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Trees, Shrubs and Conifers: My shrubs smell like cat urine..Help!

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Forum: Trees, Shrubs and ConifersReplies: 46, Views: 333
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ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

March 30, 2009
4:53 PM

Post #6340587

Does anyone know how to get cat urine out of my shrubs? My shrubs in the front of my house smell like urine. There are several cats that roam around, and I believe one may have sprayed my bushes:(
It's right in the front and very strong. Yuck!
Any ideas on how to get it out? How would I keep them from doing it again?
Thanks, Elizabeth

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2009
6:12 PM

Post #6340859

Hose the shrubs down, and if possible make the ground around it uncomfortable to walk on (gravel, prickly twigs, etc.).

Resin
Windy
Belleville , IL
(Zone 6b)

March 31, 2009
3:35 AM

Post #6343309

Try a little Murphey's oil soap in one of those sprayers that attach to the hose and dilute applications. I use it to kill aphids and it has a nice clean smell and doesn't bother my plants at all.
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

March 31, 2009
5:21 AM

Post #6343637

I believe I found what the problem was- I have a boxwood shrub. I had no idea that they smell so.
Can I make it stop smelling?
Will Murphey's oil help with the odor?

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2009
8:36 AM

Post #6343884

Box smells like box, not cat's pee! It's a lovely scent, think associations of old English formal gardens and warm summer days ;-)

Resin
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

March 31, 2009
8:58 AM

Post #6343918

Resin- you are probably in the minority, cause it doesn't smell good at all. Maybe you have different ones in Northumberland. But kinda like one mans trash is another mans treasure!:) LOL
How is the weather there? Are you far away?
Elizabeth

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2009
6:21 PM

Post #6345746

Probably the same species, Buxus sempervirens.

Glorious spring day here! Sunny, 15C, almost like summer.

Resin
Windy
Belleville , IL
(Zone 6b)

March 31, 2009
11:30 PM

Post #6347059

I haven't noticed any pee smell from the boxwoods here. I have them in front of the house.
Now those Pear trees that everyone has had me wondering if I had stepped in doggie doo doo. I gagged when I went to get the mail that is near the neighbors two trees. They ought to be outlawed. LOL
maillady2
Saint Augustine, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2009
11:48 PM

Post #6347133

Are you sure they are boxwoods? We have wax myrtles and they are very cat like. Can you send a picture?

This message was edited Mar 31, 2009 7:49 PM
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 3, 2009
4:57 AM

Post #6357893

I don't have a camera, but if you have any pictures to send I could see if they look like mine. I'll try to find some pic.
daiseycat
Assonet, MA
(Zone 6b)

April 3, 2009
8:32 AM

Post #6358133

I haven't noticed a smell from my boxwoods, but my Junipers absolutely smell like cat urine. Yuck!
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 3, 2009
10:34 AM

Post #6358229

daiseycat- do you a picture of your junipers?
daiseycat
Assonet, MA
(Zone 6b)

April 3, 2009
11:07 AM

Post #6358278

Sorry, I don't. They are old and leggy. They were neglected by previous owners. I would like to replace them but, we live on a steep hillside on the Bay, and errosion is a serious problem. The Juniper holds a large portion of the hillside in place. To replace them I think would involve many environmental agencies and lots of $$. If not done right, I'm afraid we'd be living in the Bay. :)

Resin

Resin
Northumberland
United Kingdom
(Zone 9a)

April 3, 2009
12:39 PM

Post #6358497

Lots of photos, if you follow these links. Click on each species link to see photos of the various species.

Box: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Buxus
Junipers: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Juniperus

Resin
snapple45
Holland, OH
(Zone 5b)

April 3, 2009
7:36 PM

Post #6360127

Whether the box or not, cats don't like pine cones of any sort. The make an unstable, prickly, sticky footing for cat feet. Of course, they need to be replaced from time to time as they naturally compost. If wind is a problem you can bury them slightly in the mulch, leaving the top portion above. I've used them successfully for years in my house plant pots ( 2 indoor only cats) and outside around my dwarf azaleas to detere the never ending strays that find their way to the gardens. My white pine produces a steady supply.
missingrosie
Hillsborough, NC

April 3, 2009
7:41 PM

Post #6360145

I second the junipers!

but the pear...they smell like frying shrimp to me..eeech..
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 4, 2009
5:15 AM

