Reducing Salt Damage

by Kerry Kiefer


As the winter season has begun in Central Indiana, we have already had a few occasions where salt has been applied. Looking at the forecast for this season we anticipate another cold and icy winter, similar to last year where the need for salt application will be high. 

Applying salt is an important part of any winter plan to provide clear walkways and driveways and to prevent possible slip and fall accidents. However, improper or careless application of salt can cause salt damage to plants.

When using ice melt or salt, these chemicals can get into the soil next to plants. Often this can continue to build up in the soil over time and become an ongoing problem to plants. Salt and ice melt products can cause plants to become dehydrated which will dry out the foliage and stems causing damage known as winter burn. 

After periods of heavy salting, there are several things you can do to minimize the risk of plant damage. You may first try simply flushing the area with water. When the ice is melting, avoid sweeping the salty water towards the plants - instead, let the moisture evaporate and sweep up any excess product and dispose of it. 

Be mindful of your salt and ice melt applications. Although you want to apply enough to allow safe access to roads and walkways, you don't want to over-salt which can increase the risk of plant damage.

Through careful clean-up and applications you can reduce the amount of salt damage done to plants.

Becker Blog
JUN 10, 2014

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