One problem I have with winters in Delaware is that we never know how mild or severe the weather will be. Even the weather forecasters have trouble predicting what kind of storm we will have. Who would have thought we would have had snow at the beginning of December?
When winter storms result in icy conditions, de-icers are sometimes used to help relieve some of the dangerous effects. However, precautions must be noted prior to their use.
De-icing salt, rock salt or sodium chloride is very effective in making our ice-covered roads and sidewalks safer on which to travel. Unfortunately, it does not stay where it is applied. It moves either by water, wind and/or by traveling vehicles splashing the salts to nearby soil, turf, trees, shrubs and/or flowers.
De-icing salts affect plants in several of the following ways:
Salts in the soil are very absorbent, causing roots to be deprived, which results in water loss in plants.
Sodium ions can cause soil to lose the ability to aggregate into clumps and can reduce pore space needed for air and water movement.
Too much sodium in the soil will restrict a plant’s ability to use magnesium and potassium, nutrients essential for photosynthesis.