Post #6362203

In AL, you could drive down a road and get a car full of pine cones- I haven't seen a pine cone since coming here 4 years ago. Do you have to buy them in certain areas of the country? I have 2 small boys that would end up throwing them at each other and yes they would find a way to pick them up even if it poked them. LOL
I looked at the pictures in the links and it doesn't look like junipers, but it looks like quite a few of the box.
Funny how the same plants can differ in smell depending on where they are. Sure makes it hard on beginners trying to ID them:)
missingrosie
Hillsborough, NC

April 4, 2009
1:36 PM

Post #6362895

Yes and I bet it depends on the 'nose' too ---just like perfumes.
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 4, 2009
2:26 PM

Post #6363057

I believe I have a buxus microphylla 'Winter Gem'. I haven't read anything about them putting out an odor like cat urine, so my initial thought might be true. It is a cat or cats. There are 3-4 that I see sometimes at night when I open one of my doors. Plus during the day I see 2 in a couple of yards down from me but my dog barks at them and keeps them at bay. At night he's inside, so maybe they come back and mark their territory? The smell comes and goes but when it smells it smells.
I guess I can deal with it, I cringe at the thought someone might come up to my door and think the smell is coming from inside my house:(
Windy
Belleville , IL
(Zone 6b)

April 5, 2009
11:42 PM

Post #6369279

I have dogs also that come indoors. One morning a stray cat was inside my privacy fenced front yard. They will come in if there is the slightest chance they can live to see another day. LOL
He ran faster than the dogs and scaled the six foot fence before they even saw him. I guess that is why they have nine lives, they live on the edge.
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 6, 2009
5:52 AM

Post #6370748

I wish they'd live on the edge somewhere else.:) My neighbor told me today they are spraying in her yard also.
So I guess the mystery is solved. It's cats not my bushes smelling!
At least now I know:)
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 6, 2009
6:37 AM

Post #6370790

Here is a suggestion from a member of the Iris Forum. He actually uses one of these "Scarecrows" on his iris patch and recommends them.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/235238/
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 6, 2009
7:30 AM

Post #6370822

pajaritomt-I got the picture of the beautiful iris, but no scarecrow. I'll go try to find it in the iris forum. I just planted some irises on the 24th of March.
thanks
Windy
Belleville , IL
(Zone 6b)

April 6, 2009
8:33 PM

Post #6373600

What a gorgeous iris it is. Try some Vicks Vaporub on a piece of paper to keep them away. It works indoors for my cats, they won't come near anything with Vicks on it.
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 7, 2009
2:07 AM

Post #6375356

I'll try the vicks. I think when it warms up again here, I'm going to clean the bushes somehow so I'll know if they come back. The past few days, I've noticed 2 around here alot. Maybe I wasn't "looking" before, but I sure have noticed them recently. Maybe Spring is in the air and they are looking for a spring fling:) My neighbor said they are spraying her plants. I was relieved to find out it wasn't my bushes, maybe there's a chance afterall:D
Windy
Belleville , IL
(Zone 6b)

April 8, 2009
2:20 AM

Post #6380260

Cats do mate in the spring so that is probably what all the spraying is about.
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 12, 2009
2:06 AM

Post #6397660

I wish it'd stop!!!:)
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 12, 2009
6:06 AM

Post #6398398

I may be wrong, but I think some junipers smell like cat pee. Is this by any chance occurring on a juniper?
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 13, 2009
3:55 AM

Post #6401984

pajaritomt- I tried looking up junipers and it doesn't look like my shrub? But then again- they all look diferent in every picture? You wouldn't happen to have a picture, would ya?
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 13, 2009
4:13 AM

Post #6402047

Junipers all pretty much look alike except for height and diameter. They can creep along the ground or go up in the air -- they never get as high as most trees -- the biggest ones would probably be smaller than a standard apple tree. The main thing about junipers is that they are evergreen. Never lose their leaves. Does that help? ( I don't know how many plants lose their leaves in the winter in San Angelo, to be honest.)
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

April 13, 2009
4:39 AM

Post #6402148

If your shrubs at all resemble boxwood as you've mentioned either here or in one of your other threads, then there is no way they are junipers.
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 13, 2009
4:40 AM

Post #6402151

I think mine are more like bushes/shrubs then trees. I'm still learning what plant does what here in west texas also:) I could be wrong though. I may be thinking I have a bush when I really have a tree? This is all confusing for a novice:)
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 13, 2009
4:42 AM

Post #6402156

I didn't think so, but pictures can be decieving:) I've yet to find a pic. that resembled my bushes?
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 13, 2009
5:10 AM

