Heavy winter snowfall leaves a lot of work that needs to be done. As we cope with going about our daily activities without hassles, we have found ways to navigate snow removal quickly and effectively. However, the repercussions of using chemicals can be seen in damaged plants and landscapes. Leah Chester-Davis and Viveka Neveln have some tips on how you can keep your yard safe from de-icing products. FSI Landscape Supply takes you through this. (Source: Better Homes & Gardens, How to Keep Your Landscape and Plants Safe from Ice Melt Products, By Leah Chester-Davis and Viveka Neveln, September 26, 2022, https://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/lawn-care/keep-your-landscape-safe-from-winter-salt/ ).
Types of de-icing products
Leah Chester-Davis and Viveka Neveln categorize road salt into four main types – Sodium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, and Calcium Chloride. While sodium chloride is the cheapest option, it is most damaging to plants, automobiles, and even roads. Potassium chloride comes a close second in its harmful effects on the landscape. Magnesium chloride could be safe when used sparingly, like two pounds per hundred square feet. Calcium chloride is the least damaging and is effective in temperatures as low as -25 °F.
FSI Landscape Supply reiterates the need to choose the right de-icing product. “In our business, there is no concept of one size fits all. We do a thorough read of every client’s requirement – their budget, the area, and its surrounding. After this, we help our clients decide which landscaping supplies their project will need.”
Use a substitute skid-proof material
Planning helps in getting the best results out of your de-icing products. Leah and Viveka have a few tips that can minimize the damage to plants and surrounding landscaped areas. They recommend using substitutes like sawdust, coarse sand, fine gravel, straw, or kitty litter, instead of road salt. You could also mix it with five percent of a de-icing agent to facilitate snow melting. Mixing bulk salt with sand in a 1:5 ratio can keep walkways skid-proof while ensuring minimal damage to the yard.
FSI Landscape Supply thinks some of these are great ideas. “Combining materials is a great option to help create traction and further reduce the risk of falls and accidents. Using a combination of sand and road salt is also more financially viable.”
Do not dump
Leah Chester-Davis and Viveka Neveln suggest protecting your landscaped area. Piling up shovelled snow in the yard while clearing your pathway is severely harmful to your plants. It is a good idea to put up precautionary snow fences or wrap burlap around your garden to avoid the salt spray from vehicles passing on the road.
“It is best to have an effective snow disposal plan for each client and assign a designated spot. Our contractors have years of professional experience and understand the harmful effects piled up snow can have on a garden or landscaped property,” confirm FSI Landscape Supply.
Pick plants wisely
When you live in an area that gets heavy snowfall throughout the winter, Leah and Viveka recommend picking plants that are more tolerant of salt. You could choose from plant varieties that have resin coats, waxed surfaces, and fuzzy, submerged, or hidden buds.
FSI Landscape Supply notes, “Some of the best salt-tolerant plants are Bougainvillea, Daylily, Prickly pear, Wax myrtle, Sweetbay Magnolia, and Bee Balm. Always check with your garden experts to ensure your plant choices are available and can survive your region’s climate.”
These recommended strategies will surely help control the damaging effects of de-icing products. As Viveka and Leah observe, being environmentally conscious during snow removal is better for pets, plants, and people. FSI Landscape Supply agrees wholeheartedly, “We always encourage diligent use of road salt and other de-icing agents for effective snow and ice management. Landscape customers will appreciate the added care when exercising caution around landscaped properties and gardens during the cold season. Come spring, they will love how their gardens and yards are still thriving, even after a harsh winter.”