Reducing salt usage
For those of you interested in helping Sligo Creek's water quality and your landscaping, this will be an interest to you:
Reducing or Eliminating the Use of Salt as a Deicer
Reprinted from the Chesapeake Bay Program
Get out your snow boots, hats, and gloves that blistering weather has begun! Each year, areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay's watershed receive a fair amount of snowfall. As we attempt to clear our sidewalks of snow, we'll pull our shovels out of the shed and flock to store shelves to pick up salt. Melting the ice and snow from our walkways and driveways is important for safety, but it is also important to note that using salt as a deicer releases chloride and many other impurities into the surrounding area. These chemicals might find their way to local waterways and the Bay, threatening aquatic life, or they can remain stagnant in your soils, threatening the plants that grow in your yard.
This year, try to be smart about using sidewalk salt. Here are a few tips to get you started:
In the end, how you choose to deice will not only impact the safety of your sidewalk, but also the health of your local waterways, leading to the Bay.
- Apply deicer properly Follow the directions listed on the deicer label for proper application amounts for the area you are trying to treat.
- Put your sidewalk on a low salt diet Read an Envirocast article, Snow, Road Salt and the Chesapeake Bay" http://www.stormcenter.com/envirocast/2003-01-01/envirocast-feature.php for suggestions on how you can use less salt. This article also highlights alternatives to traditional road salt.
- Protect your plants Some plants are more sensitive to salt exposure than others; see the effects of de-icers on trees and shrubs to prevent damage to the landscaping you put so much effort into! See: http://www3.extension.umn.edu/projects/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h456de-icer.html
See also Maryland Cooperative Extensions Fact Sheet on melting ice
Maryland Cooperative Extensions Fact Sheet on melting ice.
- Check out the label; select deicers with calcium chloride rather than sodium chloride (which can harm nearby plants and the soil).
- Shovel soon after it snows to prevent ice build-up and reduce salt usage.
- Remember that salt is strong; don't use more than you must. Review your product's application guidelines for suggestions.