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How To Deal With Salt Damage In The Winter


Wash away salt to prevent damage. Using magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, or acetate de-icing products are the most plant-friendly choices you can make. They’re expensive compared to plain old rock salt, but they contain ingredients your plants can use as long as it’s not excessive. But you have no control over road salts! In winter, with heavy snows and frequent melts, damage to your lawn around sidewalks or roadway salt applications can be minimal because the melting snow helps wash away the salt that sprinkled its way onto your grass. But in icy winters with small snow accumulations that build up and the need for more salt to prevent accidents, your lawn can take a beating as layer upon layer of salt piles up.

If it’s safe during a thaw, get out the hose and wash away any salt accumulations. Be careful not to overdo it and cause flooding to plants or allow the water to form ice on surfaces (which would require more salt). But, under the right weather conditions, this is a good preventative action. Note: Always disconnect your hose from the water faucet to prevent freezing that might break a pipe. For areas where a wash won’t work, you can get a pelletized gypsum soil conditioner. This inexpensive topper can reverse the effects of salt on grass and promotes moisture retention in the soil for hardy growth. It’s a natural calcium and sulfur source and is often used by gardeners and farmers to
reverse alkaline soils.

For clearly dead areas, rake away the brown grass, sow grass seed, and apply gypsum. Water regularly
until you see strong new growth. A word of caution: Follow the instructions on the gypsum package, as you can easily overdo it and disrupt the balance of minerals in your soil. If you’re using it to strengthen your soil somehow, it’s
important to have a soil analysis done. Your local landscaping company or cooperative extension office
can assist you with getting your soil analyzed.

Posted on January 18, 2021

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