For most regions across the United States, the winter season often means a break from lawn care while contending with repeated snow and ice accumulations until the arrival of spring in late March.
To protect their families, neighbors, and patrons, homeowners and businesses will often turn to rock salt products to avoid injuries caused by falling on dangerously slick sidewalks and pathways.
While these products can be highly effective at reducing the risk of human injuries, rock salt can be incredibly damaging to lawns and landscape plants. It often washes into nearby soil when snow and ice eventually melt.
One of the best ways to minimize the impact on your lawn and landscape plants is to avoid using rock salt products altogether. Though, if necessary, due to pooling water caused by the slopes and valleys of your property, it’s essential to read the package directions and only apply the recommended amount of product to avoid damage.
If using a rotary spreader to apply the product, snow piles could become easily contaminated and eventually melt into the soil when the temperatures warm. While spreaders allow you to cover a large area, it isn’t easy to control the spray of the product. For better control, we suggest using a tin can or a plastic cup to sprinkler the product only where it’s necessary.
Try and keep the rock salt as far away from the edge of your lawn and landscape plants as possible as dry grasses and shrubs will often absorb nearby moisture – and the containments mixed with it.
The salt will essentially strip moisture from the soil of the lawn, preventing it from getting the necessary oxygen and water it needs to withstand the winter. In effect, salt will dehydrate lawns leaving them in what appears to be a drought-like state.
The damage may not be noticeable for deciduous plants until the spring, when plants don’t leaf out as expected due to bud damage. However, for evergreen plants, salt damage will often cause needles to turn brown and eventually fall off.
Areas of your property with a handful of slick spots here and there, which may melt away as the temperature rises during the day, may benefit from using a more natural product like sand or sawdust – both of which will not harm your lawn and landscape plants (or the environment). These will not melt ice, but they will provide traction to help prevent slips and falls.
It’s important to keep people safe when walking on your property during the winter months. But you must remember that rock salt products can be highly damaging to your lawn and landscape plants if not applied properly.
For questions on lawn care and tree service, contact SavATree today.