Now that winter is upon us, we’re confronted with snow, frigid winds, and ice. Ice on your property can be a serious safety hazard. While rock salt and other de-icers are effective at melting ice and minimizing the safety risk, they can be harmful to your lawn as well as concrete or paver surfaces.
While the salt itself can be damaging to vegetation and hard surfaces, often times damage results from the thawing and freezing of ice. When you use salt or a de-icer to melt ice, the resulting water can get into cracks of the surface only to freeze again, expanding and potentially causing separation of bricks or paver stones and cracked concrete.
Some salt in small amounts is good fertilizer for grass (including potassium chloride, ammonium nitrate, magnesium sulfate, calcium nitrate and potassium nitrate). However, excess salt in the soil will draw water out of the grass roots, which then deprives the plants of nutrients. This results in brown, dry, or burned grass patches.
To avoid damage to your property, but keep it safe from ice we recommend the following:
1. Use a moderate amount of rock salt or de-icer, just enough to do the job.
2. As soon as the snow and ice is gone or out of the way, sweep up the salt or de-icer. Do not leave it on the ground and do not kick or sweep it onto your lawn or another area. Sweep it up completely with a shovel or a dustpan and throw it away.
3. If you think you got salt or de-icer on your lawn and are concerned that it might do damage, you can apply water to just that area to minimize any harm. In the spring, apply lime or gypsum to the affected area to balance the PH level disrupted by any salt.
While your plants and garden bed may be resting this winter, there are still some things you can do to liven up your outdoor space and bring curb appeal back to your home. Some simple landscaping touches can add a bit of cheerful life to your otherwise grey landscape. A few ideas for you…
With the weather still mild and leaves down and out of the way, it’s easy to see our bare plants and trees and get ready to prune. Be careful. Pruning stimulates new growth, and most plants intend to be dormant through winter. Here in the Northeast, where the winter can be bitter cold, any fragile new growth that you initiate from pruning will freeze, killing it and potentially the whole plant!
So, this time of year, keep pruning to a minimum, only to remove dead or diseased plant parts or remove broken branches. Otherwise wait until winter or spring to prune.
When you need help with pruning, leaf removal and other fall lawn care, call Gardenin' Angels. We are the preferred landscaper for many homeowners throughout Massachusetts' south shore.
Rodrigo Dos Anjos