How to prevent lawn damage from winter salt and deicer

How to prevent lawn damage from winter salt and deicer

Though salt and deicer can keep clients from slipping and falling during the cold winter months, it can also wreak havoc on their lawns. Research says that salt and deicer can actually be more damaging to lawns than harsh winter weather. Today we are going to talk about how to prevent lawn damage from winter salt and deicer.



First, you should know what type of salt can provide the best results for the client’s property. There are many types of salt and deicer out there. If you need to know what would work best, visit one of our locations and our sales rep will help pick the best type for you.

These are the 3 most common salt types.

Known as rock salt or sodium chloride, NaCl is the most widely available and cheap to melt snow and ice on roads, driveways and sidewalks. It is also the most common material used by cities and towns.

Also known as calcium chloride, CaCL2 is the most common alternative to rock salt. This option is safer for lawns and plants but will damage hardscaping.

Also known as magnesium chloride, this product can melt through the ice at extremely low temperatures without damage to lawns. It is more expensive than most alternatives and also is very destructive to concrete and pavers.

How salt damages plants and trees

A common problem for plants and trees that grow where salt is spread is dehydration. Salt attracts water which in turn will draw water from tree and plants which leads to dehydration. Salt damage can be detected examining the leaves of trees and plants. Their tips will have a brown tip. Sometimes this damage isn’t noticeable until spring. Remember that salt can also accumulate on plants and trees by passing plow trucks so consider that when drawing up a client’s landscape design.

How salt damages hardscapes

Hardscapes are actually very porous even though they appear solid. Salt actually attracts water to the tiny crevices which will then freeze when the temperature drops below freezing. This will cause the water the expand which will, in turn, widen those tiny crevices.

How to prevent lawn damage from winter salt and deicer

  • Use only what you need to de-ice the client’s walkways and driveways. You also want to pay close attention to where you are spreading the salt. To be extra cautious consider marking flower and plant beds before they snow flys with a fiberglass driveway marker.
  • After the salt has sufficiently melted the problem ice, brush the excess away. Be careful where you sweep it and throw the excess away.
  • If the temperature climbs above freezing, spray off plants lightly to remove salt residue.
  • If you think that damage has occurred, suggest that the client use Gypsum which will move the salt away from plants roots.
  • Offer to apply a barrier between planting beds and locations where salt is spread. This can be anything from a small brick wall to a cloth barrier.


Valley Green Corporate Headquarters
642 S. Summer Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
Phone 413.533.0726
Toll Free 800.862.0089
Fax 413.533.0792
Wholesale Fax 413.533.4090

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