In January, your driveway and walkways may resemble ice rinks. Understandably, many homeowners want to melt the frozen surfaces to prevent slips and falls. One easy way to accomplish this is by applying deicing salt (also known as ice melt) products. You can find many different formulas at big box home improvement stores. These ice melting products are easy to use and increase the safety outside your home. While deicing salt makes for an easier walk to the car, you should still consider its effects on your lawn. Take these steps to prevent strips of dead grass along your concrete in the spring:
Know what’s in your deicer
Almost all deicers contain varying mixtures of calcium chloride, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride or urea. While some of these chemicals are found in fertilizers, overexposing them to your lawn can have negative effects. Salt can suck the moisture out of the soil and prevent moisture from reaching grass roots. Dehydration prevents dormant grass from growing back correctly in the spring. Even worse, roots can absorb chloride ions, which prevents the plant from producing chlorophyll effectively. This drains the plant’s energy and leads to unsightly brown spots on your lawn. If you want to play it safe, look for eco friendly ice melts that contain a less harmful mix of chemicals for your lawn.
Know how much salt to use
Carefully read the packaging of your deicer before you apply it. Many people mistakenly use more than they need. When you overdo it with ice melt, you risk burning the grass below or around the salt. Excessive application does not improve performance, so you’re better off following your product’s instructions. A common recommended application amount is four pounds of deicer per 200 square feet. Under normal circumstances, salt dissolves in liquid and spreads out over an area. Keep this in mind when portioning your salt.
Learn how to apply the product
It can be tempting to use a shovel or scooper to apply ice melt. The problem with this method is that it’s easy to dump too much salt in one area and not enough in another. You’re going to want a fairly even coating to most effectively melt the ice. Use a handheld fertilizer spreader for a small area or a walk behind spreader for large driveways. These tools give you more control over your salt dispersion. Be extra careful near the edge of your concrete. Ensure that no salt accidentally finds its way onto your lawn. Colored ice melts make it easier to see what you’re doing. Deicer is most effective when it’s applied right before a snowstorm or deep freeze. Pay attention to weather forecasts, as you’ll want to complete this task before the weather gets nasty.
As long as you’re careful with your deicer, using it shouldn’t cause too many problems for your lawn. If you notice that patches of grass have been damaged once the snow melts, heavily water those areas to neutralize the problem. For extensive damage, you may need to reseed areas of the lawn in the spring. Even if you go overboard with the salt this winter, we have you covered. No lawn issue is too much for us to handle. Get residential lawn services that provide peace-of-mind all year long. Your safety is more important than a few blades of grass, but correctly applying salt may save you headaches down the road.