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Protect Landscape Plants from Deicing Salts

All your hard work on the lawn and landscape can be undone with a quick toss of deicing salt.  A little care now will eliminate the frustration and time needed next spring to repair winter damaged plants. 

Always shovel first and use deicing salt last.  You will burn some calories, something I always need, and use less salt.  Better for the plants and better on your budget.  Plus, this eliminates salt-laden snow from ending up on your lawn and planting beds.

Use plant-friendly deicing compounds.  More and more products are coming on the market.  Check out what is available in your area before making your purchase.  Though the plant-friendly products are usually more costly, the money and time saved in repairing damage and replacing plants is well worth it.  

Some gardeners use ash, kitty litter or sand to provide traction and reduce the use of salt.  Avoid using these products if they will end up washing into and potentially clogging drains and sewers.

And be sure to thoroughly water any areas affected by deicing salt in the spring.

A bit more information:  Consider redesigning areas that are continually damaged by deicing salt. Use plants that can tolerate salt spray and soil laden with deicing salt like Japanese tree lilac, rugosa rose and creeping juniper.  Line walks and drives with a row or two of decorative pavers to serve as a salt buffer for the lawn.  And replace salt sensitive perennial beds with annuals.  Then be sure to water the soil thoroughly in spring to wash the salt out of the ground.

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