• 45°

Blackwelder: Rock salt damages plants

With more ice and snow predicted over the next few days, sidewalks, driveways and entryways may be extremely treacherous with ice and snow.
Many people will apply rock salt to quickly melt the ice and snow on sidewalks and drives.
There are now products on the market used for rapid ice melt that will not damage plants, but some people still use rock salt. Rock salt should be applied sparingly, avoiding placement near valuable landscape materials to avoid salt run-off, which damages plant material.
Rock salt works well but can damage landscape plant materials and can also be a runoff pollutant that may damage our streams. Normally, two or more light salt applications are no cause for concern.
Snow, ice and normal rainfall usually leach salt through the soil, preventing plant damage. In colder northern climates, which often require routine salting, it causes extensive damage to turf and shrubs.
Salt damage to landscape plants is similar to over-fertilization. Leaf margins and tips easily burn, with eventual defoliation. Extreme damage shows itself quickly, in a matter of days, whereas slight salt damage may not manifest itself until spring or early summer.
Try to keep salt and other de-icing granules as far away from trees and shrubs as possible when applying to entranceways, sidewalks or roads. Be sure to read and follow the instructions and apply only as needed. Those who apply salt on a routine basis should plan to leach shrubs with water during the spring.
Salt damage can be avoided by using rock salt substitutes. These de-icers effectively melt ice and are safe on the plants and the environment. Ice melting substitutes are available in both granular and liquid formulations for easy application.
Sand is also an effective salt-substitute. Actually, sand does not melt ice or hard packed snow, but does provide good traction to prevent slipping. It’s messy and somewhat unattractive, but sand stays on the surface of the ice through its duration and is easily swept off when sidewalks dry. It is the safest way to protect tender shrubs or trees.
Darrell Blackwelder is the County Extension director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Extension events and activities on Facebook or at www.rowanextension.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

‘Better chance of succeeding’: Moody, colleagues reflect on tenure, retirement

News

Collecting garbage: Locals work to beautify High Rock Lake during Clean Sweep

Coronavirus

Salisbury man grateful parents’ story has impacted many

News

Celtics take big lead and hold on to top Heat 117-106

Business

Downtown Salisbury ‘moving swiftly’ with developers interested in Empire Hotel

Business

From fantasy to fact, Cherry builds a Hobbit House at his Treesort

Business

Biz Roundup: CSP seeking to hire 100 new employees for plant expansion

Coronavirus

Police, sheriff focus on education in addressing mask-wearing complaints

Education

Candidates for East Area school board seat have widely different views on renewal

Kannapolis

Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility

Elections

In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump

News

5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody

Elections

Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota

College

Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic

News

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19

Coronavirus

Kannapolis brewery linked to eight COVID-19 positives

Elections

Local Democrats call to ‘turn the state blue’ during virtual office reopening

Education

Funding flat, enrollment down slightly for Rowan-Salisbury Schools

Education

Catawba gets high marks in U.S. News and World rankings for fifth year

Business

China Grove soap store sets sights on expansion into Kannapolis

News

Charlotte, UNC game canceled after 49ers place players in quarantine

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 18