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I've been urinating on dead lawns for a while. I consider myself an expert. In my home town we've been having a drought for some time; yet I had great success there, turning dried out, dying areas of lawn into veritable blue-green jungles. But in Cape Town, where I now am, the drought is very severe indeed, and the soils appear for all intents and purposes to be dead.

Grass is a hardy thing though, and clings to life in corners and behind walls and between bricks. Those roots systems can be encouraged if you concentrate your efforts in one area, and I've done exactly that to some (smaller degree of) success. These can then sprout a whole new lawn, in time.

I've noticed an interesting thing in these wasted-away soils. If I urinate, after a litre or two, I've observed this dark patch which does not seem to recede. It is as if the soil begins to STAY moist. Oddly, this applies even if I then leave that patch for weeks afterward. What could be causing this?

A lot of soil health relies on fungi and bacteria. Could it be that spores / dormant bacteria in the soil are awakening and creating a new web of life, using the nutrients (proteins), minerals (salts, ammonia) and water in the urine?

  • It could be that some wild dogs are visiting the same area, during the night, keeping the moisture using the same method, at the same place. – VividD Apr 5 '18 at 15:41
  • I think you're just seeing more microbial life in the soil. Nothing to do with attracting more moisture. – Graham Chiu Apr 6 '18 at 6:53
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I don't think I've ever disagreed with Bamboo before, however:

Urea, found in urine, is a humectant

A humectant attracts and retains the moisture in the air nearby via absorption, drawing the water vapor into or beneath the organism's or object's surface.

You're doing good peeing on your lawn.

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  • Interesting, didn't know that... but surely not with very long term effects? – Bamboo Apr 5 '18 at 16:30
  • A few weeks to months perhaps. Depends on rain and soil. Urea contains plenty of nitrogen, so plants will take it up as fertilizer, when they can. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 5 '18 at 18:30
  • Thanks. As an aside, some level of beneficial salts in otherwise poor soils can also help plant metabolism, from what I've read. But one would be wise to play that game carefully, maybe have soil tested from time to time to gauge salt levels. Anyhow, I believe this is probably also contributing in my case. – Engineer Apr 6 '18 at 6:06
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When you say a darker patch, its not clear whether you mean the grass blades are darker, or there's a dark patch on the soil.

Urine contains nitrogen in useful amounts, along with phosphorus and potassium, so using it to fertilize a lawn isn't a bad thing, but it's more usual to deploy urine on the compost heap, where it's a useful additive. However, the other thing that urine contains is varying levels of salt, and that really isn't good for anything green and growing if its applied to the same spot regularly, so the advice, if you want to use urine as a fertilizer, is to dilute it and spread it around, maybe via a watering can.

To answer your actual question, no, urine does not make the moisture retention of soil better - it's just you're watering it in those areas. I can't comment on the 'dark patch' because it's not clear to what you're referring - certainly, urine applied to grass will produce a lush, darker green growth. Info here https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/lawn-garden/a27354/urinate-on-lawn/

UPDATE: in response to the other answer.It appears that uric acid decomposition in soil is largely down to particular microbial growth - it will take longer for uric acid to break down in some soils than it will in others, depending on the microbial content. So in some cases, yes, it may well increase the moisture retention - but only for up to and around 90 days, if the microbial content isn't perfect for its decomposition. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf401212n?src=recsys&journalCode=jafcau

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Urine MAY be a humectant or a substance that falls within someone's definition but I can assure you peeing on your lawn will not make a happy lawn.

Have you ever noticed on your underfed lawn, big green patches from female dogs peeing on their walkabout? On your lawn? Has nothing to do with moisture, everything to do with urea.

Urine is acid. Lawns need more alkaline soil. Fact.

People actually drink urine! Their argument is that they were told Urine is sterile?? That our urine has cool stuff in it that our bodies need? Yet the very same bodies excreted that same Urine? Crazy.

Urine is in no way a product to use on soils for plants and soil life. Period. Look up our stuff on lawn care. Lawns are a curious and needy crop that if we do not understand its needs we will not have beautiful lawn.

We humans have artificial gardens. Everything we touch is artificial. Plants need our input with water, light and fertilizer...drainage. If we do not understand the basics we will only incur more problems and feel less success and control when we step out our doors of our homes.

Cape Town is in S. Africa? Urine does more harm than good when applied full strength. Have you seen green green well fed lawns where female dogs have peed and instead of dark green those spots are fried? Too much nitrogen. Simple.

You need to get your lawn on a fertilizer program. If you've got warm season grasses for lawn, the healthier your grass the better it is able to out compete weeds and resist disease. If you are seeing greening on your lawn from urine that tells me your lawn is starving from lack of chemistry it needs to make its own food. That lawn needs a balanced fertilizer 3 to 4 times per grow season, aeration by pulling plugs out of the lawn and leaving them to disintegrate...

The absolute best decomposed mulch that feeds the soil life is decomposed human poo and sawdust. The best. Beautiful. Fine texture, dark taupe. You have to replace it every other year because the organisms in the soil come up and eat this stuff then go back into the soil to poop it out mixing the organic matter into the soil perfectly and quickly. Forget about weeds...no weed seeds no pesticide residues...but a little high in heavy metals (still lower than our tap waters) so not for use on vegetables...check out your local poo processors!

The only and the best way to improve any type of soil, anywhere, is by dumping DECOMPOSED organic matter on the surface of the garden soil. (Potting soil ONLY for pots). Not one other thing has been found to improve the texture, tilth of soil. Not one. Some use gypsum, some lime, others gravels, pea gravels, some like making layered lasagna, none of these things makes a great soil. None. Lime, gypsum, gravels, clay, water and rotation make...concrete.

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    Female dogs urine kills grass because they squat, and deliver a lethal dose of nitrogen. Male dogs spray from a height and so deliver with Less precision, and just end up fertilizing the grass. I guess the OP is in the same situation as the male dog. – Graham Chiu Apr 6 '18 at 6:51
  • "In the past decade urea has surpassed and nearly replaced ammonium nitrate as a fertilizer. This has brought about new questions on urea and its use. " extension.umn.edu/agriculture/nutrient-management/nitrogen/… Oklahoma and 9/11, dontcha know. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 7 '18 at 16:00
  • I prefer human poo poo and pee pee mixed with sawdust and thoroughly decomposed, tested 5 times. I didn't see where they get their urea to make the crystals by dehydration? I love that human poo poo pee pee mulch so very much well, the plants and soil just went nuts...in one week a normal looking anemic landscape will become lush, vibrant, slowing traffic in the neighborhood. I don't use any thing other than simple BALANCED fertilizer for fertilizer. That mulch came with the 5th test results so you knew exactly the chemistry. Beautiful...but still does not replace fertilizer. Wow, Way!!! – stormy Apr 8 '18 at 6:12

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