations of nitrogen and salts. The concentrations are sufficient to burn grass roots. Tree roots near the surface are only slightly woodier and just as subject to burn.

For mature trees they can probably deal with the root burn in localized areas. A freshly planted tree might have a harder time depending on the number of dogs.

Edit: @David High nitrogen levels kill roots in a small localized zone. After the urea has been broken down into nitrogen that is available then new roots can make use of it. Dogs tend to be consistent on where they urinate so you get a cycle of root burn followed by new root growth in the kill area and then more root burn. This does not help a tree grow.

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This answer omits the fact that nitrogen almost always increases plants growth LeBauer and Treseder (2008) although data is lacking for many tropical and desert ecosystems. Still, your answer seems inconsistent with the understanding that nitrogen makes plants grow. Could you please elaborate? – David LeBauer Apr 29 '12 at 2:32
@David I expanded on my answer above to address your followup question. Hope that helps! – kevinsky May 4 '12 at 2:33

My husband has been urinating on a tree that has born acorns for the squirrels for 20 yrs. The tree no longer bears nuts and big limbs falls off and I can see severe decay inside the limbs. It killed the tree

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

We are hoping for a more detailed answer to prove the point. Can you post pictures, details or references? – kevinsky Jan 11 '14 at 16:52

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