Winter Lawn Care Tips: Using deicing materials responsibly
When snow and ice are present during the winter months it is easy to forget about your lawns. However it is important to remember to use your deicing materials responsibly. It can save you money on costly treatments from a lawn care company.
Rock salt is a product that has been used for years to break up ice on sidewalks and roadways. Rock salt works great to eliminate potential hazardous patches of ice. How does this affect your lawn? When these salts make their way to your lawn, you may be encouraging headaches next summer, here’s why.
Just when you eat a meal that has a heavy amount of sodium, your body tends to need to absorb more water. When sodium chloride (salt) enters your soil it also absorbs water. When a soil becomes heavily concentrated with salts, potential soil water is not available for your lawn. Of course our lawns need water, so if they can’t get the water, they will die.
This is a perfect area for weeds to make their way into your yard. Weeds have competitive abilities that will allow them to grow in “salty” soils. Many times in the spring and early summer if you look to areas near roadways or sidewalks you will see dead turfgrass that is later infested with weeds such as crabgrass.
When keeping your walkways clear during the winter, work to keep the salt off your lawn. Some products are safer for lawns and may be a good substitute, however the best method is using your tools responsibly.
A recent study by the University of Nebraska – Lincoln explores the pros & cons of this issue and provides some great detailed information on different types of deicing materials and how they affect your lawn. The article can be found here: http://turf.unl.edu/pdfctarticles/DeicersOCT2101.pdf
Author: Andrew Muntz received his Master’s of Science in Turfgrass science and his Bachelors of Science in Landscape Horticulture at The Ohio State University, Columbus OH.