In the winter, we put salt on our roads and sidewalks to melt dangerous ice. Rock salt is incredibly corrosive, and will even break down just about anything, from wood to metal, if exposure lasts long enough. Plants like the grass on your lawn, are particularly prone to damage from rock salt. This de-icing agent will harm every part of your grass from the roots to the leaves.
Every winter, those of us who live in cold climates face the struggle of protecting our lawns from the road salts used to melt snow and ice on streets and sidewalks adjacent to our homes. Obviously you want to remove ice on your sidewalk and driveway for safety reasons, but you do not want to damage your lawn. Here are five steps you can take to protect your lawn from road salt this winter.
1. Burlap Sacks- Put down burlap sacks at the edge of your lawn. While it may not be very pretty when there is no snow on the ground, placing burlap sacks around the edge of your lawn can help protect your grass from road salt. The burlap will prevent excess salt from getting onto your grass. Plus, once there IS snow on the ground, no one will even notice the burlap sacks.
2. Less Salt- Use less salt on your own property. While it is impossible to keep salt from being laid down on public roads, much of the salt that winds up in lawns comes from the homeowner her or himself. You can lessen the impact of winter salting by placing less salt down yourself.
3. Limestone- Put down limestone to lower lawn PH levels. One of the primary ways that salt damages lawns is by increasing the pH level, raising soil acidity. If you put lime down on your lawn, you can lower the acidity of the soil making it a safer environment for grass to grow.
4. Decorative Stones- Edge your lawn with decorative rocks or stones. Usually, the salt that winds up on lawns collects around the edges where the asphalt and lawn meet. Create a decorative border of stones or bricks. This will add beauty to your lawn wile creating a buffer zone around your yard to absorb salt damage.
5. Sand or Kitty Litter- Use sand or kitty litter. Instead of putting down salt or other de-icing agents, use a material like sand or cat litter that will sit on top of the ice and prevent anyone walking on it from slipping. Salt-less materials such as these do far less damage to plants than salt.