As temperatures continue to stay low and freezing at night, ice melt is an important product for every household. Safety is key and avoiding black ice is an important necessity. Ice melt is a product that will do wonders for your steps and walkways but must be properly applied to ensure it doesn’t harm the lawns and gardens.

What to use

The products we most often recommend contain calcium chloride because it melts ice at very low temperatures and is the safest chemical choice for lawns and landscapes. Qik Joe is one of our favorite brands that is both safe and effective. Although cheaper and more commonly sold, we strongly advise against the use of rock salt. It will not only damage your lawn and gardens, but will take a toll on your masonry walkways as well!

How and when to use

A very effective way for keeping a surface ice- free is a method called “anti-icing”. This is done by pre- applying the deicer as soon as it starts to snow or sleet. This will start the melting right process right away and mitigate ice buildup. Just like lawn and garden chemicals, it is very common for home owners to use too much deicer. Start with a small amount and add as necessary. When applying product post- ice formation, don’t forget that in order for the ice melt to work, the snow needs to be scraped off first. They are designed to be ice melt, not snow melt.

An alternate to using a chemical control on your walkway is to use sand. When lightly sprinkled, the small cranes of sand will heat up from the sun and begin to penetrate the ice. Most effective on a sunnier day. The sand will also provide a layer of grit on top of the ice which will provide more traction when walking upon.