How To Keep Your Dog From Peeing On Your Tree

Why does your Dog Pee On Your Tree

In this article by Bill Lantz he covers the main reasons why !

Dogs love to mark their territory.

And sometimes that means they end up peeing on your garden or a tree in your yard.

If your trees are young, this sometimes means that your tree is going to die, based upon the amount of nitrogen found in dog pee.

Too much nitrogen will kill grass and trees.

So, what can we do to keep our dogs from peeing on our trees? The solutions include putting a cage around your tree, placing items that smell disgusting around your tree, planting prickly bushes around the tree, placing potted plants or bushes around your tree as a barrier, or training your dog to pee only in designated areas.

cages to stop dogs peeing on a tree

Read on to find out my number 1 preferred method for keeping your dog from peeing on your tree.

Why dogs love peeing on trees

The WagWalking gives a pretty good explanation as to why dogs seem to love peeing on the trees we plant in our yard:

So, the first and most common reason for this behavior is scenting. Dogs have an evolutionary urge to mark things with their own scent. This was historically so that other animals in the area know that this is your dog’s territory. This instinct for marking is especially strong in dogs that haven’t been neutered or spayed. A male canine will always try and mark an area if there’s a female dog in heat, even if they aren’t in the same immediate vicinity. If you’ve been raising your dog from a puppy, these behaviors don’t really come to fruition until they’ve reach adulthood. A more specific type of urine marking is called overmarking. This happens when your dog smells the scent marker of another dog or animal. They deposit a small amount of urine on top of the previous scent. In canines, this is specifically to mark the original scenter as subordinate to themselves, thus elevating their status in the pack.

Why Do Dogs Pee On Trees –

Essentially, by peeing, dogs are marking that area as theirs, in an effort to keep other dogs away and to also let female dogs know there is a male dog around.

So the male dogs find items in your yard that they can easily mark.

And if they find a different scent in the area, then they are going to mark your tree again.

If you have a male dog and want to keep your plants and trees alive, take one or more of the following precautions to keep your plants alive.

Put a cage around your tree

cages to protect dogs form peeing on them

Find a cage that will keep your dog far enough away from the tree so he cannot get any of his pee on it.

This can include a cage you can find on Amazon here or a tree guard, which can be found here.

If you want a cheaper option, you can create a fence around the tree by yourself.

Purchase three or four t-posts, bury them on the four corners around the tree (anywhere between a foot or a foot and a half away from the tree) and then purchase some chicken wire and wrap the chicken wire around the t-posts.

Your dog might try to dig under the chicken wire to get to the tree, but he might also find it not worth the time and move to another area of the garden to do his business.

Either way, creating a minor barrier around the tree using a fence or a cage should deter your dog enough to keep the tree alive.

Place items with a disgusting smell around your tree

There are a few smells that dogs find absolutely disgusting.

One of these smells is vinegar.

Find something that you can dip in the vinegar, such as cotton balls, and then once you have dipped the cotton balls in the vinegar, place the cotton balls around the tree in a circle shape.

The dog will find the smell horrible and will not try to go near the tree to do his business.

Dogs also do not like the smell of tabasco sauce, so that is another option.

Also, dogs will sneeze when they smell chili pepper flakes, so that could be another option to place around the tree as well.

So when the dog tries to use your tree to do his business, he will find the smell he does not like and go to a different area.

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Plant prickly bushes around the tree

Dogs can be very sensitive to prickly things around or on them.

When we got our first dog, we lived in a place that has lots of goat heads around the yard.

Once our dog got hurt from a goat head, she tried as much as she could to stay away from that area.

The same will be true if you plant prickly bushes near your tree.

If your dog tries once to get near the tree to pee on it, it is likely they get pricked and will not go near the area again.

The list of prickly bushes include:

  • Hawthorns
  • Wild rose
  • Southern Blackberry
  • Catclaw acacia
  • Bougainvillea
  • Oregon grape holly

Place potted plants around your tree as a barrier

In all honesty, most of the time your dog is not going to go to great lengths to pee on your tree if you have made it hard to get to.

If you create a barrier around your tree using potted plants, your dog will see the barrier and most of the time will give up.

So a potted plant barrier seems like a cheap option, and also one that will make your yard look nice.

Train your dog to pee in designated areas

This last one is going to take a little more effort, but it is by far my favorite option.

Dogs are trained easily and you should be able to train your dog to pee in only the areas you want them to pee.

To accomplish this, when you first get the dog, take them outside during bathroom time with a leash on.

Then, walk them around the yard on the lease.

When they get to the area of your tree if it looks like they are going to start peeing on the tree, gently walk them away from that area and take them to the area you want them to pee.

In this new area, once he has gone to the bathroom, immediately reward him with a treat.

Continue this practice for a few weeks, remembering to reward the dog each time he goes to the bathroom in the correct area of the yard.

Eventually, he will learn that going to the bathroom in one area is bad, while the other is good.

It is important to keep up the training until the dog no longer has a desire to use your tree to do his business.

Other ways to deter a dog

There are other ways to deter a dog from peeing in a particular area of a yard.

Motion activated sprinklers are one such idea.

Put the motion-activated sprinkler in the area of the yard where your tree is.

When the dog moves to go into that area, he will get hit with water from the motion-activated sprinkler and will run away from that area.

Adding plants dogs do not like to your yard will also help as well.

These plants include the following:

  • Lemongrass
  • Citronella
  • Marigolds
  • Curry plant
  • Hot pepper plants

It may also help to remove the odor from the area once the dog has peed there.

Dogs are creatures of habit, so they will continue to go to the same spot if they can smell their pee in that area.

So removing the odor from the area might help as well.

Simple Green Outdoor Odor Eliminator is one such product that will help you eliminate that dog odor.

Once your dog has peed in that area, spray some of the odor eliminators and that might just be enough to keep the dog away the next time he goes outside to go the bathroom.


Dogs like to mark their territories, so if you have found that they are peeing on your trees, make sure to take the appropriate steps to deter them from doing it again.

This includes creating a barrier around your tree, whether by fencing or bushes, put smells in the area that will deter your dogs, or train your dog where they should go to the bathroom.


Bill Lantz

As stated this article was written by Bill Lantz a database analyst