Why Does My Yard Smell Like Cat Urine?

Wooden bench between two bushes of boxwoodWorkshop M / Shutterstock

If you are like me and have spent too much time researching why there is an ubiquitous smell of cat urine in your garden, the source might surprise you (and you can fix it).

First of all: there is always a chance that cat urine has a smell that you smell in your garden or that you pass through your windows is actually cat urine. Especially if you have cats indoors, there may be outdoor cats marking your home. But if the smell does not match a single moment, but a smell of low intensity cat urine that seems to persist during the spring and summer, then you can safely stop blaming the misplaced.

Instead, you should blame the boxwood. Although there is a variety of ornamental, ornamental trees, shrubs and plants with less than pleasant odors, boxwood is probably the culprit in your garden. Not only does the smell of cat urine, pungent and persistent, be unique to the plant, but boxwoods are virtually ubiquitous in landscaping in much of America, from Europe and beyond. The other evening, while walking the dog, I drew up an approximate list of houses in my neighborhood where boxwood was planted in the yard. More than 90% of them did – most of them, unfortunately, planted under the windows.

It's a shame because box trees are beautiful in landscaping. It's a brilliant, rich green, it's easy to create shapes ranging from simple spheres and cubes to complex topiaries, and it's hard to beat them for the relatively inexpensive visual weight they add to your landscaping . It's hard even to imagine a formal English garden without boxwood everywhere.

Alas, I'm going to rip mine because I do not want to spend an extra year every time I open the windows, I say to myself, "Why does it smell so much like cat piss here?

Finally, I warn you: despite the claims of landscape gardeners and gardeners, there are no boxwood without smell or little fragrant. The boxwood planted on the outside of my windows is specifically a cultivar, Buxus microphylla var. japonica, more commonly known as Winter Gem Boxwood because of the vigor of its color during the winter. It is frequently cited, with the Wintergreen variant, as the perfect boxwood to plant to avoid the smell of cat urine.

I can assure you that this is not the case.

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