To Salt or not to Salt

It has been a weird winter so far. Up and down temperatures, freeze and thaw. It’s the freezing part that worries me. Freezing means having to use salt on walkways. And as I gardener I try to minimize my salt use. Salt  damages the soil ecosystem and many types plants.

Robert Boggs, from the Commercial Services of The Weather Network, speaking at Landscape Ontario this January, pointed out that salt is so damaging to the environment that in 2001, Environment Canada declared salt a toxin and introduced the Code of Practise to reduce salt use.

Most of the talk was more pertinent to snow removal contractors, but my ears perked up when I heard a relatively low tech way to reduce salt use. First you would need an infra-red gun thermometer (available at Canadian Tire) and access to the regular weather network channel on TV.

  • Find out the overnight dew point on the weather network.
  • Before going to bed, check the pavement and driveway temperatures with the infra-red gun thermometer.
  • If you think the pavement and driveway temperatures will go below dew point overnight, salt.

 

Salting before the ice forms means you will use less salt then if you wait to the morning to salt the already formed ice on your driveway and walkway.

Easy isn’t it? Now where is my infra-red gun …


Written by Cristina da Silva
Tuesday, January 31, 2012 in Plants & Soils

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Comments

  1. Good point, excess salt also destroys interlock and natural stone landscaping! You can also mix salt and sand to reduce the use of ssalt.

  2. Richard says:

    As a professional gardener I often see the direct damage done by salt on grass verges .
    Clients sweep or brush the salt and snow a side to clear the path way. this is a big mistake as salt is all round killer of plants (any salts in fact)
    Epsom Salts is good example .
    Salt cause it has a stronger mineral content will draw the weaker salts minerals through the stem like a straw a term called osmosis
    If you want to clear snow away from path make sure its not touching anything green or put a temp. plastic edged around the grass to protect it


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