Winter is here and many lawns are now under snow and ice. It is a good practice to apply ice melt to your walkways and driveways to prevent slipping and accidents. Ice melt products can be helpful and effective but they can also damage your lawn. Here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent major damage to your lawn this winter.
The most common ice melt products are composed of either sodium chloride (commonly known as rock salt), potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride and urea. Many of these ingredients are also found in traditional fertilizers. Unfortunately they can have a negative effect on your lawn when they are piled up along the edge of the lawn and repeatedly applied throughout the winter. Chlorides can also harm grass and plants if applied too heavily.
Ice melt products can not only harm your lawn but damage concrete as well. As the snow and ice freezes and melts they create cracks in concrete. Oftentimes this happens to walkways, patios and driveways. Do not apply ice melt to concrete that is less than a year old. Many ice melt products on the market today are less corrosive than just sodium chloride. Pet friendly products are also available for homes with animals that will go outdoors.
Try to apply ice melt products carefully along the edges of the lawn and landscape beds. If signs of damage have occurred you can heavily water the area to try and neutralize the problem. Of course the amount of damage all depends on how much product is applied and how often. An application of gypsum can help to neutralize the affected areas. If your town applies large amounts of rock salt you may experience some yellowing or dead grass along the edges of your lawn near the road. If this occurs plan on reseeding these areas in the spring with a good quality grass seed.
Remember safety always comes first when it comes to ice and your home so please apply ice melt where and when it is needed. Lawns can always be repaired.
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