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Hold the Salt to Protect Your Yard

With all the recent snow and sub-zero temperatures, ‘tis the time for scooping and sprinkling sidewalks with ice melt.
What many homeowners don’t know, however, is that most ice melt materials contain large amounts of salt. This can be very harmful to the plants in your yard. After winters of use, the salt can build up in soil and dry out your plants, from the roots up.
There is more than one way to keep your neighbors and visitors from slipping on the ice and your plants from pleading “hold the salt!”

Protect Your Yard:

  • Go easy with ice melt products. Only apply where it’s needed on sidewalks, but less can be more.
  • Keep ice melt on walkways and out of your yard. Let the ice melt and evaporate rather than sweeping the puddles of salty water into planting areas. You can always sweep up and throw away any ice melt left after the ice is gone.
  • Consider ways to avoid ice accumulation (like poor drainage) so the area doesn’t need to be coated as heavily with ice melt products in the first place.
  • If you think an area of your landscape has been over-salted, you may wish to flush it with water once the weather warms up. Consider getting a soil test to see if salt is the cause of damage (see below for a link to local pros in your area).
  • If there are areas that are filled with plants or you think have been damaged by ice melt in the past, you may want to move or adjust the planting area. One idea would be to mulch the area and place plant containers on top.

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