Recent snow storms in the area have started with a period of freezing rain, followed by snow. The freezing rain leaves a layer of ice on surfaces outside, making sidewalks and roads icy and unsafe. Deicing agents that we use make sidewalks and driveways safe, but they can have lingering effects that are damaging to grass and plants.
Deicing products contain salt which can be toxic to grass and plants when it dissolves in water. The rock salt absorbs the water that the roots of plants and grass need, leaving them dehydrated and stressed.
This is kind of an out-of-sight out-of-mind problem right now, but we will see the impact in spring. As the snow melts, you may notice a brown strip or patches in the lawn along the driveway, sidewalk or street where the deicer met the grass.
There are some steps you can take to minimize the damage of deicers on your lawn and plants:
- Follow the label direction carefully and don’t over-salt. Use only as much as you need!
- Consider a barrier, covering or fencing to protect sensitive plants or your lawn, particularly along the street to protect against the street deicing used by the city crews.
- Shovel ice and snow as soon as possible in order to avoid unnecessary reapplication of an ice melt product.
- Sweep ice melt or rock salt off grass and plants as soon as possible.
- Avoid using agents that contain salt in extreme cold as they function best when temperatures are just below freezing.
- Avoid pushing or shoveling snow that may contain a deicing product onto the lawn when possible.
- Sweep up rock salt that is visible when the snow melts. Some products that are designed to work best in extreme temperatures can be hard on cement so sweeping it up as soon as you can is a good idea.
Despite these precautions, you may still notice damage to your lawn in the Spring. In most cases, the lawn should recover. Rain and adequate precipitation should flush the salt from your lawn. You may need to reseed the damaged areas if they don’t bounce back within a few weeks.
We can’t control the weather, but we can take steps to keep our plants and yards safe from chemical damage. As always, our team of lawn care professionals is ready to help address any concerns you might have. Give us a call.