The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

January 29, 2014

Be careful with de-icers

Chemicals can harm plants

RICHMOND — When snow and ice occur, one of the first things we do (other than making sure we have plenty of milk and bread) is to begin applying de-icers to our sidewalks and steps.

What you may not know is that the salt in de-icing materials may be harmful to your landscape. The salt can seriously injure or kill plants growing next to these paved areas. Grass leaves, crowns, and roots are especially susceptible, as well as trees and shrubs.

The chemicals in de-icing agents may also build up in the soils. A soil with high salt content may damage a plant’s root system, leading to symptoms of leaf scorch, stunted growth, and lack of vigor.

If you are worried about harming your plants, use a de-icer that contains calcium magnesium acetate or calcium chloride, instead of sodium chloride. Other materials, such as sand, sawdust or kitty litter can also be used to gain traction on the ice and snow.

Another option is to mix a de-icing agent with one of these alternative materials. Some recommend using granular fertilizer to combat ice. Fertilizers may be less damaging than sodium chloride, but you need to remember that their overuse also can be harmful to plants or cause extremely rapid growth in the spring.

If your street is often salted and plowed in the winter, salt damage may be unavoidable. If this is the case, it may be in your best interest to invest in plants that can tolerate salt accumulation.

These trees and shrubs have shown resistance to de-icing salts: white ash, honeylocust, black locust, eastern red cedar, Colorado spruce, Austrian pine, Pfitzer juniper, mock orange, fragrant and staghorn sumac and Rugosa rose. Avoid planting arborvitae, beech, holly, dogwood, hemlock, Scotch pine and white pine in areas where salt may accumulate.

Use de-icers correctly. These products are not meant to melt all the ice and snow on your pavement, only to break the bond between it and ice.

Most people apply too much of these chemicals. Follow the manufacturer’s label. Wait for the melting action then mechanically remove the ice.

 Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.


Text Only
Lifestyles & Community
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

What county fair attraction do you like most?

Amusement rides
Beauty pageants
Flora Hall craft exhibits
Horse shows
Livestock, poultry shows
Truck, tractor pulls
Mud, dirt races
Gospel sing
I like them all
     View Results