How sidewalk salt affects lawns and gardens
Too much rock salt (Sodium Chloride) will kill or injure the grass and other plants you just had the professional landscapers make look so pretty. The sodium in rock salt blocks a plant’s uptake of key minerals. The chloride in rock salt will essentially starve a plant, disrupting photosynthesis which is how a plant turns light into energy and food. It also takes needed moisture away from plants.
How can we minimize the effect of rock salt on plants? Below are tips for being safe this winter AND protecting your plants.
- Use rock salt sparingly or switch to an alternative. Rock can corrode your driveway if too much is used. And then, when you shovel, you are essentially shoveling it onto your lawn and plants. Consider using an alternative to rock salt (Sodium Chloride). There are several alternatives that are slightly more expensive but melt snow and ice at colder temperatures than rock salt and are better for the environment.
- You don’t have to use salt! Use an alternative to salt to increase the grip on your sidewalk and driveway. You can use sand or even kitty litter on walkways and steps to give a better grip in icy conditions.
- Avoid piling snow on the landscape. When you shovel your walks and driveway, if you pile the snow in the same place every time, say, on top of the landscape lining your walkway for example, over time salt residue present in the snow will start to build up and will start affecting your plants.
- In the spring, rain can help to wash away salt residue. If you have a dry spring, you may want to rinse off your plants to reduce the salt on them or in the soil near them.
If you are still struggling to protect your lawn due to rock salts and other chemicals, contact Northern Roots Lawncare for assistance. Remember, rock salt damages the roots of your plants, so it is critical to take the necessary steps now before winter is over.