If you are like most people, you go to the hardware store and pick up two or three bags of rock salt to use on your driveway and sidewalks. Some products claim not to damage grass or plants (like calcium chloride or magnesium chloride), but if you use too much, it can still cause damage. There are also products that are safer for pets, but those products can cost 7 to 10 times more than common rock salt. So what’s the best way to protect your lawn and landscape plants from winter salt?
Safe Salt Alternatives to Melt Winter Ice
A cheap alternative to avoid winter salt damage on lawn and landscape is to use coarse sand. It does not melt the ice, but it can provide better traction. One thing to remember is that a lot of sand has water in it, so keep the bags some place warm. Once those sand bags freeze up, they are not much help until they thaw out again.
Some people think that using fertilizer is a good alternative, but it does not take too much of it to damage your lawn as bad if not worse that when using sand. Kitty litter and oil dry are two other products than can also be used in the winter, but once they melt into the ice, they are not much help.
You may be able to control how much salt or salt-alternative products you use on your own driveway and sidewalk, but there is not much you can do when the city plow trucks come down your street and cover your lawn and landscape with salt. I guess we can’t be too upset that they are trying to make our lives a little easier, but sometimes they tend to spread too much of a good thing.
Protect Plants From Salt Damage
If you have plants growing near the street, try putting up a barrier of burlap cloth to keep the salt from getting in the planting beds. Some people every try covering their plants with sheets of plastic, which is not a good idea. Basically, you are creating mini green houses and plants may prematurely produce leaves during the day, which will freeze when temperatures drop below freezing.
Just about every part of the U.S. must deal with snow and ice at some time during most winters. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact your local Spring-Green.