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Rock salt damage to rhodedendron

How Rock Salt Can Be Harmful To Your Landscape

We’ve already had too much snow this winter in the Philadelphia area and that means lots of rock salt. To keep driving conditions safe, fleets of salt trucks coat our roads with an abundance of rock salt. While we all appreciate the benefits of cleared roads, we also need to consider how these chemicals are harming our landscapes.

Rock Salt Seeps into the Soil

Rock salt is a mixture of a few different chemicals, and sodium chloride makes up a vast majority of it. Sodium chloride dissolves into melting ice and snow, much like table salt would if you put a spoonful of it into a glass of water.  This salt water will run off from your driveway and the road right into lawns and flowerbeds.  Then, your plants and grass will absorb the toxic chemicals through their roots. Over time, this can cause serious, and sometimes fatal, results for your prized perennials and landscape.

Brine and Salt Spray can Lead to Winter Burn

Beware of the roadside dangers! Snow plows are scraping load after load of salty snow off the road and onto your lawn, which can kill your grass and turn the edges of your property brown.  Additionally, passing cars splash that toxic salt water combo onto any plants close to the roadside. Evergreens will absorb the salt water through their leaves causing winter burn to set in.

Combating the Rock Salt Damage

You can’t control what your municipalities use on the roads to melt ice and snow. However, if you want to use a deicer on your own driveway or sidewalk, choose one that doesn’t contain sodium chloride. According to a report compiled by Purdue University, Calcium Chloride is an effective alternative and works in very low temperatures. Also, if you have prized perennials and shrubs close to the road, wrap them in burlap to protect them from salt spray.

If you notice the edges of your property turning brown or brine build up on your plants and shrubs, give Giroud a call at 215-682-7704 to schedule a FREE inspection with your ISA  Certified Arborist and Lawn Care Expert. He can do a quick evaluation and recommend a nutrient, vitamin, or fertilizer program to keep your plants and lawn healthy to keep combat salt damage!


Author: Jeanne Hafner

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