Post #6402210

It would be a good idea to cut a piece of your bush and take it to a nursery and get them to identify it. Or you can photograph it, both the whole picture and a closeup of the leaves and post it on the Tree and Plant Identification thread. They are good and will get it right away. Like in hours, usually. Then you can look up what should be expected of this plant in Plant Files. You can find out if it smells like cat pee or if you have some nasty neighborhood kitty cats!
ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 13, 2009
6:52 AM

Post #6402353

pajaritomt- I think i might try and use your advice. You think if I cut a portion of the bush, i can take it to a nursery and they would help ID it?
Sounds so simple!! Getting out of there without spending money is the hard part!!
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 13, 2009
2:14 PM

Post #6403210

I am familiar with the getting out of there without buying something problem! There is always your County Extension agent who can do the same and who doesn't sell anything. I am always tryiing to convince people to use their county extension agents, anyhow. They are very helpful for a lot of things.
Windy
Belleville , IL
(Zone 6b)

April 13, 2009
3:47 PM

Post #6403708

Crush a leaf that is out of reach of the cats. If it smells like cat pee then it is most likely the shrub and not the felines.
As to evergreen, my boxwoods are evergreen also.Here is a boxwood to compare to your shrub.It needs shaping as these are usually squared off and used to line fence lines and define areas such as property lines foundations etc.

Thumbnail by Windy
Click the image for an enlarged view.

claypa
West Pottsgrove, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 13, 2009
5:34 PM

Post #6404236

pajaritomt, I just read your comments about the junipers and want to point out that Juniperus virginiana do grow as tall trees around here. Forty feet is not uncommon, and there's one in the next county that's 79' tall. I think it's the state champion, but not the US champ.
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 13, 2009
6:19 PM

Post #6404472

Well, live and learn. So they come in all sizes from 4 inches or so to over 79 feet. Is juniper allergy a common problem in PA? It is here, but every other local wild tree is a juniper in some areas around here.
claypa
West Pottsgrove, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 13, 2009
11:10 PM

Post #6405663

I don't know, but they are very common here. I find seedlings all the time. I'm allergic to some trees and grasses but never really pinned down which species cause it.

I just smelled a few different junipers, they smelled great to me, similar to pines. Boxwoods smell good to me though - I wish my cat's pee smelled like that!
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 14, 2009
3:59 AM

Post #6407075

Juniper are the main allergen here in New Mexico. The hay fever people get in early springs is often called Juniper Fever and few escape it. But I think our native junipers produce much more pollen than most. The male tree ( would be called a shrub back east) is literally covered with brown pollen in the spring. It is illegal to sell them for landscaping in Albuquerque, but of course they plant themselves. They have been here for millenia, at least.
claypa
West Pottsgrove, PA
(Zone 6b)

April 14, 2009
4:18 AM

Post #6407155

We get a coating of chartreuse-colored oak pollen - then the catkins rain down on everything for a while.
I had cousins in Albuquerque that used to send pinyon pine nut candy, that stuff was the best!

Juniperus 'Grey Owl'

Thumbnail by claypa
Click the image for an enlarged view.

ejennings
San Angelo, TX
(Zone 7b)

April 17, 2009
3:55 AM

Post #6422030

Windy- that looks like mine, except mine are square. Even without pruning (they don't much) they don't sprout out or up?
Windy
Belleville , IL
(Zone 6b)

April 18, 2009
1:11 AM

Post #6426111

I never had shrubs before and hate the mess when I shear them. I am putting it off but I don't think I can put it off much longer. LOL
pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 18, 2009
1:32 AM

Post #6426166

Shrubs can be wonderful. Juniper and boxwood are not among my favorites, but can be innocuous. Replace them with spirea ( bridal wreath) or hydrangea or an number of lovely flowering shrubs which don't need all that much trimming unless you plant them in a space they are too large for. Actually you can grow camelias and azaleas which are stupendous.
My advice is to replace those hated shrubs rather than trimming them.
Windy
Belleville , IL
(Zone 6b)

April 18, 2009
1:48 AM

Post #6426205

I have a really cool double bridal wreath out in the yard.With all the rain we got the past few months, it is really putting on a show.
For sure they are a lot easier to maintain than shrubs that need trimming.
My hummers have been around so I had to set out the feeder already.

Thumbnail by Windy
Click the image for an enlarged view.

pajaritomt
Los Alamos, NM
(Zone 5a)

April 18, 2009
1:52 AM

Post #6426225

Bridal wreath doesn't mind being trimmed if you want to do so. In fact it likes it, but it is lovely if you choose not to trim it -- just as the one you sent in your photograph. Replace the boxwoods with something you like better, I would say.

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