How to Protect a Young Tree from Your Dog

So you’ve just gotten a treeling planted in your backyard, but you also have a dog that likes to dig and pee on things. Here are some ways to protect your young tree from Fido.

Raising a young tree in the presence of a dog is quite a challenge. Dogs tend to sniff unfamiliar objects, pee on things as their way of “marking,” and dig into the dirt for no apparent reason, among many other plant-harming things.

So how can you keep your young tree healthy without having to ban your dog from the yard?

Aside from fertilization and insect control to keep your tree in good condition, here’s how you can protect it from physical destruction by no other than your furry best friend:

1. Put deterrents near the tree

Dogs have sensitive noses, which is why they don’t like strong scents. Thus, to keep them away from your tree, you can spray deterrents near or on the trunk, as well as on the ground surrounding it. Examples of items with strong smells (that dogs don’t like) are coffee grounds, orange peels, black pepper, hot sauce, and red pepper.

2. Train them to stay away

two dogs sittingSome dogs can be pretty stubborn, and they might not understand right away that the new tree is off-limits. Thus, you must train them to stay away from the tree at the first sign of interest. You can let them sniff it to get them used to the presence of the new tree, but tell them to back off once they raise their leg or do as much as scratch the trunk.

3. Build a fence

For very young trees, it is recommended to put up a fence around the trunk at least until it grows big enough not to topple over if your dog happens to lean on it. This way, you won’t have to worry about your tree getting trampled over every time your dog is out in the yard.

Alternatively, set up a play area for your dog if your yard is big enough. This play area or dog-zone can serve as their own outdoor space away from your plants and trees. Just make sure the fence is tall enough and that there aren’t any spaces that your dog can dig through underneath.

4. Use less-inviting mulch alternatives

Common organic mulching material, such as wood chips or shredded leaves, is usually attractive to dogs. And, of course, you don’t want the mulch around your young tree to entice your dog to dig or roll around in that area. So instead of traditional types of mulching material, you can use alternatives like pine cones or thorny trimmings that will keep your dog away.

5. Keep pee away

If you have a male dog, consider installing a splash guard around your young tree, at least for the first few years. Alternatively, regularly rinse the trunk and the soil around the tree with clean water to wash away any urine that might have ended up on it when you weren’t looking.

Don’t put your young tree at risk. If you have a dog, get them to steer clear from your new tree. However, if your pup still manages to do some damage, call in a tree care expert right away to salvage the situation.

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