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Preventing salt damage in your lawn and garden

Salt, or sodium-chloride, seems heaven-sent when we’re driving on icy roads or just trying to make it safely to our cars on a slippery driveway. But where it helps us with road safety (and walking safety), it also has a lot of downsides, namely its detrimental effects on the environment.

Environment Canada has recently done a comprehensive five-year study of the use of salts on Canadian roads and its effects. They found that in sufficient concentrations, road salts pose a threat to plants, animals and the aquatic environment. You can explore their findings in more detail here.

While the government of Canada is doing their part to reduce the adverse effects that road salt has on the environment, you can do your part in ensuring your outdoor space is protected from the hazards of salt.

Road salt is not the major threat to your outdoor space, your main concern is the salt that you likely place around your property when walkways and driveways are snowy. Rock salt, for example is a low cost solution to de-icing your driveway, but it can have major damage on your lawn and garden. How? Muskoka Watershed, a non-profit organization for sustaining watersheds, informs us that salt can damage plans in two ways:

1. Through an airborne spray that kills dormant buds

2. By accumulating in the soil, salt breaks down into chlorine and sodium both of which has adverse affects on plants, which include lead scotch, decreased production of chlorophyll, drought, and increased susceptibility to insects and pathogens

So how can we prevent the damage sodium chloride can wreck on our lawns and gardens?

Avoid using de-icing salts

Try using green alternative to icing your driveway or walkways. Alternatives include: sand, ashes, kitty litter, and EcoTraction, read carefully before using any of these, as they can have their own set of potential hazards.

Keep your trees and shrubs healthy

When your trees and shrubs are healthy they will be more tolerant of salt and other potential dangers and hazards.

Take care of areas where salt has the potential to accumulate

1. Plant salt tolerant shrubs, trees and plants near areas where salt may be scattered

2. Place barriers to divide plants from where salt is found in the winter time

Need help taking care of your property this winter? Or looking for landscaping and lawn care services this spring? Contact us for a free quote today.

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