Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Deicing Salt Damage to Plants

• Deicing salts are necessary to keep pavements safe in winter time, however they can have negative impacts on both plants and soil

• Negative impacts to plants
o Salt spray kills evergreen vegetation
o Salt accumulates in the soil and affects water uptake later in the year

• Negative impacts to soil
o Salts accumulate in the soil and cause problems with plant nutrient uptake and access to soil water
o Salts can alter soil structure in a negative way

• Negative impacts to the environment
o Pollutes streams, wetlands, groundwater
o Corrodes concrete and other hardscaping
o Damages cars

• Solutions
o Divert runoff from landscape areas or intercept
o Apply salt wisely
 Shovel snow first
 Apply sparingly, one 12oz container covers 500sqft or about 10 sidewalk squares
 Apply evenly across the surface
 Below 15 degrees, sodium chloride stops working. Switch products at lower temps
o Use alternative deicing products (although many have other negative sideeffects)
o Plant Salt Tolerant plants