British Columbia: Cat urine in the soil?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Charlum, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Charlum

    Charlum Member

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    Our cat used a flower bed as a litter box last winter. I thought it would add to the fertility. I know better now as bedding plants did not do well. Is there anything I can use to neutralize the urine, or is soil replacement the only answer.
     
  2. Hartley Botanic

    Hartley Botanic Active Member

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    Maybe an application or two of powdered lime? It will help to level out the PH of the soil, as cat urine is very acidic.
     
  3. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

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    Are you sure it was cat urine? I have noted that elfin thyme turns black on exposure, unfortunately, to my cat's occasional naughtier ventures in my patio, but it has such tiny leaves and stems... but I would be puzzled if the actual urine did that much damage to larger-leaved plants. As a child I used to see a pansy garden thriving with a cat at home... and other plants I have seem ok, nearby. I wouldn't replace soil, that's too extreme. By now it would have washed out anyway, and probably be more fertile! One solution is to leave a bordered area of plain soil for the cat... ours is attracted to such.
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    From Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Extension:

    So, the primary concern is too much nitrogen.

    From Washington State University Extension:

    My advice would be too add a little sawdust to the soil, maybe only enough to lightly cover the soil (maybe less), and mix it in. There's no knowing how much the soil was used by kitty, so it's better to err on the side of caution and underamend (particularly with sawdust). If you find that plants are still being affected this year, repeat with a lighter treatment next year.

    Alternatively, and for more certainty, get the soil tested (after mixing it to balance out hotspots). Armed with that information, and a bit of math, you should be able to be more selective in what you amend to counteract the nitrogen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  5. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I actualy grew annuals VERY successfully on kitty litter when I was in a flat above a shop. We only had a very small rubble strewn courtyard. Used a corner to dump the tray for nearly a year. After that I put some bricks to contain it and tried petunias and it took off from there. I suspect there was something else wrong. You could try a tray of soil or sawdust near where the problem is then empty it on a bigger bit of garden.

    Liz
     
  6. Charlum

    Charlum Member

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    Daniel!

    Thanks for the help.

    When you are talking to you Dad, say Hello from Charlie Lumgair, DipAg '56. I live at Logan Lake now. Interesting website.

    Best regards to you and your Family,

    Charlie.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2010
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Small world! I'll be sure to mention it to him when I talk to him this week.
     
  8. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you have to change the soil in your garden ar all. Flushing the soil with lots of water will neutralize the cat urine. Putting something down like chicken wire on the potty area (s) and bare sections of the garden (slightly raised) will discourage digging and the cat, or cats will move on! Also, a motion sensor sprinkler would work wonders!
     

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