When salt dissolves in water, it becomes toxic to plants. Upon dissolving and seeping into the soil, the much needed phosphorous and potassium in the ground gets replaced with the sodium ions. The use of rock salt will soak up the water and not allow it to go to the roots. This will stress out plants by not getting what it needs. Salt is also a detriment to the cold hardiness of plants.
Some methods of keeping your plants, and sidewalks safe, are as follows:
- During periods of extreme cold, lightly sprinkling water over the surface prior to applying the ice melt will yield better results.
- The quicker the ice and snow is shoveled, the less time it will have to adhere to the ground.
- Barriers erected can be very effective for sensitive plants; burlap, plastic fencing and snow fencing are all good choices.
- Salt is most effective at temperatures just below freezing, so avoid using rock salt in extreme cold.
- For extreme cold, products with calcium- chloride or calcium magnesium acetate are salt free.