After a winter of family pets using the garden or backyard as a porta-potty, the yard may be quite odorous by spring. Skunks that are attracted to gardens may also leave their scent behind. This isn't a hygienic situation, but the stench can overpower the sweet scent of spring flowers. Cleaning the garden may seem like an overwhelming chore, but with a few simple steps and inexpensive items, your yard can once again be a clean and welcome retreat.
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Things you need
- Garden gloves
- Dust mask
- Distilled white vinegar
- Spray bottle
- 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
- Liquid dish soap
- 1 gallon jar
- Clay-based cat litter or alfalfa pellets
- Garden lime
- Water sprinkler
- Pressure nozzle
- Garden hose
Put on your garden gloves and dust mask. (Cat faeces can be infected with toxicara.) Use a rake or shovel to pick up all visible cat or canine faeces. Dispose of properly. Rake the lawn, flower beds and garden plots. Take debris and trimmings to the compost pile, and cover with a layer of straw, leaves, shredded newspaper or nontreated, aged sawdust or wood chips.
Trim the yard of all dead foliage and grass. Cut the grass at a short setting. Rake up the clipped grass and trimmings, and add to the compost pile. Again, cover these with a layer of organic materials to smother the smell.
Prepare a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts of water. Mix in a spray bottle, and thoroughly saturate areas where pets have urinated or defected. Vinegar neutralises the ammonia from cat urine. Cats urinate in the same spot most of the time, so find that area in the garden, and spray with the vinegar mixture.
Prepare a mixture of 1 qt. of 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 tsp liquid soap in a 1 gallon jar. Apply immediately by pouring or splashing on contaminated surfaces, garden soil or around the base of plants. Hydrogen peroxide mixed with baking soda is unstable and generates oxygen. When applied to areas saturated with pet urine, the oxidation changes the composition of the scent, so that it's no longer repulsive. When you apply the fresh mixture to the contaminated items or areas, the smell rapidly diminishes.
Purchase several bags of clay-based cat litter or alfalfa pellets, and sprinkle liberally on flower beds, garden plots and the lawn. This absorbs odours and slowly decomposes into the soil. The clay litter is a harmless addition to the soil. The alfalfa pellets amend the soil by adding beneficial nitrogen.
Sprinkle garden lime on garden plots, flower beds and the lawn. Work into the soil where feasible. The lime washes into the soil with rain and watering and aids in neutralising offensive odours.
Water the yard vigorously. Set up sprinklers, and thoroughly saturate all of the gardens and lawn with a long soaking to wash urine and offending scents into the soil. Use a pressure nozzle attached to a garden hose to wash driveways, sidewalks, patios and walls that may have come into contact with pet urine.
Tips and warnings
- Cultivate chopped up orange peels into the soil. Cats dislike the citrus scent, and, as they decompose, they ward off other garden insects and pests.
- Don't handle, breathe or be around cat urine and faeces if you're pregnant.
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