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What Types of Ice Removal Systems Are Safe for Lawns?

Posted on February 6, 2014 by Lawn Doctor

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We are now living through one of the harshest winters in the United States in years, with lots of snow and bitterly cold temperatures in some portions of the U.S., which is causing more ice than usual. That type of harsh weather means that people are more likely to use special deicing compounds like sodium chloride (rock salt) to unfreeze their sidewalks and driveways. And local sanitation authorities are using rock salt on the roads before snowstorms.

All of that means is that these deicing products, like rock salt, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, potassium chloride, and urea can ultimately end up on your lawn. And these ice removal compounds can potentially cause damage to your lawn, especially if overused. So what can you to protect your lawn? Here are some tips:

Think shoveling first

While it is understandable that people want to keep their walkways as safe and as ice-free as possible, some people “oversalt” their sidewalks and driveways, putting on too much product. In some cases, not only can these pathways be damaged from the deicing materials, but they can end up on the lawn as well.

Instead, shovel your pathways first, and get as much snow and ice off as you can. And be diligent at it – you may need to go out during a snowstorm to start removing the snow. Also use an ice chipper if needed. The more snow and ice you are able to remove on your own, the less you will need to use any deicing product.

And if you do use rock salt and other products, make sure that you limit dumping the snow and ice you pick up on your lawn, to limit the damage.

Look for products that will cause less damage to lawns

One product to consider is calcium magnesium acetate – it can be less corrosive than other products. However, it is significantly more expensive than rock salt and other deicing products, so it may be cost-prohibitive. Other products that may be less damaging than traditional rock salt are magnesium chloride and calcium chloride. Urea, a fertilizer, also has deicing capabilities, but in some states, fertilizers are banned for winter use due to the potential of it getting in the water supply, so pay attention to your area’s regulations. At any rate, read the labels on any products you buy, and see what the side effects can be.

Use commercial deicing products sparingly

A little can go a long way when it comes to rock salt and the like. You don’t need to dump it in every nook and cranny; give the product time to work before reapplying.

Don’t forget these old-fashioned remedies

While sawdust, kitty litter, and the like do not melt ice, they can provide traction on slippery walkways. Mix them into your snow and ice removal routine. You can either just use them, or use them with a small amount of deicing materials.

Talk to your Lawn Doctor professional

Your Lawn Doctor lawn care expert may have some applicable advice for you on how to protect your lawn, as well as how to repair damage to your lawn that may occur from deicing products. Reach out to them to learn more.

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