Rock Salt & Your Lawn
What is rock salt and how can it negatively affect you lawn?
Rock Salt, also known as Halite when used industrially, is the mineral form of sodium chloride, or table salt. It can be purchased in grocery and hardware stores in bulk sized portions to be used as a de-icing agent for roads and walkways during the winter. There are many uses for Rock Salt, but here are some pros and the cons of using rock salt on your property to melt off your driveway(s) but can possibly damage your lawn or landscape in the process…..
Why we love rock salt
Salt lowers the freezing point of water and has historically been used to melt snow and ice on roads and walkways during winter weather. Although children may be dismissed from school for several days, many adults will not. Certain professions cannot allow the absence of their employees, hospitals for example, and for those who must travel during winter weather, salt is crucial and plays a vital role in safety. When the cold weather arrives, you need to be able to travel the roads and walk on your sidewalks without the fear of slipping on the ice and falling, or your vehicle sliding off the roadway. Rock Salt has been thought to be a safe and effective de-icer for hundreds of years, but recently new information has proven otherwise.
Dangers of rock salt to your lawn
Rock Salt is highly corrosive and will melt that annoying snow and ice mixture from your walkways, it will also break down just about anything from wood to metal, depending on the length of exposure. Rock salt has been proven hazardous to grass and plant life. For example, round up is a non-selective herbicide that is mainly made up of salt. This deicing agent will harm every part of your grass and plants even down to the root.
Salt doesn’t always stay where its put, it can be washed off into your flower bed or lawn, killing many of your plants that you want to keep. Often times rock salt pushed or plowed into your lawn can be confused with winterkill. The struggle to protect your property while maintaining the safety of roads and walkways may seem never ending, but you do have options.
5 ways to protect your lawn
- Burlap Sacks–Put down burlap sacks at the edge of your lawn. Placing burlap sacks around the edge of your lawn can help protect your grass from road salt. The burlap will prevent excess salt from getting onto your grass.
- Less Salt–Use less salt on your own property. While it is impossible to keep salt from being laid down on public roads, a lot of the salt that ends up in your lawn comes from the homeowner. To decrease the impact on your lawn, apply minimal rock salt on your own property.
- Limestone– Put down limestone to lower your lawn PH levels. One primary way that salt damages your lawn is by increasing the pH level, raising soil acidity. If you put lime down on your lawn, you will lower the acidity of the soil making it a safer environment for grass to grow.
- Decorative Stones–Edge your lawn with decorative rocks or stones. Usually, the salt that winds up on your lawn collects around the edges where the road and your lawn meet. Create a decorative border of stones or bricks. This will add beauty to your lawn while creating a buffer zone to absorb salt damage.
- Sand or Kitty Litter– Use sand or kitty litter. Instead of putting down salt or other de-icing agents, use a material like sand or cat litter that will sit on top of the ice and prevent anyone walking on it from slipping. Salt-less materials do far less damage to plants than salt.
- Cover Your Lawn– Like most golf courses on their greens, when temperatures are frigidly cold, they cover their putting surfaces to protect them from the extreme temperatures that can harm or even destroy those highly maintained areas. Where covering your lawn may seem unrealistic and expensive, it can definitely provide the extra protection it needs to “weather the storm.”
Call 4-EverGreen Lawn Care when the winter weather clears out to schedule a pre-emergent treatment to prepare for a lush, green lawn. We want to play Hide & Seek with your weeds!!