March 10, 2017

Sannitree Banishes Pet Urine Odours from Artificial Grass


When Mike Mayne received a call from a man desperate to find a way to remove pungent dog urine odours from the artificial grass in his garden, he decided to take up the challenge.

As founder of Sannitree, a major supplier of environmentally friendly, biodegradable bio-enzyme products which it markets in South Africa and exports to 30 countries, Mayne certainly knew a lot about treating waste and odours but he knew next to nothing about artificial grass. Diving into Google, he quickly learned that artificial grass is extensively used worldwide. He concluded that its popularity in South Africa was likely to grow particularly as a way to maintain a neat green cover over gardens and other spaces parched by drought and severe water restrictions. “Our country and many other parts of the world are going to get hotter and drier, and water shortages are here to stay,” he says. “Water conservation just has to become a way of life.”

He also learned that his desperate caller was not alone in his anguish over dog urine odours on artificial grass. This is a common complaint the world over, research on Google revealed.

So, Mayne and his team got down to some serious work in Sannitree’s Cape Town head office. They enlisted a specialist researcher who produced a voluminous study containing just about everything on artificial grass. They learned that dog urine does not leave pungent odours in natural lawn because the roots of grass absorb urine together with other moisture, and process this through photosynthesis. Artificial grass isn’t that clever. The best advice available to consumers at the time was to hose down the artificial grass with water, but this turned out to be the worst solution. “The pungent smell of stale urine is caused by ammonia evolving from the gradual decomposition of urea when mixed with water,” explains Mayne. “If the water has any hardeners present it forms limestone encrustations which can block drainage holes in the grass backing. Washing down the grass with water will only aggravate the problem.”

Using disinfectants, chemicals or cleaning fluid won’t help either, adds Mayne. “They will only mask the odour, which will return as soon as the weather becomes humid. “

Another challenge was the difficulty in detecting the spot or spots where a dog has urinated on the artificial grass. This meant that whatever product was developed to eliminate odours would need to be applied to the entire area under artificial grass, making the solution expensive for consumers.

The Turf Pong Solution

To meet these challenges, Sannitree came up with the most innovative solutions. Using one of its existing bio-enzyme formulations, Sannitree developed Turf Pong, a powerful combination of ammonia-eliminating enzymes and odour-eating bacteria.

“The enzymes break down ammonia and ammonia crystals,” explains Mayne. “Long-acting, odour-eating bacteria continue to replicate until the food supply from the ammonia is finally exhausted. The smell and its source are eliminated completely.”

Some lateral “boer-maak-‘n-plan”-type thinking then obviated the need to detect where urine has been deposited. The solution was to select a single spot where the dog is encouraged to urinate. Plant in the spot a small post against which the dog can lift its leg, and spray around the post a pheromone attractive to dogs and which acts as a behavior-altering agent. Spray Turf Pong once a week or so in the dedicated area.

Turf Pong also goes a long way. The one litre bottle of Turf Pong with its trigger spray remains effective for two years from date of opening.

While the pooch becomes accustomed to using the dedicated spot, spray Sannitree Pet Repellant on the rest of the artificial grass as a temporary measure to discourage the pet from urinating beyond the designated area.

“The result,” says Mayne, “is clean grass, a happy homeowner and a pooch who’s not in the dog box.”

Turf Pong is now being introduced to retailers country-wide, and the export market is also beckoning.

Mayne says Sannitree has taken a fundamental decision to not market Turf Pong on-line, giving hardware stores, nurseries, pet shops and general dealers exclusive access to consumers.

Turf Pong is backed by Sannitree’s country-wide representatives who are ready to assist retailers to develop a thorough understanding of the product and its application and to give their customers the best advice.

To find out more about Turf Pong Artificial Grass Pet Urine Remover, call us now on 021 701 1266 or email

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