How Salt on the Roads Can Damage Your Lawn — and What You Can Do About It

It’s estimated that more than 22 million tons of salt is spread on roads throughout the country every year to melt ice and snow. Here in Pennsylvania, we’re certainly thankful for the salt trucks that drive around spraying our streets during the winter. 

However, while salt makes travel safer for us, it can do significant damage to lawns, trees, and plants.

At Go Green Lawn Services, leading providers of core aeration services in Willow Grove, PA, and the surrounding region, we’ve seen what happens when rock salt — which is mostly made up of sodium chloride — splashes up onto lawns and flower beds. Even plants growing as far as 150 feet away from the street can be affected by the salt spray from snowplows.

Sodium chloride dehydrates vegetation, absorbing the essential moisture grass and plants need to survive. Salt turns lawns from healthy and green to brown and sickly. The needles on evergreen trees turn brown when exposed to salt, and plants don’t fully bud and bloom.

Grass, trees, and plants all suffer when salt seeps into the soil where they grow.

So, what can you do to minimize salt damage on your property this winter? Here are a few ideas:

  • Don’t spread rock salt on your sidewalks and driveway to melt ice. Instead, try throwing down sand or kitty litter.
  • If you must use salt on your pavement, limit the amount to only what is absolutely necessary.
  • Erect a protective barrier along the road. You can keep salt spray from reaching your lawn with a screen or fence.
  • Assess the grading on your driveway, sidewalks, and pathways. Is it steep enough to drain salty water away from vegetation?
  • Be sure to rinse off your plants when the weather begins to warm up in order to remove any salt residue.

If your lawn or plant life does suffer from excessive exposure to salt, we suggest mixing the mineral gypsum with water and spreading it over the damaged areas. The calcium and sulfate found in gypsum will replace salt in the soil and aerate the soil while allowing plants to recover. Gypsum is also a natural, safe remedy that won’t harm people or animals, or pollute the environment.

For more information about protecting your lawn from the rigors of winter, or to schedule flea treatment for your yard in Pottstown, PA, while fall is still in full swing, give the team at Go Green Lawn Services a call or fill out an online contact form today.